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Growing Events Through Partnerships [Podcast]

Xavier Jackson is the Founder of Local Art Plug. He has hosted many arts and technology showcases as well as networking events for creatives in Omaha, Nebraska. In this episode, Xavier shares his background as well as ways to successfully promote events in Facebook groups and the secret to great event names.

Learn more about Local Art Plug: https://localartplug.com/

The Event Promoter Podcast shares stories and tips that help our industry bring communities together through events.
Our guests are event promoters, talent, organizers, and industry professionals working to bring people together through entertainment, art, business, and experiences.

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Episode Summary

Craig Heron and Xavier Jackson discuss the importance of events in bringing communities together and the various ways that Xavier promotes events through his company, Local Art Plug. 

Xavier explains that they host large scale art exhibitions and events focused on new technologies and advancements in the art world, as well as smaller, more informal events like “Creatives and Coffees.” 

Craig appreciates Xavier’s creativity and scrappiness in coming up with and testing event ideas. They also discuss the importance of using Facebook groups and approaching partners to promote events.

Why are events important?

Xavier says that events are important because they give people an opportunity to explore something new and get out of their comfort zone. They also provide an opportunity for people to meet and collaborate with others from different walks of life that they may not have met in any other setting. Xavier emphasizes that the main focus of events is to bring the community together and bring people together around a common idea or goal. 

What was Xavier's first event?

Xavier discussed his background in promoting events, starting with a group exhibition in 2019 for his company, Local Art Plug. Prior to this, Xavier had experience throwing parties in high school and learned how to organize people and get the word out about events. 

He emphasized the importance of making events memorable and enjoyable for everyone involved, and shared that he learned to adapt to different scenarios and just have a good time regardless of the turnout. 

Craig also mentioned that many people in the event space have a background in promoting parties or acting as “group moms” who chaperon groups of friends to events and experiences.

What was Xavier's favorite event?

Xavier say his favorite event to work on was an annual conference called Mobile Me and You that he helped organize in college. He also talks about the informal event “Creatives and Coffees” that has had great reception, and an event called “Plugged In” focused on NFT and Web3 companies, which was successful and looks to be an annual event.

Xavier emphasizes the importance of networking and using personal connections to get big players involved in events and mentions that the “Mobile Me and You” conference required a lot of cold calling.

He also touches on the importance of low overhead and spontaneous ideas for events.

What was something crazy that has happened as an event organizer?

Xavier shares about an event called “Breathe,” which featuredBIPOC artists but the artists waited until just days before the event to drop off their artwork. 

He explains that the artists all showed up with their artwork at the last minute, causing some stress and uncertainty for the event organizers. 

Xavier emphasizes the importance of being prepared for the unexpected and being able to go with the flow when promoting events.

Which is harder: organizing or promoting?

According to Xavier, organizing large scale events can be more difficult than promoting them, especially when the team is small. Coordinating with partners and getting all the logistics in place can be a headache and almost a full-time job.

Promotion, on the other hand, can be time-consuming but involves simply copying and pasting the event title and information on social media and in Facebook groups.

However, both tasks can be full-time jobs and become second nature with experience.

What makes a great event title?

Xavier believes that the title of an event is an important factor in promoting the event. A good event title should be catchy, easy to remember, and able to grab people’s attention. Alliteration and tongue-rolling names can be effective, as well as bold and standout titles.

How to promote events using Facebook groups?

Xavier discusses his strategies for promoting events, specifically mentioning their success with using Facebook groups.

He explain that he often become an admin of the group because of the value posting his events brings, and they make sure to tailor the content to be relevant to the group.

He also emphasizes the importance of having a catchy title and avoiding spamming the group with self-promotional content. Instead, they try to focus on promoting events that will be beneficial to the members of the group. They’ve had success with posting in multiple groups to increase the reach and visibility of their events. Overall, Facebook groups seem to be a key part of their promotion strategy.

What other cool events do you like in Omaha?

Xavier said that Skate Fest Omaha and Culture House are both organizations that put on cool events in Omaha. He mentioned that Culture House has weekly open mics and Nona (North Omaha Music Association) has a jam session every Tuesday.

Xavier also mentioned that Benson First Fridays (BFF) are an all-night monthly event in which art galleries and bars in a certain section of town host local artists and musicians.

Advice for people just getting into events:

Xavier advises those interested in the events industry to focus on what they can do within their current means and to not try to overextend themselves. He suggests finding ways to bring their vision to life for free or for very little money, such as partnering with local businesses or organizations, and not being afraid to ask for partnerships. He also mentions the importance of being flexible and prepared for the unexpected.

Xavier advises not to be afraid to ask for partnerships and to not be discouraged by a potential no, as it may just mean not right now. He emphasizes the importance of adding value and not being afraid to take risks.

Learn more about Local Art Plug: https://localartplug.com/

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