🥳 3 Key Questions for Reassessing Your Calendar Goals 🥳

Happy New Year! There’s no better time to set your sights on revitalizing your Localist platform than now. Below we’ve outlined questions to encourage your team to take stock & consider more deeply your calendar goals for 2021:

1. Are there any organizational goals that will be impacting your calendar goals?

  • Is your organization planning a website redesign launch?
  • Will there be any changes made to the Calendar Team?
  • Are you able to make Localist as much of a priority as you’d like?
  • Are there other projects that will be taking precedence over calendar management?
  • How has the shift from in-person to virtual events impacted your organization and team?

2. Is your team set up for success?

  • Does your team have an internal “Platform Lead” clearly designated?
  • Do you need to re-delegate administrative roles?
  • Does your need need to refresh any help documentation or provide additional admin trainings?

3. How will you assess your goals and platform in 2021?

  • How will you know this year with Localist was a success?
  • What changes do you want to see made to how you’re managing and promoting events this year?
  • What metrics will you be using to measure success?

📈 8 Tips to Increase Community Engagement 📈

While there’s no magic wand when it comes to user engagement, here’s some tips to make sure you’re on the right track: 

1. Social Logins

If your organization uses SSO for easy account management, you should absolutely offer that as an option. However, by only offering SSO logins you may exclude valuable community members like alumni, parents, and community partners from contributing to your calendar. We recommend keeping at least one social login available alongside SSO to cultivate a well-rounded calendar community.

2. I’m Interested

On an individual level, users who’ve marked themselves as interested will automatically receive email reminders to attend and review events. On a social level, after users click I’m Interested, it’s reflected in the interested count on event details pages. This gives other users on your calendar the ability to gauge what’s popular and entice them to engage with these events as well. 

In addition, we use I’m Interested as part of the Trending algorithm. So by encouraging users to utilize the I’m Interested functionality, you will also be influencing the Trending list to be a true reflection of what’s popular amongst your community.

3. Inviting Photos

One of the easiest ways to keep users engaged is to have high-quality photos. Having unique photos is important because they not only reflect your brand’s personality, they make scanning and easily identifying content even easier for users. For example, if a user comes to the platform looking for yoga classes, it will be easier for them to recognize those events if they have yoga inspired photos assigned to them. 

In the same vein, you should also consider filling your Photo Library with a handful of quality images as well. This way, when users add events to the calendar, you can rest assured that they will have top-of-the-line photos to choose from. 

4. Navigation That Makes Sense to Your Users

You should aim to create a list of Filters that are relevant and recognizable to your community so they know how to properly browse the calendar. Specifically, the Target Audience Filter family is an effective way to help users feel included and welcome at your events.

To get your creative juices flowing here’s some examples from our customers: 

  • Students, Faculty & Staff, Alumni, Community Members
  • Family Friendly, Teens, 21+, Seniors
  • Trainees, Researchers, Professionals

5. Groups

Taking it a step further, giving various groups in your community personal real estate on your calendar signals that the platform is truly meant for them. In doing so, group leaders and members will be excited to add events that they’re hosting to the calendar. Not to mention, upcoming and recent events hosted by these groups live on their landing pages in Localist. This allows users to get the full scope of what each group has to offer, and in turn, fosters an active calendar community. 

Not into “groups”? No problem! Some other customers have used language like departments, associations, clubs, offices, etc. instead.

6. Widgets

With group leaders on board, they can make some additional magic happen by adding Widgets to their websites. Widgets not only act as an ambassador for your events, but ultimately save admins time by displaying content all in one place, auto updating, and matching the brand of any web page they’re added to. 

7. Submission Guidelines and Event Turnaround Time

Submission Guidelines aren’t required, but adding them to the public submission form is a simple way to proactively empower your community. Additionally, making note of your approval turn-around time will let submitters know how long it will take for their events to be reviewed and approved. 

If you’re not currently accepting event submissions, we recommend reconsidering this approach as it saves admins time and curation efforts. Moreover, event submissions allow your audience to feel like contributing members of your community. What could be better than your calendar being populated with rich event content? An engaged and active audience, that’s for sure!

8. Contact Info 

If a member of your community reaches a roadblock, but doesn’t know who to contact for troubleshooting, they may abandon the platform altogether. We highly recommend including contact info in the submission form and linking it all around the calendar so users can easily seek help or guidance. What’s more, you can use these conversations to inform how you run your platform, implement new ideas or feedback, and ultimately develop a collaborative community.

⚓ How to Onboard Admins Like a Localist Pro ⚓

Whether you’re in implementation or just bringing new admins on board, here a few tips to help these folks become confident contributors to your calendar in no time!

1. Introduce Localist in Digestible Pieces

A new platform can already be overwhelming, so don’t let your training be overwhelming! We recommend not trying to proactively breakdown all features & functionality. Instead, start with the basics and wait for questions to be naturally raised.

You can start by sharing a Localist-specific FAQ with your team to introduce your new calendar. The Onboarding FAQ answers some commonly asked questions for teams who are just getting started with Localist.

2. Keep it Relevant

To start, cover the primary areas of the platform your admins will immediately encounter. We suggest the following order:

  • Outlining access controls: 
    • What being an Event Admin entails.
    • Who designates the Event Admin permission.
    • And if applicable, outlining that some admins may have stricter access that only allows them to apply/access events with specific Filters or Groups assigned.
  • Adding events: 
    • Use the admin form, walking through each field one at a time.
    • Specifically, call out what fields are admin-only and that Event Admins cannot alter the form or add new Filters or Groups.
    • If there are admins who are adding events for specific Channels, they’ll need to know what Classifications must be selected as well. 
    • This is our master doc for adding events that admins should bookmark for future reference: https://support.localist.com/submissions/.
  • Approving events: 
    • Once they are comfortable with the form, you can introduce the Pending Queue.
    • There’s really only 3 options here: 1) Review/Approve, 2) Edit/Approve, 3) Reject (with or without a note from the admin).
    • It’ll also be especially important here to note again that some admins may have more restricted permissions, so one admin’s queue may include 10 events, while another admin’s may reflect 1 event.

3. Explaining Your “Why”

Training shouldn’t just cover Localist functionality, but why you’ve chosen Localist. It’s natural with any new software that there’s going to be some growing pains, so it’s important for admins to understand what goals you’ve set and how Localist will help you achieve them.

4. Customize Examples and Training Materials

Whether you use written documentation, videos, or anything in between, we highly recommend using visual content. We suggest using tight screenshots so that your content is as evergreen as possible. If zoomed out screenshots are used, future changes to the platform will date your content and possibly introduce confusion.

While you can also use the Knowledge Base as inspiration for supplemental materials, it’s recommended that you take the extra step to provide training materials that directly reference your platform. This is because the KB uses our default functionality and language, which may not align with your platform if it’s been customized. 

5. Provide Trainees With Homework

With any new platform, there is a lot to review, so make sure your admins get a head start by requiring the following:

  • Send admins instructions on how to create an account so they can follow along during training sessions. 
  • Have admins review the Localist Glossary so they can become familiar with Localist terminology.
  • Get ahead of admin questions by sharing our 3-part Common Questions series (1, 2 & 3) for them to reference during or after training.

6. Keep an Open Line of Communication

Finally, always keep an open and direct line of communication. Whether it be for functionality help or sharing ideas, it’s important that your admins know how to contact your team so that they can easily seek help or guidance.

🗂️  7 Ideas for Event List Tabs 🗂️

Out of the box, Localist provides two default tabs for all Channels: Trending and Upcoming. However, the possibilities for additional tabs are endless! We’ve narrowed down the most popular examples below.

Note: Don’t forget that your homepage is a Channel, so you can add/edit tabs right from the Channel Layout Editor.  To do this, select + Add Component > Event List within the already present Event Tabs component. Then in the Editing Component,  you’ll designate a date range and/or Classification in the Included section to pull events into the list.

1. Virtual Events

As our world is changing and evolving, many events are transitioning to virtual spaces rather than being hosted in person. So why not showcase these events right on your calendar’s homepage? You can accomplish this by creating a dedicated virtual tab, and in doing so, users will easily be able to find them all in one convenient location. 

Just as a heads up, since it isn’t possible to include events in a tab by Virtual Experience, we suggest adding a “virtual” Tag or Keyword to any events you’d like to display in your list. 

2. Trending vs. Upcoming

We’ve found that users expect to see events displayed based on what is most popular and relevant to them. So it’s recommended that you use Trending as the default event list. That said, those who want to see a chronological view or search by date still have the Upcoming list.

3. By a Filter

You can also customize tabs by pulling in events with a Filter. For example, you can have an event list devoted to your most popular Event Type, Topic, or Audience Filters.

4. By Location or Place

Likewise, you can create tabs using a location or Localist Place. In the past, customers have included the following location-based tabs on their calendars: on campus, off campus, or events hosted at a central/popular location.

5. By a Date Range

Another way you can be really creative here is to make a tab based off of a date range. So, for instance, if you have a Homecoming Weekend Channel you could create event lists for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to showcase each day’s events. Similarly, you could have tabs for certain months, seasons, or semesters.

6. Temporary Events

Does your org host short-term events, like special series, festivals,  or campaigns? You can use a Tag or Keyword to create temporary tabs, so these events have their time to shine on your calendar.

7. Recent Events

If you have recent events that you’d like to highlight, either on the homepage or a Channel, you can do so by specifying a custom time period for the tab. So essentially, all you’ll have to do is note the time period (up to 365 days in the past) when adding your tab and then your event list will be populated with past events. 

❤️ 9 Tools the Localist Team Loves ❤️

Below we’ve rounded up some of our favorite tools that make our day-to-day a little easier!

 

 Branding

Ally suggests W3Schools
This is an online dictionary for all things related to web development. If you have any questions about HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc. during your branding journey, they’ve got you covered.
Emily H suggests Coursera
If you’d like to enroll in a crash course on anything from computer science to learning a new language, then Coursera is the place for you. They offer an abundance of online courses that will help you become an expert in no time!
Emily R suggests Dirty Markup
The web’s best HTML, CSS, & JavaScript ‘beautifier’! You can use this handy tool to clean your code when you’re branding your Localist Platform.

 

Content

Kat suggests RSS/Atom & iCal Feed Validators…
These validators are a lifesaver when adding Feeds into Localist! They will confirm that Feed data is ‘clean’, so when you add them to your platform it should be a seamless process.
Vell suggests a full page screenshot Chrome extension
This Chrome extension is a must-have if you need screenshots of the platform for internal admin training or user help docs.
Chelsea suggests Canva
If you want to tap into your creativity, Canva is your one-stop-shop for posters, charts, logos, presentations, and more! This is an especially helpful tool when crafting documentation and promotions.
Zach suggests Unsplash
Need free, high-resolution images for your platform? Unsplash is the absolute best place to find amazing photos to liven up your calendar.

 

Organization & Scheduling

Mia suggests Calendly
A game changer! Calendly makes scheduling calls effortless by not only synching with Google Calendar to check your availability, but allowing the other party to schedule a call on their own.
Myke suggests Airtable
Think of this as a database or Google Sheet hybrid, where you can build and customize workflows to help your team stay on top of ideas, current projects, and to-do’s.
Eric suggests Notion
This is a workspace where you can create and manage projects, tasks, docs, and more! Notion is the perfect way to empower your team to connect with each other, get organized, and stay on track to meet all of your goals.

🤝 8 Ways to Encourage Community Advocacy 🤝

Here at Localist, our vision is driven by connecting communities through events. While events come in all shapes and sizes, there are events and opportunities that do more than just connect communities–they directly give back to the community. Below we’ve listed a variety of ways you can give these particular events some extra attention:

1. Categorize with a Filter

To start, create a Filter to collect these kinds of events in one convenient location. There’s no one way to label this Filter, so here are some ideas taken directly from customers to get you started: Outreach, Advocacy, Fundraising, Service, Volunteering or any number of combinations of these terms. While a Filter is an excellent start, if you’re looking to further amplify these events and community efforts, keep reading for additional methods!

2. Create a Tab on Your Homepage Channel

The next step up would be to add a tab on your Homepage Channel that is built around the Filter you have added. This prime location will take these events from just being categorized to being officially highlighted. 

3. Sponsoring

Either within your newly created homepage tab, or in your platform’s catch-all “trending” list, you can give community related events a boost in the Trending algorithm to ensure they come out not just on top of the lists, but on the top of your audience’s minds. 

4. Feature Events on the Homepage Channel

If you want to make an even bigger statement than Sponsoring, there’s no better way than featuring them. Your audience will know that these are formally endorsed by your organization, so consider featuring events that are deeply connected to your organization’s values and advocacy goals. 

5. Create a Dedicated Channel

If a Filter and additional Tab aren’t making enough of a statement, then it’s time to create a Channel! Creating a Channel will empower your audience by providing a one-stop-shop for events that have a direct impact on supporting and giving back to the community. For example, instead of just highlighting “trending” or “upcoming” tabs, your Channel can include lists separated by “internal” and “external” opportunities.

6. Register

You can use your platform to help local organizations financially by setting up donations within Localist Register. It’s as simple as adding a donation “ticket” to an event — and as users complete the checkout process they’ll be prompted to donate to the group of your choice.

7. Add a Call-to-Action Button

Does your organization provide community outreach materials, lead fundraising campaigns or work with local organizers and non-profits? Shine a light on other ways to get involved, in addition to attending social events, by adding a call-to-action to connect your community with these resources. 

8. Widgets

Finally, if you have any external web pages dedicated to community initiatives, adding them as events in Localist wouldn’t just mean more folks will learn about them within the platform, but then you have an easy way to display them on the external pages with Widgets.

 

👀 10 Common Questions: Part 3 👀

Have you ever wondered what questions other customers are asking? Wonder no more! We’ve rounded up some of the most asked questions below. 

Missed our other Common Questions? You can check out 1 & 2 here!

Q: How can I create a new tab on my homepage?

A: Your homepage is a Channel, so start by navigating to Content > Channels > select Edit Layout for the Channel in question. Next, select + Add Component > Event List within the already present Event Tabs component. You’ll see an editor appear to the right where you can designate a title and how you’d like to include events in the list, such as by Classification.

Q: How can I securely share Zoom/video chat details for Virtual events?

A: If you want to privately share Virtual event details with only those who will be attending, you can use Localist Register to do so. Not to mention, since Register requires someone to be logged in, this will reduce bots from finding exposed Zoom URL/passwords. 

To accomplish this, you’ll just have to follow the instructions outlined here!

Q: How or where can I submit a feature request?

A: You can submit feature requests directly to the Product Team using our Suggestion Box. As always, the Support Team is happy to provide an alternative solution where possible, but if you’d like your idea to be officially considered, please be sure to complete the form!

Q: Can I refine events in the Admin Dash by a date range?

A: By default, you will see all Live or Pending events in the Admin Dash. However, you now have the ability to refine those events with the following date range options:

  • Custom
  • Next: year, 6 months, 30/14/7 days
  • Last: year, 6 months, 30/14/7 days

Q: Will an event still be linked to a Place Page if it’s Virtual?

A: When an event is marked as Virtual, you can no longer link to a Place Page because it’s being hosted online/virtually — i.e. not at a physical location.

 However, as a heads up, the Virtual feature is not equivalent to a Place in Localist. So Virtual events will not be linked to any location.

Q: What are the recommended proportions for photos in Localist?

A: One thing to keep in mind here is that it’s not always about size when it comes to the effectiveness of photos. Rather, you may want to consider the proportions — a rectangular image will always translate better than a square in Localist. 

We also recommend “the bigger, the better” with your photos, as users can click on them to view the full size. In the same vein, you should avoid text-heavy photos as there are multiple viewpoints your users will be referencing them from. 

Q: I tried adding a Tag to an event, but it was removed after saving? What am I doing wrong?

A: If you take a look at the Additional Details section in the event form, you will see that the text field for Tags and Keywords says, ‘Type a keyword/tag and press Enter’. Just make sure you are hitting enter after you type each Tag and it will save to the event.

Q: Who do I contact to update our SSL certificate?

A: SSL is now self-serve right in the Admin Dashboard, so you no longer have to contact the Localist support team for assistance! You can request a CSR, upload your certificate and secure your Localist platform in one convenient location.

When it’s time to update, you’ll just have to navigate to the Settings > Platform Settings > Domain & Security and then follow the steps outlined in our documentation.

Q: How can I notify attendees of an event’s Status change?

A: If you’re using Register, you can gather a list of attendee’s emails from the View Confirmed Tickets page in the event’s edit form. Then, using our  Promotion tool you can send an email to those folks to let them know the event has been Canceled, Postponed, or Sold Out.

In addition, any users who clicked I’m Interested will get an email reminder the day before the event is set to take place, so they’ll see the status update here as well!

Q: Can I sort by Widget by Trending?

A: Once you’ve generated your Widget URL, you can add &sort=ranking to indicate that the Widget should sort events by the Trending algorithm.

📌 8 Things You Need to Know About Bulletin 📌

Bulletin is an internal tool that allows for creating and managing newsletters, which you can send straight to your users’ inboxes. Below we’ve gathered a list of highlights:

1. Bulletin Admin

You can designate the Bulletin Admin Permission to a few users who you trust to create, manage, and send Campaigns out! It’s recommended that these folks should also be Event Admins so they’ll have access to the events they’re including in Bulletin Campaigns. 

2. Drag and Drop Editor

Similar to Channels, you can design the layout (Campaign Edit page > click Edit Content & Layout in the top bar) of your Campaign by adding components with the simple drag and drop editor. 

3. Event Spotlight

Speaking of components, you can add an Event Spotlight to your Campaign. This will highlight an event with a prominent hero image to make it stand out (think of this as the “Featured” event in your Campaign). 

4. Show Link to All Events

If you add an Event List to your Bulletin, you can specify which events are included using the Editing Component. Here, you’ll see Show Link to All Events (along with a checkbox).

If selected, a “View More Events” link will be displayed at the bottom of the Event List in your Campaign. This is great for driving traffic back to your calendar, as it will link users to the All Events page.

5. Subscribe Widget

Just like a Localist Widget, this tool (Campaign Edit page > click Subscribe Widget in the top bar) provides an embed code that can be placed on any web page, so your audience can opt-in to receiving the Campaign in the future.

6. Copy a Campaign

With Bulletin, you can make a copy of a Campaign by navigating to the Campaign’s Edit page > click Copy in the top bar. This will create an exact replica of the Campaign so feel free to make any edits or changes here, as this will not affect the original version. 

7. Scheduling

In terms of delivery, you have two options:

  • Send Manually: If you go this route, navigate to the Campaign and click Send Now in the top bar each time you’d like the Bulletin to be sent out.
  • Send on a schedule: If you’d like to automate your sends, you can specify a start date & time and repeating schedule.

8. Last Chance Email

If a Campaign is scheduled, Localist will send a notification one hour before to the email address set in this field (on the Campaign Edit page) as a final preview. This email includes a one-click “kill switch” if you’d like to cancel the send. 

Bonus!

1. Digest

Users can get a personalized list of their favorite events sent to their inbox weekly with Digest. This tool ensures that users are engaged with the calendar and stay up-to-date with events that interest them!

🤩 7 New Features You Won’t Want to Miss 🤩

Check out the latest Localist updates below!

1. Event Status

A new setting that marks an event as Canceled, Postponed, or Sold Out. Taking this approach will ensure that your audience is aware of changes in lieu of being left unable to find events on the platform. 

You can accomplish this by navigating to an event in the Admin Dash >  in the Event Details section you can select one of the statuses in the Status drop-down. 

2. Audience Communication

This tool allows you to share information about your events on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and email. Posts can be published immediately or scheduled ahead of time to keep your community engaged in your events.

You can find this tool by navigating to an event in the Admin Dash > in the right sidebar you’ll see an Audience section, which is where you’ll schedule your social media posts.

3. Virtual Events

A new “Experience” setting on events that marks an event as Virtual or In-Person. Virtual events will have a different landing page layout, focusing your audience’s attention on registration, dial-in instructions, or live stream information.

You can apply Virtual details by navigating to an event in the Admin Dash > scroll to the Location section of the form. Here you can select Virtual under the Experience drop-down. 

4. SSL Set-Up/Update

SSL is now self-serve right in the Admin Dashboard! You can now request a CSR, upload your certificate and secure your Localist platform in one convenient location.

If you are designated as your platform’s Main Contact, you will receive a notification 30 days prior to the certificate’s expiration. Then once you’re ready to update SSL, you’ll just have to follow the steps outlined in our documentation!

5. Past Events Widget

You can now have a rolling past events Widget — i.e. “the last 30 days”. For example, once you’ve generated your Widget URL you can replace the days parameter with &days=-30 to indicate that the Widget should pull events from the previous 30 days. 

6. Trending Events Widget

Another new addition to Widgets is the ability to sort by Trending — i.e. the most popular events on your platform! Once you’ve generated your Widget URL, you can add &sort=ranking to indicate that the Widget should sort events by the Trending algorithm.

7. Moderating Spam Comments and Reviews

Localist offers a few moderation levels to help combat spam (you can find these options in the Admin Dash > Settings > Platform Settings > on the Settings page, they will be listed in the User Moderation drop-down): 

  • Send any posts that contain links to the moderation queue → This is the default setting. Anytime a user posts a comment/review with a link or HTML, it will go to the moderation queue for approval.
  • Send all first posts to the moderation queue → When a user posts a comment/review for the first time, it will go to the moderation queue for approval. Once the post has been approved, all future posts from this user will automatically be published.
  • Send all posts to the moderation queue → All comments and reviews will go to the moderation queue for approval.
  • Automatically approve all posts → All comments and reviews will automatically be approved/published to the calendar. 

That said, you can moderate comments and reviews in the Admin Dash by navigating to Users > User Activity.

🤫 4 Ways to Host Private Events 🤫

While Localist is built to promote events, that doesn’t mean you can’t also use your platform for your private event needs. Below we’ve outlined a handful of ways to handle these events:

Within Your Platform…

1. Restricted or Unlisted Event

If you have a one-off private event, you have two options to limit its Visibility in Localist: 

First, you may have events that are only suitable to your internal community, but not for the public. You can accomplish this by setting the event’s Visibility to Restricted > Logged In Users Only. 

Second, if you want a hand selected group of people to have access to the event, you can set its Visibility to Unlisted.  From here, the event will not be listed on the main calendar and will only be accessible if you share the URL..

2. Hidden Channel

Similarly, you can create a ‘hidden’ page within your calendar for private events to live on, which you can customize to have its own look and vibe. You’ll have to set events’ Visibility to Restricted > Channels, then set the Channel’s Visibility to Restricted. Once you’ve done this, you can send the private URL out to select folks so they can interact with private events in a centralized location. 

Outside Your Platform…

3. Restricted Widget

If you have a handful of events that you’d like to showcase on another website (like an intranet), you can set their Visibility to Restricted > Widgets. This means that the events will be hidden from the calendar, and as a result, they will only be accessible on the page that the Widget lives on. 

4. Bulletin

If you’d like to send private events to users’ inboxes, you can accomplish this with our native newsletter tool, Bulletin. You’ll have to set the events’ Visibility to Restricted > Unlisted. Then you can add them to an HTML component on the Content & Layout page of your Bulletin Campaign.