Estimates go as high as 150 plus – that’s the number of people who showed up for Chicago Social Media Club’s December event, only our second ever. So . . . what makes a succesful social media networking event?
If you guessed people, you got the biggest answer right. Here’s a run down, in no real order of importance, of what made this a successful social media networking event, based on comments from our advisory board [I’m a founding member] and our guests.
Want to be a member? It’s free and there’s no registration required. Join Chicago Social Media Club on Facebook.
An Active Social Media Advisory board, including . . . .
A concierge who knows the territory. For us, that would be Theresa Carter aka The Local Tourist. Theresa’s great at recommending locations and knows which restaurants are easiest to work with.
A Venue Made for Networking, including . . .
A sound system with more than one microphone. One for the speaker and a roaming wireless for audience questions is even better.
Refreshments, alcohol optional. Keep in mind that an “all ages” event opens the door to students who aren’t 21 yet.
Accessibility – make sure your venue is open to everyone and let your group know that it is.
Parking – let people know where to park and tell them about good deals. Here in Chicago, one block can make a $12 difference.
The vibe – every event has a life of its own, but you can orchestrate the tone a bit by adjusting the lights, music and checking in on conversations.
People who are Passionate about Social Media, including . . .
Speakers – hey, this IS social media. On a recent advisory board call, three people offered to be panel moderators [yes, I was one of them]. So, we decided to have a moderator to moderate the moderators – just kidding, but taking turns leading the discussion is a good thing.
People, people. people – again, no problem here. At first we thought maybe there were too many other similar groups in town. But, most of these tend to informal “tweet-ups” or get togethers for people who are on twitter.
Sponsors – giving the restaurant a pre-loaded gift card is an easy way to manage costs. Buying food is usually cheaper than paying for an open bar.
Friendly attendees – the best compliment last night came from someone who said “I can’t believe how social this group is. You all are so friendly.” While there’s no way to create a culture ahead of time, I’m happy to know that people like us – they really like us/each other.
Founders – a huge thanks to Kristie Wells of Social Media Club for all of her support and encouragement!
Who or what did I miss? Are you a Chicago Social Media Club member – or someone who’s interested in social media? Add your name and link back to your site in the comments section – we’d love to get to know you!