With almost one billion users on Facebook and nearly 400 million Twitter users, it’s likely that most of your friends, clients, or fans are using social media in some capacity. While there is still something to be said for sending out hand-written invitations to certain events (you don’t see many wedding invitations on Facebook, after all), inviting people to events online is a great way to instantly receive RSVPs, as well as coordinate ticket sales if your event requires a paid ticket. Several popular sites have emerged to help coordinate invites, RSVPs, tickets, and the event check-in process, which not only eliminates the paper (which is great for those companies “going green”), but saves the hassle of coordinating these processes on your own. Here are five of our favorite sites for coordinating events.
Eventbrite is one of the most popular websites that allows event coordinators to create events, publish them online, share events using social media platforms or a direct link, opt to password protect the event for privacy, manage the event’s RSVP list using personally defined fields (such as name, Twitter handle, job titles, etc.) and manage ticket sales. If your event is not free, your attendees can pay via PayPal or Google Checkout, and you can choose different types of tickets to offer, such as early bird or student discounts. Eventbrite also offers the option to generate special discount codes that you can provide guests privately — great for your best friends or the press. Another great feature that makes this our favorite choice for our LockerGnome/Gnomedex events is the ability to check guests in using the Eventbrite app for mobile devices, which helps reduce the need for carrying around a guest checklist and reduces anxiety when guests forget their tickets. (We can also see how many users have arrived in real-time, allowing us to know if we should delay the event or even get started a little early.)
Of course, if you have a large fan base on Facebook, you may not want to redirect your customers or audience to another site and potentially lose their interest in your event in the process of trying to secure RSVPs. Facebook is equipped with a simple yet effective way to coordinate events using Facebook Events, allowing you to input the date, time, locations, and details about an upcoming event and allow your friends and fans to RSVP. You can also easily make events private, so as not to attract attention to an event you only want selected people to know about. The only downside to Facebook events is that RSVP options include the ability to say “maybe,” proving it difficult to effectively plan details like catering and the appropriate room capacity.
Are you planning an event for your followers on Twitter — often called a Tweetup? Twtvite is a great app that allows event planners to create and publish an event using this service with all the details about this event, including the option to set a max capacity (often important with these events, as they typically happen in a bar or limited capacity restaurant) and then allow Twitter users to RSVP to the event using their Twitter account via Twitter oAuth. Twitter users can see what other users have RSVP’d, and then easily add it to their calendar of choice, such as Gmail, with just one click. It’s a simple way to create, publish, and manage the invite list for events geared towards Twitter users, and as a bonus, the app will automatically remind those who RSVP’d that the event is happening within the next few days so the planner doesn’t have to — all via Twitter. If you’re planning an event for your Twitter fans or customers, this is one website not to overlook.
Brown Paper Tickets
Brown Paper Tickets is one of the newset online event coordinating options on the scene, and we’re not just fans of its service because it hosts great events at places like SXSW (though that’s true), but because it offers incredibly low service fees, donates 5% of its profits to charities, and treats its employees extremely well. (Since it’s a startup based in Seattle, this shouldn’t surprise you.) It even offers extra services such as laminated badges, lanyards, custom seating charts, fan club ticketing, and other special requests. New users of Brown Paper Tickets will find that the site functions like other ticketing sites — but don’t be fooled; there’s much more to this service than meets the eye (and at a much lower cost, too).
When I’m not online reading, sharing, or blogging about the latest trends in social media and startups, I can usually be found at my friend’s house, spending hours scrapbooking while drinking Diet Coke and eating cookies. (Isn’t it shocking I’m still single?) However, perhaps that’s why I’m such a fan of Pingg, an event coordinating site that blends the tradition of creating gorgeous invitations with the ability to send online invitations. With Pingg, users can create a custom designed online invite that resembles the type of invite you might receive in the mail, and then send it digitally to your friends, family, and even fans and customers. It’s a great way to send both personal and professional invitations and announcements, and Pingg even now offers ticketing options for events, managed with PayPal. This option is notably pricier than other websites already mentioned; each ticket costs $1 — but considering how fancy your invitation to the event looks, it may be well worth the cost. To find out more about Pingg, visit pingg.com.
Do you use a website to coordinate an event for your friends or business? If so, what is your favorite? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.