While every event is different, online event registration company EventBrite has been tracking how people register for events using its technology for several years now. After crunching some data, Tamara Mendelsohn, the company’s vice president of marketing, shared a few interesting insights at the Meeting Professionals International World Education Congress, held in late July in St. Louis.
 
1. Enable people to do things they already want to do.
EventBrite noticed in 2008 that it was getting referrals to events coming in from Facebook. After some digging, they found out that organizations were posting their EventBrite invitations on their Facebook pages, and individuals then were copying those invitations to put on their own Facebook pages. “So we decided to make it easier,” said Mendelsohn. The company created a way to publish invitations directly to Facebook, and added “share” buttons to the event pages themselves to make it easier for individuals to pick up and share the invites. In 2012, Facebook is the No. 1 referrer for EventBrite events.

Takeaway: Test how easy or difficult it is to share invitations to your events on your attendees’ top social media sites. If it’s not a one- or two-click process, it’s time to find ways to make it one.
 
2. Don’t ignore mobile.
Facebook mobile, which until recently didn’t come close to making the company’s top 10 list of referrers, is now number eight with a bullet as more people access social media sites using smartphones and tablets. Following the mantra of “enable people to do things they already want to do,” EventBrite optimized for mobile.
 
Takeaway: Is your event Web site, including the registration page, optimized for access on smartphones and tablets? If not, it’s time to get your tech squad on it.
 
3. Tighter connections mean better results.
Facebook yields the highest average ticket sales and visits back to an event’s EventBrite page, said Mendelsohn. LinkedIn and Twitter, the next two social media sites on the list, had significantly lower results. Mendelsohn said the thinking is that connections on LinkedIn and Twitter are not as close as they are on Facebook, so people aren’t as motivated to share.
 
Takeaway: What motivates your attendees to share with other potential attendees? Is it because they work together, live in the same area, hang out together, belong to the same associations? Look for ways to use that information to help them become social media evangelists for your event.

4. Don’t over-sell the folks who have already signed on.
Those most likely to share an event invitation on Facebook have already bought their tickets. Mendehlson said that not only do 60 percent of EventBrite shares on Facebook happen after the person has bought the ticket, but a post-purchase share also drives 20 percent more ticket sales per share than one shared pre-purchase. Networking events scored the highest share rates—likely because the more people a networking event can attract, the more valuable it becomes, so people are highly motivated to help get the word out. The next most shared type of events were business events/conferences/seminars.
 
Takeaway: Think about adding a share button at the end of your registration form. However, said Mendelsohn, keep it light and friendly, and don’t monetize it or offer prizes for those who share the most. That actually can backfire because it makes people think that the event must not be as good as they thought if they need something to motivate them to share rather than doing it spontaneously.

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