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4 Ways to Use Social Media to Promote Your Corporate Event

A lot of hard work and preparation goes into making your event a success. As an event organizer, there is no better feeling than walking into your event and seeing it jam-packed with people. Social media is an invaluable tool that can help drive people to attend your event.

Here are 4 ways to use social media to promote your corporate event.

Create Facebook Event

Creating a Facebook event will take a lot of the work of advertising your event off your hands. It makes it easier for you to spread the word about your event. More importantly, it also helps you expand your overall reach since people are notified when their friends confirm their attendance to your event. This added exposure is as good as a direct invitation. Since viewers and attendees can also allowed to invite their friends to the event on Facebook, provided that it is set to public, you reach another audience that may not have ever known about your event otherwise.

Furthermore, it allows you to make mass announcements to all attendees. Using the embedded commenting features of Facebook Events, attendees can begin to connect and network with one another before and after your event.

Share Behind-the-Scenes visual content

This is one of the best ways to generate buzz for your event! Give your fans and followers a glimpse into your event by posting behind-the-scenes photos and videos. Simply snap a photo of your preparations and share it on your company’s business page. You may also share stories of how you’re pulling everything together. Don’t be afraid to make them fun! Everyone knows things come up when planning an event…have fun with it!

This gets people excited for the event because they feel like they’re in on the action. It also serves as a reminder that the event is coming up, so they can Save the Date.

Feature event speakers

More often than not, people attend events to listen to and meet the speakers. What better way to highlight the caliber of talent at your event than creating a blog post featuring your speakers and sharing it on social media? Better yet, reach out to your speakers and encourage them to promote the event. After all, they benefit from positive buzz just as much as you do. Not to mention that your speakers probably have a loyal audience of their own, too. When they promote their participation in your event to their followers, your event gets exposed to another subset of possible attendees!

Use hashtags

Having a unique hashtag for your event is important when promoting your event. Use it for online conversations and in every piece of marketing content to deliver. Encourage people to use your hashtag to take the conversation to a larger, more engaged audience.

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DEDON and Designer Stephen Burks Event Photography

I was contacted by Emily Levin at BDE about photographing a presentation by Designer Stephen Burks, an amazing artist who designs furniture for DEDON. The presentation was in the morning, followed by a reception and cocktail party in the evening.

I was selected by Emily based on my ability to capture engaging photos that tell the story of an event without being intrusive and for my ability to work indoors in lower light situations without using flash. Emily’s goal in hiring a photographer was to capture photos that gave the feeling that you were there…without being overly posed or harshly lit with a camera flash.

Once the clients saw my event work, they asked me if I was available to shoot more architectural-style images (with a particular goal of capturing the details) of the interior of the showroom with Stephen Burks’ furniture. I enthusiastically accepted! When they viewed the finished images, I was told, “The photos are beautiful!”

The people I teamed up with at BDE and DEDON were wonderful to work with. I made sure to get them the images that they wanted and needed. Whenever a client tells me that the photos I’ve taken for them are “beautiful,” the feeling is something akin to what an actor must feel when they receive a standing ovation. It’s nice hear the appreciation in their voices and see their faces light up when they see a particularly striking photo. I also love being able to help clients achieve their goals in marketing and PR and knowing that in some small way, I helped move their business forward.

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5 Ways to Get the Most Out of a Conference

There is no better place to increase your awareness of new trends in your field than an industry conference.  Some people use industry conferences as an opportunity to expand their existing network.  These new connections can turbocharge your career and the presentations and seminars can teach you things you can’t pick up elsewhere.

But with so many speakers to hear and so many panels to attend, conferences may seem a little overwhelming.  This sentiment rings especially true for those who are new to the professional conference scene.

If that describes you, here are 5 ways to get the most out of a conference.

get most out of a business conference

  1. Have a goal
    What are you hoping to learn from this conference?  Determine what you hope to gain from the conference before you get there.  Going to a conference without any goals can be a waste of time and money.  Your goals don’t have to be very specific.  They can be as simple as meeting new people, gaining awareness about a particular topic, or to better yourself and bring new knowledge back to your team.  If there is a particular person you’d like to meet, carve out time to accomplish that goal.  If that person is a speaker or a presenter, send an email prior to the event and introduce yourself.  Let the person know that you’re coming to his/her session and that you’re eager to meet them.  Whenever possible, let them know how you can help them; they may be more inclined to spend some extra time talking with you!
  2. Find out who the speakers are
    Before you make the decision to go, we recommend that you determine who the speakers are.  Then, do some research on Youtube or Google and watch their videos online.  By doing so, you’ll get a sense for their style and substance.  Plus, it will give you an idea how much value they’ll bring to their upcoming presentations.  This is also a great opportunity to think of questions you may want to ask during or after their presentation.
  3. Register early
    We get it.  You decided to attend the conference to gain new ideas or insights about your industry.  However, the most interesting moments often occur in between or after the sessions themselves.  The conversations and interactions you have with the other attendees are often the most memorable and valuable you will have at a conference. On the day of the conference, make sure you register early.  This allows you to maximize your time meeting new people before the sessions begin.
  4. Take notes
    With days full of speakers and sessions, it can be difficult to remember everything you have learned during the conference.  To help you remember what you have learned, we recommend that you take down notes.  Also, don’t forget to write down 3 key takeaways at the end of each session.
  5. Follow up
    Make sure you follow up with everyone you met after the event.  Reach out to them. Email is a completely reasonable way to follow up with someone.  Don’t wait too long, either: you’ll want to make sure they still remember you while the event is still fresh in their mind! It’s important to keep those contacts handy, even if you don’t work together immediately.
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Tips to Increase Attendee Engagement at Your Events

After spending countless hours planning an event, there is nothing more satisfying than witnessing its success. In a perfect world, every attendee would connect with other attendees and participate in activities.

There is an endless amount of proactive, easy-to-implement steps you can take to increase attendee engagement at your events. Here are some of them.

Build anticipation

Attendee engagement doesn’t necessarily start at the event itself. In fact, you should engage your audience before they even step foot in your venue. This will not only guarantee more attendees, but people will be more excited to attend.

Social media is one of the best avenues to promote your event. Create a unique hashtag and use it every time you post an update about your event. With the right strategy, you’ll have people talking about your event and your engagement will skyrocket. Publishing a blog post is also a great way to create pre-event buzz or stream a video from last year’s event.

Games

Games are a great way to entertain and energize attendees who are bored and drained from listening to lectures and presentations. With the right execution and an interesting prize, you’ll get people to interact and participate in activities.

Make time for networking

A lot of people tend to feel overwhelmed or intimidated when attending a large event, especially when they don’t know anyone. Encourage your guests to meet someone new and network by dividing them into smaller groups. This can help break the initial awkwardness that tends to happen at large gatherings.

It is also a good idea to have breaks between speakers or a cocktail hour after the event to give people an opportunity to network and engage with one another.

Allow for Q&A opportunities

Provide attendees an opportunity to address their questions. You can gather questions from attendees and have the speaker answer these questions at the end of the presentation. Attendees will be able to learn more from the Q&A session. Plus, they’ll feel more appreciated and part of the event.

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Mistakes to Avoid When Planning Your Chicago Event

When preparing for an event, your ultimate goal is for the event to go off without a hitch and for the event to be wildly successful. But no matter how meticulously you have planned for your event, some things can still go wrong. Missteps could lead to a drained budget, alienated speakers, and annoyed audiences.

While some hiccups are to be expected in such events, learning from others’ mistakes can help prevent mishaps that may materialize later on.

Here are 4 mistakes to avoid when planning your corporate event in Chicago, along with some suggestions on how to mitigate them.

Waiting too long to start with the planning process

6 months may seem like a long way off. But with so many things you need to do, you’ll be surprised how quickly days pass by, and weeks turn into months in the blink of an eye.

The planning process should begin as soon as you get word out about the event. If you wait until the last minute, you may have a hard time finding a good venue, hiring vendors, and getting the word out about your event. The sooner you get organized, the better off you’re going to be. Especially if you want to hire a Chicago corporate event photographer, you will need to schedule in advance. 

Trying to do everything on your own

Planning an event is no easy task. No matter how small your event may be or how good of a planner you are, you can’t do everything on your own. If you do, you are likely to end up stressed, exhausted, and frustrated. Your event may also suffer.

Coordinating with multiple vendors and important event details is enough to keep you occupied. Learn to delegate. Let your team handle other aspects of the event such as promotions, registration, financial planning, and scheduling. Make sure every little detail of the event gets covered.

Not having a contingency plan

There will be some unexpected changes during the event, so make sure that you have a back-up plan. Anticipate the unexpected so you can ensure everything runs easily, amid the sudden changes.

Underestimating the size of the event

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all venue. Make sure you have a rough estimate of how many people are going to the event before booking a venue. Otherwise, you may end up having a spacious venue for too few guests or a small space for too many guests.

If you need someone to photograph or film your Chicago event, please contact me for your corporate event photography needs.

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Chicago HRU UnConference

Chicago HRU UnConference

We’re all familiar with the adage “A picture is worth a thousand words,” right? There is so much truth to that statement.

Unfortunately, there isn’t an equal idiom for videos. Videos speak volumes through their imagery, soundtrack, and when applicable, narrative or storyline. These are all reasons why filming event conferences is so compelling.

When you have professionals following your event with the cameras rolling, they capture the “magic” that brings an event together. With all the time you’ve put into promoting your event through social media, email blasts, and so on, why not film the event to show people what your conference is all about next time?

My team and I recently had the opportunity to film the Chicago HRU UnConference in, you guessed it: Chicago.

As you’ll see from the final cut of the video, we captured a lot of great moments during the event. We set up an area to interview attendees, filmed segments with keynote speakers, and shot “B-roll footage” to catch attendees and presenters in their casual interactions.

The final product is a compelling, informative story that educates the viewer on what the HRU UnConference is all about.

Just as with any event, though, a successful video shoot is only as successful as the preparation and “behind the scenes” work that isn’t always visible in the final cut. For this shoot, we provided lighting to ensure clear, bright shots.

Additionally, each interviewee and presenter was not only set up with a body microphone, but we enlisted the aid of backup microphones, just in case one were to fail, we’d still ensure the highest quality sound for everyone.

Our professional staff knows how to stage shots, capture candid moments, and we do so in a way that doesn’t interfere or distract from your event.

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Tips for Hosting an Engaging Business Conference

Conferences are often hubs and incubators of incredible learning experiences. But with the long hours of lectures and presentations, along with the copious amount of information presented, business conferences can quickly become tedious.  

Here are a few tips for hosting an engaging business conference.

tips-for-hosting-an-engaging-business-conference-chicago

Plan in advance

Planning a conference is no easy feat. As a host, you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you! Knowing that, it is crucial that you get started as early as possible to give yourself time to finalize major contracts and handle any unexpected problems that may arise.

Consider the venue

Where you decide to host your conference is one of the most difficult decisions you will need to make. One of the reasons why most people think of business conferences as dull and boring is because of the choice of venue. Make your conference one to remember by choosing a venue that has quality (and close) entertainment options.

Consider holding your conference in an area with a lot of activity such as a hotel located close to restaurants, shopping centers, and entertainment venues. Another option is to time your conference with a local event like music festival. This will provide attendees and their spouses with something to do away from the conference.

Offer a program with variety

The main purpose of a conference is to share as much information as possible. Professionals sit for several hours and listen to lectures and presentations. A few hours into the conference, you may notice that the attendees are bored, sleepy and overwhelmed.

Don’t forget to engage them! Schedule a mix of formal speakers, small group workshops and free, unopposed networking time. It is also a good idea to set a task that is difficult, if not impossible, to complete alone. This fosters teamwork and collaboration.

Plan for fun

Plan for interactive networking opportunities to break break up the monotony of guest lecturers and speakers. Also, try to use technology to make things a bit more exciting for guests and to keep them interested. You can also suggest a few activities for downtime during the conference.

If you are considering hosting a business conference, please consider G. Thomas Ward Photography as your corporate event photography. It would be my pleasure to work with you!

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4 Ways Team Building Activities Can Benefit Your Company

As you probably know, your company’s success rests in the hands of your people. As such, team building activities not only benefit your employees, but your entire organization.

As more and more businesses realize the benefits of team building activities, companies of all sizes are incorporating team building programs into their training curriculum.

Here are 4 ways team building activities can benefit your company.

Keep employees motivated

Team building activities helps your employees grow. These activities are designed to help them develop new skills, conquer fears, and increase their knowledge.

By organizing a team building activity, you display to your team how much you value and care for them. When employees feel that you care about their success, they are more likely to feel motivated and take pride in their job, which often results in increased quality output.

Improves communication

In a corporate environment, employees have to work with different people. Since we all have different personalities, some employees may have a hard time dealing with their co-workers. Team building activities can help in this department.

The fun nature of team building exercises can help foster better communication among people. Since this is usually done outside the office, employees can mingle and communicate with their colleagues casually. After this, they’ll develop better relationships with their co-workers create a more positive working environment.

Moreover, it is a great opportunity for employees in various departments that may not normally interact with one another to get a chance to spend time together and get to know each other.

Increases productivity

The collaborative nature of team building activities teaches staff how they can use their skills and abilities to get the tasks done quickly and efficiently. It also challenges them to work together in order to solve the problems that they are currently facing.

Help your team recharge

Most employees spend the entire day at their desks, working on several tasks. Add their personal concerns into the mix, and you run the risk of having a stressed-out, burned-out employee that isn’t as productive as they might otherwise be.

Employees often see team building activities as a nice break from work. This allows them to get their minds off of work, if even for just a few hours. Because of this, your staff will come back to the office with a relaxed mind and ready to take on new projects.

4 ways team building activities can benefit your company

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Filming Corporate Events in Chicago

If you have ever hosted a conference, you already know that they’re no walk in the park. There are so many moving parts: schedules to keep, speakers to book,  venues to reserve…and those are just the “big” things.

With all of the work that goes into putting on a successful conference, it would be a wasted opportunity not to capture the moments that people will talk about long after they leave. When you take the time to photograph and capture video at your conference or corporate event, you memorialize the fruits of your efforts. This media can then be used in future promotions for upcoming conferences or marketing collateral down the road.

why you should film your corporate event

Spread the love
What sessions and speakers are your “main attractions?” Focus on those first. A good videographer will work with you and ask these questions. If you know any of your speakers are especially engaging and energetic presenters, ask them ahead of time if they mind being filmed (hint: most love it!). Working with your speakers ahead of time ensures the film crew won’t throw them off during their session. Filming activities in between sessions is also a great way to find those organic interactions with people enjoying themselves.

 

Keep it Fresh

Have you ever had to sit through someone’s wedding video where Uncle Earl recorded everything without leaving his seat? For your sake, we hope not. This type of filming is more common than you think, but it doesn’t tell a great story.

Static video (think a video camera on a tripod in the back of the room) isn’t very exciting footage, so ask your videographer if multiple camera-operators are an option. When editing the material later, being able to combine clips from different vantage points during a presentation provides a nice viewing experience for your audience.

 

Testimonials

While people are at your conference, “in the thick of things,” you have a golden opportunity to get positive feedback and testimonials. Find those key stakeholders and ask them if they can do a 15-second testimonial for you. Someone you trust can even prompt positive reviews of your work and the event by asking leading questions. These sound bites can be used later on your website or as promotional material for another event.

 

Bring it all Together

By the time your conference comes to an end, you’re exhausted. For a few days, you kept a lot of people very busy and on their toes. While the event itself may be over, your videography team will be busy at work putting the video together in a comprehensive, cohesive, narrative.

The final output will be an invaluable marketing tool for you for years to come.