Events, whether they are a local tweetup, a championship game or the world’s largest conference, can be notoriously difficult to plan, promote, and execute. But the end result can be amazing, and that is why we plan them in the first place.

Many conferences and event planners have come up with unique and powerful ways to promote and plan gatherings via online social tools. This guide will help you understand how social media can power and drive events using four popular tools.

Meetup
Meetup is the largest online community dedicated to helping people meet online in order to create offline groups.

LocalOn Meetup, you can find groups for just about anything you’re interested in. You can join those groups to get notifications about events.Events include a wide range of topics, from business related to fitness related, from language exchanges to book clubs.

Here’s an overview of Meetup’s many features.

Search for Specific Topics

If there’s something specific you’re looking for, just type it into the search bar. Meetup will display all the relevant meetups and any upcoming meetups on that subject.

Meetup Details

Once you get the results, you’ll be presented with a number of different meetups. Each meetup will have its meetup name, its icon / image and its member count listed.

If there’s an upcoming meetup for the group, that’ll also be listed beside the meetup.

You can see the number of people attending the meetup on the bottom.

RSVP for Events

Meetup’s RSVP system makes it easy for attendees to reserve spots and easy for organisers to predict how many people will show up.

To RSVP for an event, just click “Yes” or “No.” If you answered “yes,” then let the organiser know if you’ll be bringing guests and enter any comments you have.

Preview the Guestlist

Do you want to know who might be attending an event before making a decision? Meetup makes this easy for you by publishing the guestlist. Just browse the list on the right to see who’s coming and who’s not.

Your Meetup Groups

Meetup allows you to join Meetup groups. Once you’re a member, you can opt to receive notifications by email whenever a new meetup is scheduled.

You can also easily view all the upcoming events for Meetup groups that you’ve joined. This way you don’t have to do a search every time you want to find relevant events.

New Meetup Notifications

Want to know when a new meetup is formed? Just let Meetup know what kind of meetups you’re interested in.

Whenever a new meetup is started in one of those interest categories near you, you’ll be notified.

Start Your Own Meetup Group

Want to meet other people about a specific interest but can’t find an existing group? You can start your own meetup. The whole process takes about 30 minutes. Meetup will even help promote your meetup to get you the initial members.

Note that group organisers do need to pay a small monthly fee.

Meetup iPhone App

Meetup also has an iPhone application that has most of Meetup’s basic features.

You can see all the upcoming meetups in your groups:?

You can see nearby meetups by using the iPhone’s GPS features:

Local2You can even set your iPhone to deliver notifications to you to remind you of events or let you know when someone comments on an event you plan on attending.These are most of Meetup’s main features. You can find meetups on just about any topic, join groups, get updates, learn of new meetups when they appear, create your own meetups and use Meetup on the go with the iPhone app.

Eventful
Eventful is an event listing website where people can find information on concerts, live shows, sports events, movies and more. The focus is on live in-person events.

Eventful has over 4 million events listed on any given month and is used by over 15 million people every month. They have over 18 million registered users and are based out of San Diego, California.

Here are some of the main features of Eventful.

What’s Near You at a Glance

If you want to see what’s going on near you at a quick glance, you can do so with Eventful’s “What’s Near You” event box.

Demand Artists

Want a particular artist to play in your area? Eventful makes it easy to let them know. If enough people in your area demand a particular artist, they’re a lot more likely to come and play.

You can even organise your own grass roots campaign to get an artist to play near you, all through Eventful.

Find the Hottest Spots Near You

Where are the best music venues and trendiest spots? Take a look at the “Local Hotspots” area to find out.?

Concerts

If you’ve ever wondered concerts are going on near you but didn’t want to have to check the websites of every concert hall individually, you can find out with Eventful. Just head over to the “Concerts” section.?

You can find different concerts by sorting them by different categories. You can sort by location, date, type of music and more.

Easy Online Ticketing

Find a show you’d like to attend? Eventful makes it easy to buy a ticket on the spot.

Eventful will even link you to secondhand tickets on StubHub if retail tickets aren’t available.

Other Types of Events

In addition to concerts, Eventful has listings of all kinds of other live events.

Just select from one of the many different categories. For example, if you choose Performing Arts, you’ll be presented with all the live performing arts events in your area.

Movies

Eventful also has all the movie showtimes, dates, releases and trailers on their website. You can even use Eventful to find IMAX movies or 3D movies.

Search for Specific Events

If you’ve heard about an event going on in your area or want to find a specific kind of event, you can search for it. Just type in your location and what you’re looking for.

Local3These are the most important features of Eventful. You can find local concerts, live performances, movies, and other events. You can demand your favourite artists, as well as find the hottest spots in your area. Finally, you can lookup movie times, locations and trailers for regular movies as well as 3D movies.

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Upcoming
Upcoming is Yahoo’s event finder. They have events from all over the nation, with the ability to search by location, date and event type.

Perhaps their most unique feature is the ability to pull artists from your Pandora, Last.fm and iTunes profiles. Once they’ve pulled your favourite artists, they can tell you which of them will be playing in a concert in the near future.

Here are the main features of Upcoming.

Find Concerts from Your Favourite Bands

Upcoming allows you to find concerts by your favourite bands by plugging into Pandora, Last.fm or iTunes.

Once Upcoming has scanned your library, they’ll add all the artists to your account so they can track it in the long run.

At anytime you can just click a button and have Upcoming search for concerts by artists you like in your area.

Browse Local Events

You can browse upcoming for local events by clicking on any event type in the left sidebar. You can also click “All” if you want to see everything.

Once the events are listed out, you’ll be able to see the name of the event, the artist, the location, the time, the date and a description of the event.

Browse Events by Time

If you have a specific day when you’re free and want to see what’s going on, you can do so by clicking a date on Upcoming’s calendar. You’ll be shown all the events going on that day.

Detailed Event Information

Once you find an event you’re interested in attending, Upcoming will give you all the details that surrounds it.

The information includes location, contact information, ticket pricing, links to relevant websites and a detailed description of the website.

Often there are also detailed images or posters that accompany the event listing.

Venue Specific Events

Upcoming allows you to lookup specific venues and see all the upcoming events for that venue.

For example, you can type in the name of your favourite concert hall to see who’ll be playing in the next few weeks and months.

Add Your Event

Upcoming has an easy to use interface that allows you to add your own events.

If you’re hosting a class, a play, a musical event or any kind of live public event and want to get more publicity, you an add it to Upcoming to expose it to their user base.

These are the main features of Upcoming. Using upcoming, you can easily identify all the artists you like and find concerts near you. You can find detailed information on each event, including pictures, contact information and ticketing information. You can also find events by date. Finally, you can add your own event(s) to the site.

The Hotlist
Hotlist likes to describe themselves as “Pandora for your life.” What they do is aggregate data from your friends and other people like you and figure out what kind(s) of places they like.

They then compile this into your Hotlist. Your Hotlist is a list of recommended places that Hotlist thinks you’ll like, based on where all your friends are going.

Hotlist is an intuitive and easy way to find hot events going on and new places to visit.

Here’s an overview of Hotlist.

Map of Hot Spots

The first thing you see when you log into Hotlist is a map of all the hotspots near you.

To learn more about any hotspot, just click on it.

Location Details

When you click on any location, Hotspot will show you a picture of the location, the address and any upcoming events. You can also see who’ll be attending the events and whether anyone you know will be there.

See What Your Friends Are Up To

Hotspot can full your friends’ event attendance data straight from Facebook, giving you a great map of who’s going to what.

You can see where your friends plan on being on the right hand side of Hotspot’s login.

Find Events on a Specific Date

Want to know what’s hot on a specific date? Just punch in the date on the map and Hotspot will update itself to show you all the most popular spots and events.

Hotspot iPhone App

If you’re on the go and want to see what other people are up to or where to go for the after party, look no further than your iPhone.

The iPhone app works by pulling data from your Facebook profile. You don’t even need to sign up for an account – You can just log into Facebook straight from your iPhone.

You can find out where all your friends are at while on the go. This makes it very easy to meetup with other friends while you’re out and about.