By Jenny Holmes
Time to pull out your Twitter skills and find some great speakers. Create a Twitter account for your conference, then go to Twitter and type “social media conference speakers” in the search box. Press to Follow each and every one of them. This is like your big invitation to recruit speakers to your conference. Offer a private email address and ask them to email you of their interest in the conference.
I followed about 200 people on Twitter and a bunch followed me back, then messaged privately for details.
Start by explaining that it’s a new conference. Offer the gurus the title of ‘keynote’ speaker because they want to add that to their resume. Let them know an honorarium is in the works and you aren’t sure of the dollar amount, but you hope to cover gas mileage at a minimum.
Then with each speaker you secure, immediately get them on the website. You can look at www.the-bam.com and get an idea of tabs to set up on the website, how to list speakers and simultaneously work on getting exhibitors and sponsors.
Next, register your event with www.EventBrite.com. It is very easy to use and they save you a lot of time by handling a variety of services from guest registration, reports, money management and even guest check-in tools via iPad and iPhone for the day of the event.
Then, begin posting your conference on national websites such as Lanyrd.com.
Take some time to do targeted marketing with each new speaker as they come on board. Use individual bios and create email newsletters to send to different businesses in your area.
Line up lots of incredible volunteers to help you with every aspect of the conference, then find a way to give them a little something for their time, be it cash or T-shirts.
Make registration easy (use Eventbrite tools). Have guests complete surveys so you’ll know what they enjoyed most about the conference and how you can help them better in year two. Thank everyone involved, every chance you get.
Add a special touch: capture video of each session on Ustream.com (check with speakers first to make sure that is okay). Then give your guests the information to access the videos so they won’t feel like they missed out on any classes that went on at the same time as the ones they attended.