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What is currently the most innovative event format? Barcamps! That’s why we asked Holger Gottesleben for an interview. Together with Philip Dunkhase he organizes the university Barcamp. Here it all revolves around social media and digital communication instruments for universities.
Since both are tech evangelist, they rely on LineUpr for event communication. Holger explains to us what the advantages of LineUpr are for him as they use us concretely.
Holger: My name is Holger Gottesmann and I work as a consultant at FOM University. Together with Philip Dunkhase from alumni-clubs.net, I have been organizing the university Barcamp for four years. This event is aimed at all those who have something to do with universities and social media.
LineUpr: How much time and work do you invest in planning the Barcamp?
Holger: This is difficult to measure in numbers. My approach here is rather agile. Once I do something in the office next to my other tasks, another time I spontaneously use a train ride to do something and consciously take time at the weekend for particularly elaborate and creative work.
It is always crucial to have access to all information at all times. Together with Philip Dunkhase I mainly use digital tools such as GoogleDocs and GoogleDrive. This way we both always have the project management for the event with us on laptop or smartphone and can coordinate and keep up to date at any time.
Since we organize the event mostly on a voluntary basis, exact planning numbers do not play an important role for us. We just do it when it’s necessary!
LineUpr: We already had the keyword “digital”. What makes your Barcamp special? What additional value does it offer the participants?
Holger: The Barcamp format offers the ideal framework for an exchange at eye level and intensive networking. The open-minded approach of the program is its great strength, as the participants themselves determine what is on the agenda and can actively participate in shaping it. This way we are always up to date with the topics at the university Barcamp and at the same time have very committed participants.
LineUpr: This can be seen on the photo ?. What is the typical target group of your events and how do you reach them? Do you use special processes or which channels and tools do you use for the marketing and promotion of this event?
Holger: The typical target group of our event includes members of public or private universities who deal with the use of social media. This includes, for example, social media managers, marketing and student advisory staff, but also people who use social media in teaching and science communication.
Also, everyone who is interested in the topic of university communication or who offers corresponding services for universities is invited.
We use social media for the communication and advertising of the event right from the start. We have a blog, a Facebook page and a Twitter profile. When distributing information, we rely on the help of our fans and the corresponding multiplier effect through likening and sharing. This works very well for our social media affine target group and we can therefore, dispense with other costly marketing measures.
In addition, we still try to place our event in the newsletters and event schedules of relevant organizations and associations.
LineUpr: That sounds like a lot of work. Which of these channels do you think is the best or most efficient? What information do you distribute through these channels?
Holger: The linchpin of our communication is our blog. Here you will find information for the participants on ticket purchases, the schedule and the location of the event, among other things. Furthermore, we use the blog as an advertising platform for our sponsors, who are listed there with logos and links to their websites. All blog posts are distributed over and over on Facebook and Twitter or the participants do this on their channels. For us this is very effective, as we get a large reach for our news with relatively low effort. We also get the whole range of information that we have to distribute there, e.g. reports, photos, videos.
LineUpr: How did you use the app at the university Barcamp before, during and after?
Holger: We have already distributed the link to the app a few days before the event. In this way, everyone could familiarize themselves with the usage and utilize the corresponding functionalities, e.g. on arrival.
During the event, we used the app primarily to communicate the individual program items and event venues. At a Barcamp, the programme is only created in the joint discussion on the first day of the event. The participants can spontaneously decide to participate in individual sessions at any time. The app was ideal for this, as you could compile your own program with favorites at any time.
Furthermore, the survey function, e.g. for the registration for the evening event or the feedback, and the messaging tool for the participants helped us a lot. By using the app, we were effective, flexible and at the same time resource-friendly.
After the event, the app is used to document the event and guests can also inform themselves about topics offered and people present afterward. In the future, we also want to make documents available here.
LineUpr: How did your participants react to the app?
Holger: This is the second time we have used the app. Especially because our guests were so enthusiastic last time. Even though there was always a lot of communication via our blog or the other social media channels, the app was again an excellent support for the event. The uncomplicated use of a web app has convinced the guests and us.
LineUpr: What other difficulties do you face in the scheduling, marketing and execution of events?
Holger: From the beginning, it was clear to us that we had to manage with limited resources at our Barcamp. This applies especially to the time that Philip and I can invest in organizing. We do this mostly on a voluntary basis, alongside work and family. That is why it is essential that we can divide up the tasks between us and handle them flexibly regarding space and time.
That’s why we have digital solutions for everything, both of which we also use elsewhere. In concrete terms, this is as follows: Communication between us via e-mail and messenger services, communication and marketing of the event via social media, ticket sales via XING events, project management with GoogleDocs, data management with GoogleDrive, event communication with LineUpr.
LineUpr: One more personal closing question. What’s the most curious thing you’ve seen in your job so far?
Holger: A difficult question that I can’t answer so spontaneously. I’ve always dealt with people at work. There were many odd moments. May I greet my parents at the end?
LineUpr: Awesome last words Holger. Thank you again for your time and the great information you shared with us.