I thoroughly enjoy meeting new people, so I try to attend at least two networking events a month. However, I currently live in the suburbs and the majority of the networking events are in the heart of the city so it is oftentimes difficult for me to make it into the city (Chicago). During one of the networking events I connected with people who also lived in the suburbs that made the trek into the city to attend the event. As we swapped traffic horror stories (anyone who takes I-290 knows my pain…), I commented that I wished they had more networking events in the suburbs. Not sure how the rest of the conversation went, but somehow I got talked into hosting my own tweetup (Summer Seven1010 Tweetup at Wildfire Restaurant in Schaumburg).
I have been to many fabulous networking events, such as the BobBrunchSunday or TheRoofTweetup and I wanted to make sure everyone that attended had a terrific time. Therefore, I enlisted the help of Houseonahillorg and Melodie, the amazing social media from Wildfire for their assistance in putting together my first tweetup. In case you’re thinking about hosting your own tweetup, here are some tips to making sure it is a success:
A reason: Have you ever been invited somewhere by a friend or colleague and leave wondering why you went in the first place? You do not want people to feel this way about your event, so make sure to let them know why you’re throwing the event (it doesn’t have to be anything fancy—check out my description).
A nice name: We wanted to make sure that we had a name that would be memorable and fun to say (Summer Seven1010 Tweetup at Wildfire). Houseonahillorg made the awesome suggestion to play around with the date (i.e. July 10, 2010).
A great venue: I absolutely LOVE Wildfire restaurant ( I have been to just about all of their locations). They truly do have fantastic food and the fact that Melodie, the person in charge of their social media campaign, is super friendly makes me love the place even more! Many people may fear hosting a tweetup because they are not sure if they will be able to find a place willing to allow them to host it, but you will be pleasantly surprised. There are a lot of restaurants, cafes, game venues, etc. that would love the opportunity to gain exposure for their business as well. Collaborations are key in hosting a fantastic tweetup.
A great RSVP application: One of the hardest aspects in planning any event is the guest list. You want to make sure that you are keeping track of who is attending due to obvious reasons such as running out of food, addressing space issues, etc. I found tweetvite extremely easy to use and it allows people to login using their Twitter or Facebook ID.
A swag bag: I don’t know about you, but I love receiving presents (who doesn’t?!). Therefore, in order to make your tweetup even more memorable you should try to get other local businesses to participate in your event by seeing if they would be willing to donate their products or services as swag for your event.
I was quite pleased that we were able to give away the following for our swag bag:
- 2010 Bit Defender Internet Security software (since the majority of us interact online it only makes sense to make sure we protect our computers)
- Gameworks free game card (one of my favorite gaming venues to go to and highly recommend you check it out!)
- Chocalatines (if you couldn’t tell from the name, they served us very yummy chocolate)
- TargetStars mini beach bag filled with beauty products (this was from us—who doesn’t want to look good?!)
- We also had a raffle for Wildfire spices and dinner for two (Congrats to Mitch from Northeast Cooling on winning the raffle)
I am especially grateful again to these companies for participating in our tweetup. This event was a success because of you!
A great team: I could not have done this tweetup with out these two amazing ladies! Keeping track of the RSVP list, contacting vendors to participate in your swag bag, marketing the event, etc. are extremely daunting tasks for one person. Therefore, I highly suggest you enlist some assistance.
A photographer: You don’t need to hire a pro, but you definitely want to make sure that you have some pictures to share with those that attended the event.
A thank you blog post: I am sure you realize that I am currently performing this step. It is important to thank everyone that took time out of their busy schedule to attend your event. I am taking this opportunity to thank everyone that participated in this event because you have given me the push to host another one!
Tell us why you like attending networking events and you will be entered into our drawing to score some swag!