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Using Orbit for: Events

August 13, 2021
Kevin Lewis
Kevin Lewis
Using Orbit for: Events
Welcome to The Observatory, the community newsletter from Orbit.

Each week we go down rabbit holes so you don't have to. We share tactics, trends and valuable resources we've observed in the world of community building.

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Orbit is mission control for your community - a platform to grow and measure your community, and events are a key part of many community strategies.

The goal of this post is to help you think about what community activities you might add to your Orbit workspace as an event organizer. I'm going to assume that you've set up your workspace, any initial integrations, and broadly understand how the platform works. If you're not already up-and-running with Orbit, create a free account to follow along.

We'll cover different aspects of running events chronologically - starting with identifying stakeholders, ticketing, engagement, on-the-day delivery, and post-event interactions. For each, we will discuss how to bring historical data into your Orbit workspace, and how you can set up ongoing integrations so new data finds its way into Orbit automatically.

Understanding Your New and Potential Stakeholders

Running events often involves more stakeholders than just the attendees - speakers, sponsors, volunteers, and vendors all need identifying and tracking before your event.

Using member tags is a great way to keep on top of people's roles in your community.

For my event-based community, You Got This, I also tag people who might fit in any of these roles:

  • Sponsor
  • Speaker
  • Vendor
  • Volunteer
  • Potential-speaker (has delivered relevant content in the past)
  • Potential-sponsor (in a position of influencing budget)
  • Potential-vendor (might complete paid work or offer a service for the team - such as design CFP review, captioning, etc)

When it's time to plan for an event I know who I can reach out to using Orbit's search or filters. To provide additional context in larger teams, you may also consider either adding activities or notes around these engagements. You can add activities directly in the UI to keep track of high-value but non-automated interactions, too. In fact, Patrick touches on this in his blog post about a data-centric approach to tracking investor relationships.

Screenshot of a member profile. Shown is 5 tags - speaker, champion, attendee, event-home, and event-couch.
Pauline has 5 tags in my workspace - each can be used in filters when searching members.

View New Event Registrations As They Happen

Your event has launched! Let's talk about getting event registrations into your Orbit workspace. The exact approach will differ depending on your ticketing platform, but the basic premise is adding an Orbit activity every time there is a ticket issued. Here are some common tools and a possible integration path:

  • When a new attendee is registered in Eventbrite create an activity in Orbit using our Integromat integration.
  • When a new guest is created in Luma create an activity in Orbit using our Zapier integration.
  • Use our Meetup Community Integration to add new activities for new RSVPs across all events in a Meetup group.
  • If you roll-your-own event registration, then use the Orbit API to add these registrations to your Orbit workspace.

While the above is great for future registrants, you might have existing attendees from upcoming or past events. Most ticketing platforms provide a way to export attendance lists as CSV, which you can then tweak to import into Orbit.

Learn how to add activities to your workspace via CSV.

Doing this will give you immediate insight into the health of your community, and provide ways to report on the changes in your community factoring in what's happened to-date.

Keep On Top of Community Engagement

Your community likely happens in many places, and Orbit provides a way to understand and know your impact across all those places. Once you've added a Twitter integration, you can listen for keywords and queries which adds activities to your Orbit workspace when a match is found in a tweet. With this, you can make sure tweets mentioning your event are brought into Orbit.

Screenshot of Orbit showing the ability to write a Twitter search term and have Orbit listen for future tweets that match.

My personal community also has a newsletter powered by Buttondown. Fortunately, they offer both a CSV export which means I can add these subscription activities to Orbit, and a Zapier trigger for new subscribers. You may also choose to tag members who unsubscribe to indicate their desire to not be contacted in future.

If your community uses other email marketing tools like Mailchimp or Sendinblue, or transactional email providers like SendGrid or SparkPost, there are several routes to integrating your community data with Orbit including our Zapier and Integromat no-code integrations.

Gathering Data On-The-Day

What you might gather on-the-day depends highly on what platforms and event formats you are using. Dependent on these factors, you may choose to:

  • Add on-the-day check-ins as activities
  • Add chat participation, reactions, or poll answer actions as activities
  • Add interactions with sponsors as activities
  • Log and add tags to members when moderators perform actions regarding them
  • Register social activities

You may be able to do these automatically using automations, or import CSVs of activities once your event has ended.

Tracking Post-Event Interactions

Your event has happened and you’re getting through the last tasks before you can draw a line under it and start planning the next. Often, organizers will send out a post-event survey, and you may also choose to bring completions of the survey into Orbit. Like ticketing platforms, most form tools like Google Forms, Typeform, and Airtable have no-code tool integrations meaning the new entries can be added to Orbit without any code.

Inside of Orbit is a reports section which hosts lots of ready-made graphs and the ability to create your own. Use them to tell a story about your event’s success, and understand what did (and didn’t) work so you can be even more impactful next time. I personally find these graphs make great material for future sponsorship prospectuses or impact reports.  

Monitor Your Community Between Events

My community only meets around events, getting rather quiet in-between them. One thing I find interesting is to check out my Orbit workspace in between events to see who continues to engage - it’s these members who share talks and resources, and recommend the program of events to others. Once I see this pattern in a member I add a 'champion' tag to them, and know that they will be more likely to help me spread the word as I begin to plan future events. This is what the Orbit activity feed looks like:

In Summary

Orbit is a super useful tool at all stages of an event’s lifecycle - from better understanding key members of your community right through to post-event interactions and reporting. I hope this guide provides some inspiration for what you might do to get the most from the platform.

If you have any further questions feel free to reach out on Twitter @OrbitModel or by joining our Community Discord Server.

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