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The Futureforth Blog

Helpful tips and articles about social media strategy, content marketing, and business networking. 

Filtering by Tag: Nashcocktail

6 Tips To Create A Killer Networking Group

Dave Delaney

Create Your Networking Group

One of the best ways to grow your professional network is to host your own networking group. A few months after moving to Nashville, I created Geek Breakfast as a way to keep our growing technology community together. Five years ago, I launched Nashcocktail, to connect local social media professionals. You can create a group too, if you follow these five simple steps.

1. Begin with your goals. What do you hope to gain from creating a networking group?

My intention with the groups I created was to connect people and build community. I could measure this by reviewing membership and attendee numbers each month to be sure we were growing.

2. Find an available or underserved niche.

Do a simple Google search to find events in your city related to your niche. Don’t be discouraged if you find groups already exist. You should attend the events to understand how they are run. Ask yourself how your group would be different.

You may also discover a dormant group. Reach out to the organizer and ask if you can take it over. That’s what Jeff Dolan did with the Nashville Filmmakers group. Jeff explains how he did it in my interview below, plug in your headphones and enjoy.

3. Connect with and invite local leaders in the your niche.

I’m a big fan of the FollowerWonk tool. You can use this to search Twitter bios in a specific location. For example, you can search “author” and “Nashville” and find anyone on Twitter around the city, who include author in their bio. FollowerWonk will show you who are the most influential based on the number of followers they have and tweets they create.

Use LinkedIn to search for companies who provide products or services related to your niche. For example, if you are creating a networking group for the travel industry, search for travel agents, hotels, and airlines on LinkedIn. Find the people who work for the companies and reach out to invite them to your group. Once you determine the names of the companies you can also see if you have friends who work there using a simple Facebook search.

4. Use a service like MeetUp, Facebook Events, or Eventbrite to create your invitation.

MeetUp.com is a good site to create a group around a reoccurring event. Facebook Events should be used in conjunction with your Facebook Page to organize events. Eventbrite is an alternative to TicketMaster for event organizers to create tickets.

5. Reach out to everyone you know to announce the event.

Use social media, email, and pick up the phone. You want to promote the heck out of your group to get a good turnout. The first event is important because you want group members to return next time.

You may choose to pay to promote your group’s event on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. I can help you with this if you need to better understand how to affordably advertise on these platforms.

6. Poll your attendees before the event to learn more about their specific needs, so you can better serve them.

Use SurveyMonkey to create a short, simple survey. Send it to your members to ask them what they hope to gain from attending your event and being a member of your group.

Sending an occasional survey to members can also help you get the pulse of your group to ensure everyone is enjoying their membership.

Creating and running your own networking group isn't difficult. However, it takes time to grow and nurture your group. Be patient and listen to your members, they will ultimately determine if your group is a success.

If you have questions about organizing your own group and events, reach out to me with a comment below or on Twitter @davedelaney.

7 Tips for Organizing Networking Events and Meet Ups

Dave Delaney

Nashcocktail Nashville MeetUp Mixer featured in the Tennessean

Have you ever wanted to organize your own event? Do you already run an event, but you are not satisfied with how it is going? This post is for you.

I will celebrate the fifth anniversary of my monthly networking event, Nashcocktail, next month. If you’re not familiar, Nashcocktail is a monthly networking mixer for social media enthusiasts and professionals in Nashville, Tennessee 

It all began after the first Social Media Day event. The organizers were not practitioners of social media, instead they were piggy backing off the popular day of celebration for social media pros. A few attendees and I agreed that we should be the ones hosting such an event because we work, live and breathe social media. As we were departing that evening, I came up with the idea. I bought the domain and announced Nashcocktail to my friends the following day.

We work, live and breathe social media

Nashcocktail hasn't been a smash hit every month though. Attendees always have a good time, but I have learned many lessons along the way.

Since July 2010, thousands of people have attended my monthly mixers. Relationships have been born at Nashcocktail that led to friendships, partnerships, jobs and more. The following are seven tips to help you make your event a success.

7 TIPS FOR EVENTS

1. Size matters. Choose a venue that isn’t so big that it looks empty and that’s not so small that the sound is too loud. I held Nashcocktail in a few venues where the sound was just too much. A few people were frustrated that they could not hear the person they were speaking with. Size really does matter.

2. Parking helps. If you can find a venue that has plenty of free parking, your attendees will be that much happier. If not, be sure to provide instructions on where they should park. If they drive around the venue a few times without success, they may end up driving home.

3. Intro circle. Allow your attendees to each take a moment to introduce who they are, what they do and what they hope to gain from attending the event. Point out that this is so people can connect with one another.

4. Highlight your sponsor. I always have my sponsor spend a couple of minutes explaining who they are and what they do. I also promote them like crazy across social media, on our site and in our email newsletters. We love our sponsors.

5. Take a picture, it’ll last longer. I snap plenty of photos at each event. I share them on the Facebook page, so attendees can return and check them out the next day. I always have the next month’s event ready, so they can RSVP while they are there.

6. What’s your name again? I stress that attendees must RSVP on our Facebook events. I do this so they can return and put a name to a face, in case they forgot to ask for a business card.

7. Encourage feedback. I always ask attendees and sponsors for feedback, so I can make the event better. I do a yearly survey to check in, too.

If you’re in Nashville (or visiting), you should join us at the next Nashcocktail. The event is always free to attend, so what have you got to lose? Visit Nashcocktail.com for details.

Do you have experience organizing events? Leave a comment with your own tip please. 

This article was originally posted in The Tennessean.

The New Business Networking Book Launch

Dave Delaney

Photo by CohesionArts Last night, I had the great pleasure of combining my monthly networking event, Nashcocktail, with Social Media Club Nashville's mixer. The two events were brought together to promote the official launch of my book, New Business Networking.

We intentionally kept the Q&A brief  to allow everyone to meet one another and… well… network! That was the whole point, right?

I wanted to write this post to sincerely thank everyone who was able to attend. I also want to thank Georgia Cross for hosting and creating the great Storify below, Social Media Club Nashville for organizing, The Bound'ry restaurant, and Paul Schatzkin for shooting some fantastic photos. Many of the attendees shot and shared great photos using the hashtag #nbnbook. You can check them out on Instagram.

It feels pretty darn great to receive your positive feedback and support. Thank you!