1. Get an enthusiastic team to join you in the planning and implementation process
2. Get some generous sponsors so you have some funds to pay for the event. (see sample sponsor letter below)
3. Find a great venue to help generate the buzz and work with them on a date
4. Promote like a freak to the local association, brokers, and ancillary real estate professionals.
5. Ask for help! The more people you get involved, the more people you have out there helping you promote the event.
6. Create social media channels for promo. Create a Facebook business page and ask people to like it and spread the word. If you are a star on Twitter, create a hashtag and tell people to use it to get the online buzz generated.
7. Invite speakers or participants that you think could help lead the discussions. The key here is not asking local social media “guru’s” who come to pitch their services. The goal here is an open learning environment. This is not a presentation conference. If someone is standing in the front of the crowd teaching, without a level of sharing within the group, the dynamic is not working correctly.
8. Have a HUGE white board so you can set up the presentations. “Setting the board” is an art form derived by how many rooms you have available to hold sessions divided by how many sessions you want to hold throughout the day. Viewing photos of past boards will help you.
9. Buy stickie notes and 3 x 5 blank cards. (also have pens!) Pass the cards out during the morning session and ask people to write down what they came there to learn. Have a dynamic and QUICK team go through the cards to decide which are the hottest topics that people want to learn about. If your “presenters” are disappointed that their topic of interest is not in there, it’s ok..they can still facilitate and be part of the learning process.
10. The sticky notes will help you put the topics up on the board and move them around until the group sees that the most asked for topics are at the top and there is a diverse topic list through out the day.
11. Then write the board with the times and the names of the rooms with the topic discussions in each space. If you have a large venue, make numerous boards and put them up around the venue, so everyone does not have to squish in one little area to go back to find out where they should be next.
12. Seed the rooms with volunteers to make sure that sales pitches are not being presented as fact. The host should state at the beginning of the day that if people are being sold to, its ok to get up and leave and find another room.
13. If you can get lunch catered you are a star and should be showered with REBC love.
14. If you can, have a prize for the person who asks the most questions, gets involved with the most discussions and shares their personal experiences using social media and tech tools. Participation by the audience is what drives the REBC movement.
15. Take pictures throughout the day. Post them to Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare and wherever else you can tell the world where you are and what you are doing. Share the pics afterwards and tag people…this drives interest among the peeps who should have been there and will show up next time.
16. Invariably, attendee’s heads will swim, they will want to get back to work, and they will leave before 3. However, a few devoted fanatics who see the social media light will stay to the bitter end. Reward them with beer and drinks.
17. Keep in mind in setting the board that you will have fewer attendees towards the end of the day and plan accordingly. By 3, mush up everyone into one room and have a big general discussion, have some fun and seriously, provide free alcohol. Many life long relationships have been developed in these after hours networking opportunities.
18. Clean up. But don’t do it alone! Ask for everyone to load chairs, put away tables, take down signs and clean up the venue. It’s hard enough putting on a REBC that you can lean on the VERY grateful attendees to help you..just ask.
19. Send thank you notes to your sponsors. Post pics on their Facebook pages of people standing near their signs and give them a public and social shout out for their support.
20. Breathe and know you have helped your fellow real estate professionals grasp the concept of social media, online marketing, blogging, apps, tablets, or whatever else was the hot topic that day!