We think you may have heard this before, but it’s worth repeating. One key to your business’ success? Network, network, network.
Regardless of the industry, connecting with others face-to-face builds more meaningful and long-lasting relationships, giving your brand a personable image that is invaluable when it comes to gaining and retaining potential customers and investors.
What can tech do for the independent brand or the emerging designer when it comes to networking with industry executives and potential customers?
We’ve found three free standout event networking apps that will help you make the most of your experiences and gain exposure for your brand whether an attendee or host.
Bizzabo, a mobile networking app created specifically for events and conferences, opens up communication between organizers, attendees, and sponsors around an event. Add an event for free and begin leveraging social media to raise awareness amongst your brand’s followers.
- For organizers, the app includes standard features such as real-time chat, statistical and visual analytics, as well as an organizer dashboard for on-the-fly updates and notifications.
- For attendees, this app effectively does your networking legwork for you, cross-referencing your LinkedIn profile with those of other event attendees, and identifying “target” attendees with whom you should be networking.
- It’s “offers” feature is also noteworthy, and allows anyone to create event-based, limited-time offer to meetup and discuss a topic face-to-face.
- The app will save information about the people with whom you’ve connected in a database that you may access at any point in the future.
- LinkedOut? One limitation of Bizzabo is that users are required to login with a LinkedIn account. Nothing against Reid Hoffman (founder of LinkedIn and start up phenom) but it would be nice to have alternative login options.
- The app’s event descriptions are very basic, so you might have to do a little creative investigating to find the event that’s right for your brand.
Even the most informative and well-planned events can result in missed opportunities; this was the driving frustration behind the creation of OleaPark.
- The app features user-friendly scrollable agendas, speaker profiles, and event details
- Once at the event, it’s gauge shows the people you should connect with based on your social graphs and interests.
- After connecting, you can chat with other attendees via the app to set up an in-person meeting.
- Some user reviews of the app mention functionality issues with real-time communication. However, the app has recently been upgraded, and reviews of new version seem to suggest that these bugs may have been eradicated.
This app’s focus is to initiate an introduction with prime connections while you are at an event.
- Using LinkedIn, the app shows you other LinkedIn members within your current geographical location with whom you can connect and chat
- The app will also alert you when members of your LinkedIn groups or connections already within to your network are in attendance
- Because the app relies on your geographical location, your use of its networking capabilities is somewhat limited and dependent upon your attendance at an event.
Why use an event networking app?
A Blank Slate: You have absolute control over what you want to make of your brand, it’s image amongst clients, and its voice within the industry. Participating in events, online, off, or both is a great way to engage in “brand-discovery”, through the connections that you make and the feedback you receive. In reaching out, be sure to take note of your fellow attendees or those at your own event, evaluate where your most enthusiastic responses come from, and use this information to develop a clearer understanding of your brand’s community and strategy moving forward.
Size Matters! As a smaller brand, you can use your size to your advantage by stressing your freedom to develop intimate relationships with followers, potential customers, investors, and your brand’s community more generally, unlike larger, seemingly “impersonal” fashion labels and retailers. The same mentality should apply to the way you engage and network with others at events; you have the ability to be make yourself stand out when it comes to outward facing interactions.
It’s Not about the Price Tag: Staying true to what you envision for your brand’s quality has already got you strapped for cash; make the most of your brand’s dollars. These apps allow you to create, monitor, and participate for free via your iPhone, Android, or laptop.
One-of-a-Kind Design: These apps include some variation of a security settings, whether a passcode or login, for private engagement. The intimate sharing that these apps facilitate, reinforces the feeling of exclusivity, exceptionalism, and uniqueness that every small brand and emerging designer should want to create around their product, without undermining the networking process or diminishing brand awareness and customer retention.
Regardless of which app serves your needs best, the characteristics you share with other small, emerging brands makes these kind of event apps useful for exposure and growth.