Online Event Marketing Twitter Chat with Ivana Taylor @DIYMarketers of @Bizapalooza #VCBuzz

Ivana Taylor @DIYMarketers of @BizapaloozaThe Internet has brought so much variety into event marketing: Not only do we have new marketing channels these days, we’ve got new event types: You no longer need to travel to visit or speak at the event (Our chats come to mind here!)

Virtual events have been on the boost lately: Let’s learn how to best leverage this opportunity!

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About Ivana

Ivana is the founder of DIYMarketers, a site which has been committed to helping small business owners get out of OVERWHELM of online marketing. DIYMarketers is committed to helping small business owners do LESS Marketing so they can make MORE Money

Ivana is also the host of @Bizapalooza, a virtual event for small business owners.

Questions we discussed

Q1 How and when did you come up with the idea of @Bizapalooza? What was your aha moment that got you acting?

The idea for Bizapalooza came to me on a Sunday morning – just a voice that said Lollapalooza and the Bizapalooza. I asked myself what would a Bizapalooza look like? I envisioned it as a space where SMBs could let go and grow.

The moment that got me to act was hearing the excitement & enthusiasm in the participants’ voices and actions. I asked what would a Bizapalooza look like; envisioned it as a space where SMBs could let go and grow.

I know it seems odd – but that’s what happened. I immediately called a friend to tell her about it – she was SO excited.

If I hadn’t called a friend and shared the idea with others, I would have talked myself out of it.

I wanted more better results – but the structure was awesome. I expected thousands and thousands of registrants – on the FIRST YEAR – LOL NOT.

But that’s what the next year is for – to learn from mistakes.

Q2 How to set up your first virtual event? Best software and resources to start with?

The first Bizapalooza was all webinars. I used GoToMeeting and StealthSeminar to make the interviews happen.

I used @SocialOomph, @HootSuite and @Aweber

I’ve also used @AnyMeeting and I’ve been using Google Hangouts and love that the best.

Another resource I used was an online business manager and social media manager – CRITICAL to have extra hands.

Those last two resources were team members – gotta have HELP.

I do social media, but engagement is so important and you need help for an event – just like LIVE event. I’m also not good at details, so I need help there. And events – whether live or online are a lot of details.

Q3 How to use social media to promote your event? Hashtags? Groups? Please share your strategy and favorite tactics?

You don’t have to be good at something to try it – get help.

The primary strategy was co-operative marketing w/ all presenters promoting us and @Bizapalooza promoting the Influencers.

The key to cooperative marketing is to provide everyone with a promo packet that contains emails, shares, images.  This year I heavily leverages tweet chat communities – but you have to start way in advance and stick with those communities.

The social media lessons were to write everything out so folks just cut, paste and click. Social media promotions of your event need to take folks about 30 seconds to do.

That’s why I send weekly promotional packets – I’ve also made promo pages on the site for speakers.

ALSO my team is available to schedule for the presenters if they don’t know how or no time.

I updated that page to feature different speakers and different images. Oh, and I also did contests – you can see some of the questions on the images.

I also played with a “viral registration” contest plugin – but I got lots of spam on that – too bad.

Q4 You are genuinely leveraging influencer marketing for @Bizapalooza… Please describe what you do and how it has been working for you!

The Influencers who participated in #Bizapalooza were all folks I had met via my online engagements. These relationships have been forged over many years of giving and doing w/o asking for anything in return.

All of these influencers gave so generously of their time and advice. Now I’m looking for the next GIVE for my Influencer peeps.

This strategy will only work if I’m able to provide real value to the influencers and that requires open honest convos.

But again — all of this is proving your integrity and intentions over time. I also repeat my availability to help participating influencers with marketing help (no charge) my team is their team.

I love the community #SMB #Influencers have – helping each other, referring each other and supporting the SMBs.

Another “secret” of Bizapalooza is that we “test” the influencers to make sure they engage with SMBs – no #Divas allowed.

Each week we ask influencers direct questions – those who respond get priority treatment. I run an “asynchronous” #BizapaloozaChat and watch who responds and engages.

Now the #BizapaloozaChat is going LIVE along with a blab and the influencers who played along will get stuff for free.

Just follow @Bizapalooza and come to the #BizapaloozaChat tomorrow at 2pm ET- so I can see you again ?

The Influencer #Divas well – I’m not sure what to do with them. I don’t like burning bridges…

Q5 With so much involved into event hosting and marketing, how do you keep yourself organized? How do you keep record of what needs to be done and evaluate the results?

Organization is critical, I run a reverse timeline i.e. 6 mos. before, 3 mos, 1 mo, 2 wks, etc.

I am very rigorous with my interviews and schedule. Sometimes that means missing out on wonderful people.

Some of these #Divas act like they are doing you a favor or wait until last minute to schedule – that’s tough to manage

No one wants to see a single person droning on – so I remix and mashup by topic. I call them #Webumentaries. They key to these webumentaries is the STORYTELLING and the editing – WOW I’m learning so much there – it’s harder than you think. Well it’s harder than I thought it would be – because I’m supposed to master everything the first time (sarcasm here).

Has anyone here done a virtual event of any kind?  I’m also curious about what you think about webinars – I think my webumentary is a good idea – but not sure.

I think so – I see people doing Tweet chats and blabs back to back – that’s what I’m trying this week

What do YOU smarties think the next trend is in virtual events — you’ve seen mine — the webumentary – what do SMBs want to see

AGREED – exactly – that’s why I am doing these webumentaries – but it’s challenging either way. I like to read. But so many people love video – I prefer tweet chats to blabs – but I seem to be alone.

Google is making Hangouts more difficult – not sure if they are updating as well – I still LOVE the hangout platform.

I love that tweetchats don’t disrupt folks with audio and video — Like I’m tweeting from @Einstein’s bagels.

Not sure exactly – but I had to search and find the hangout on air and add it to my favorites – not easy to get to.

I’m not sure what they are doing – they must want to charge for it or something

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