Conferences, expos, and other events take time and money to produce. Naturally, any event management team wants to ensure they’re getting a great ROI for their efforts; one of the essential steps in doing so is increasing event engagement. Getting people to attend your event is one thing; making sure they’re interested, participating, and talking about it later is on the next level.
If you’re focused on increasing your event engagement this year, here are nine ways to help you do it.
Invite Everyone to Play-Along
Social media interactions are one way to get people involved, but you can gamify the event itself.
- Individual exhibitors and presenters can offer an entry to their product- or service-specific giveaways when someone visits the exhibit or completes a certain task (like trying a product or checking in on social media).
- Create a passport and have your attendees collect stamps from certain exhibitors. Filling the passport is worth a prize or an entry into the giveaway.
- Hide something in the exhibition hall or with a certain presenter. Anyone who finds it and takes a photo with it, for example, wins a prize or another entry.
There’s an App for This, Too
People spend a lot of time on their smartphones and other devices every day. A mobile app gives them a way to easily connect with you; it’s something they can access when they’re specifically looking for information about directions, parking, and schedules, and they may browse through it to pass time while waiting in a queue. Maps and schedules are only the beginning: your app can include registration, updates, videos, and push notifications to keep your audience informed. You can also integrate your social media streams. Speaking of which:
Create FOMO on Social Media
Social networking sites account for about 30 percent of the time we spend online. People have more profiles on more platforms than they did even just a few years ago. Your event should have its own page or group that becomes Event Central: followers can expect regular updates, presenter spotlights, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and an easy place to have their questions answered—keep your followers coming back and encourage people to attend to event because they have a fear of missing out (FOMO). Social media also provides a good platform on which to run a contest or giveaway. Give extra entries for followers who like, comment on, or share your posts. The key is to communicate: monitor follower comments so you can respond as soon as possible. Encourage conversation by participating yourself.
Throughout the event, your social media pages should be updated constantly. Those who decided not to attend should be following along and wishing they were there. Create an event-specific hashtag and use it consistently, not only online when talking about the event, but also on any printed materials, you use for promotion. You should monitor that hashtag before, during, and after the event to see what participants think. Summarize key moments in tweet-ready formats to make it easy for attendees to quote and share.
Everybody’s Got an Opinion—So Ask for It!
Get real-time feedback via a live poll of your audience. This can happen during a presentation or online via your app or social media. There is no limit to the questions you could ask, and they don’t necessarily have to be especially difficult or thought-provoking, depending upon the type of event and the audience; in many cases, the simpler they are to answer, the more likely people will do it. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking in that direction:
- Who was your favourite speaker?
- Was A, B, or C your favourite quote from the keynote address?
- Are you planning to take what you learned during the break-out session and apply it during your next workday?
- How many exhibitors did you visit?
- Where did you have lunch during the break?
Lights, Camera, Action: Go Behind the Scenes with Video
According to HubSpot, 75 percent of millennials watch videos on social media every day; 64 percent of consumers say a video has influenced their purchasing decisions. That could include their decision to attend your event. Videos encourage discussion and sharing, and can help create an interactive aspect to your event before it even begins. During the event, live videos and more behind-the-scenes takes can pique curiosity and, of course, more sharing.
Reward Good Behavior with Discounts
By incorporating promocodes for people who have registered, you encourage them to share information about the event for you. For example, a registrant gets a promo code offering 10 percent off the registration price for anyone who signs up using that code. If a certain number of people sign up using the code, the registrant gets a discount, VIP access, or another perk. Social sharing is a great way to spread the word to people you might not have reached otherwise.
This is the era of the selfie, after all: people take about one million of them every day (millennials may each take more than 25,000 selfies in their lifetime). A fun photo booth encourages them to take and post pictures, and you can brand the booth to promote your event.
Virtual Goody Bags for the Win
Swag like pens and hats don’t always go to good use: they get lost or thrown away. A virtual bag can feature offers from your presenters and sponsors, which gives them more exposure, and it limits waste. It also gives your attendees a place to keep track of any discounts or other offers they intend to use.
Take Constructive Criticism
People appreciate knowing their opinion is valued, and many will take the time to answer a few survey questions when your event is over. Get feedback from attendees, vendors, and presenters and use it to make your next event bigger and better.
Learn More About Event Engagement
The Event Production Company specializes in event management: exhibitions, corporate functions, live events, conferences, and more, and we would love to help you produce a successful event with incredible participant engagement this year. Please contact us if you have any questions about event engagement and for all your event planning needs in 2019.