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Using Workplace by Facebook to plan a technology conference

Posted by Bill Cushard on October 26, 2016

Fall is tech conference season in Silicon Valley, and the biggest conference for ServiceRocket is the Atlassian Summit, which occurred the week of October 10 in San Jose, CA. We have participated in Summit since the very first one almost ten years ago. This year, as participation grew, we wanted to improve how we planned, organized, executed, and recapped our participation. We also wanted to maximizing participation in the conference, even with employees who could not attend in person. We used the Events feature in Workplace by Facebook to engage the team participating in the conference and employees around the world who could not attend. 

Paola Toulet, ServiceRocket's Enterprise Sales Development Manager and the lead organizer for our Atlassian Summit participation and sponsorship, created an Event in Workplace with two goals in mind:

  1. To gather everyone together who would be attending the conference so they could communicate with each other about planning, organizing, and attending the event.
  2. To create a place where everyone at ServiceRocket could observe the event from afar and participate in some way, even though they could not each attend the conference.

Before we created the Event in Workplace, we started with a Group. Using a Group was the obvious choice. But Groups live on. Groups imply ongoing work. An Event, like a conference, has finite life. Yes, we could have used the Group, but we thought that over time, too many of these Groups, that no one uses anymore would be a distraction. After all, no one is going to use the "Atlassian Summit 2016" Group nine months from now. By using an Event, it implies that the event will be over at some point. And Workplace even moves the Event into a "Past" state, automatically remove it from the "Upcoming" Events list. 

As part of this post, I just also wanted to share with you a bit of our thought process for how we chose to use one feature over another.

The rest of this blog post shows examples of how we used the Events feature to plan, organize, participate, and recap our participation in the Atlassian Summit. 

Plan the event

The first thing we did was use the Event in Workplace to plan the event. When collateral came in, our Vice President of Marketing, Colleen Blake, posted pictures in the Event so that everyone knew what we would be giving out at the conference. 

ServiceRocket collateral for Atlassian Summit on Workplace by Facebook

Matt Doar, our Chief Toolsmith, and Mikey Schott, our Technical Consultant, both co-authors of the O'Reilly book Practical JIRA Administration, signed 100 copies of their book to be given away at Summit. Not only did we document the signing and post it in Workplace, but Sarah E. Brown, our Senior Manager of Growth Marketing, shared some of the tweets in the Workplace Event and asked the team to retweet it on Twitter to help spread the word about the signed book giveaway at the conference.

Matt Doar signing JIRA Administration book for Atlassian Summit on Workplace be Facebook

On the Friday before the conference, Paola organized a meeting with the team to review our offerings, the schedule, and to answer any questions people had. Paola also live streamed the meeting on Workplace so that everyone at ServiceRocket could participate. 

Atlassian Summit Prep Meeting at ServiceRocket on Workplace by Facebook

Communicate to each other during the event

Once the conference started, the team used the Event to communicate with each other. As our sales team and consultants traded time between their booth shifts and attending sessions, they posted scheduled in the Event to stay coordinated. Jacob Teal, our technical consultant and instructor posted the schedule to keep people informed.

Jacob Teal posting Atlassian Summit Schedule on Workplace by Facebook

Daily recaps

At the end of each day, Deirdre Blatt, from our technical training team, posted a more detailed summary of what happened that day at the conference. Recaps are good for people who did not work the booth on one day, but will work another day. It allows them to come in to the next day with context for what happened the day before. Recaps are also good for people in the office who are not attending the conference but want to stay informed. 

A great way to create and share these recaps is to use the Notes feature in Workplace. A Note allows you to create a more detailed update, very much like a blog post and share the Note in the Event, as you can see below. 

Recapping Atlassian Summit on Workplace by Facebook

Recapping Atlassian Summit on Workplace by Facebook

Share the excitement

There are few things more fun than when a customer comes up to you at the booth at a conference and says, "I love ServiceRocket. I had to come by and say hello." It is gratifying that customers want to come hang out with you at your booth at a conference. Perhaps the one thing better than customers coming to visit and showering you with praise is taking selfies with customers and sharing those in the Workplace Event. 

We have Rockeeters in four global locations. Many work with customers remotely and have never met customers in person. Also most cannot attend the conference. By sharing pictures with customers in the Workplace Event and mentioning the ServiceRocket employees who work with those customers, it creates an inclusive environment and brings remote employees into the conference.

ServiceRocket at Atlassian Summit with Customers posted on Workplace by Facebook

What events do you plan?

The Events feature in Workplace is a great way to organization, plan, and share events. We have used it to plan conferences, as you can see. In addition to planning conferences, we have used Events for webinars, office team building events, meetups, and in one case, our CEO and founder Rob Castaneda invited everyone to his house on a Saturday in October to watch a college football game (for which we had employees who were alumni of the schools, for a little run rivalry). He used a Workplace Event to invite everyone. Go Clemson!

How you use Workplace to bring people together is up to you. We find it an easy and engaging way to share company events with people who cannot be there in person. 


See Workplace in Action

If you would like to learn more about what is possible in Workplace and see the product in action, join one of our bi-weekly Jam Sessions.

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Topics: Events, Atlassian, Silicon Valley, Atlassian Summit, Conferences, Workplace by Facebook, Workplace, Facebook

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