Although the term ‘event engagement’ has become widespread in the industry, it still resonates as an essential component to your meeting’s success and its future. Our industry is flooded with engagement methods to leverage DURING the meeting. But, what about building excitement before the meeting even begins?
Or, continuing to keep your content top-of-mind long after the event is over?
Here are 7 ways to engage guests throughout the ENTIRE event journey, from start to finish and beyond.
Before the Event – Build Excitement and Offer Upfront Value
Offer Quizzes To Help Attendees Choose Sessions
Companies like Brand.io allow planners to create branded quizzes that will help guests narrow down the list of session offerings. Very similar to the personality quizzes on Facebook (What is the ideal Europe destination for your type? What type of dog best matches your life?), these types of quizzes can help build an attendee’s schedule by asking how many years they’ve been in the profession, what is their current job responsibilities, where do they want to advance in five years, etc. Whatever the questions, quizzes are a fresh way to lead attendees to event content, sponsors, and speakers.
Introduce Speakers Via Video
Tease education topics and sessions by asking speakers to shoot videos introducing themselves. They can give a brief background of their career or topic, ask the audience a question to mull over before the session, or cue up some topics they will expand on at your event. Space out the videos and release them weekly leading up the event.
Run a Contest Offering a Full Event Scholarship
Not all attendees have the privilege of being fully reimbursed by their companies for registration and travel costs associated with attending your event. Many are solopreneurs serving the industry, consultants or new professionals. Host 1-2 scholarships that offer free registration and market the contest to your local chapters.
Crowdsource Parts of Your Event
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you knew exactly what your guests and attendees wanted out of your event, even before you started brainstorming your own ideas? Imagine the value knowing ahead of time what specifically would resonate with attendees – from sessions, to design, to speakers to technology? Letting attendees vote in advance, then actually implementing their votes into the resulting meeting 100 percent guarantees your event is attendee-centric.
After the Event – Expand Your Impact and Influence
Create Content Marketing Pieces
Chop education content into short, snackable pieces of content and distribute post-event through your social media channels, your event app, event website, and email campaigns. Try writing blog posts or creating fun, fast videos on your event’s high-level topics. This will remind attendees what they learned and help them to retain the information. This will also intrigue non-attendees and entice them to register for your next event.
Produce a Photo and Video Highlight Reel
Attendees love seeing photos of the event, especially if they’re in them! Compile a video and photo highlight reel of the event experience. Don’t just include images from your event photographer. Scrape the photos that were posted by participants themselves using the conference hashtag. Post the reel to your website, social media channels and in post-event email communication.
To keep the fun really going, offer a photo sharing space within your event app or website so attendees can drop in their own images.
Review Top Hashtag Moments
Hashtags are a boon for engagement during the event. They are also a goldmine of attendee insight that you can leverage to extend your event’s impact. Similar to the photo and video reel, comb through all the posts using your event hashtag, then compile the best posts that showcased the event experience and the event content. Look for Tweetable and Instagrammable moments — short, quippy sentences that summarize the content being discussed. Create a title, such as Top 20 Tweeted Moments at ABC Conference 2019, post to your event blog or upload a post to Linkedin.
From crowdsourcing ideas to summarizing the event in photos and videos, there are plenty of methods to increase audience engagement both before and after your event. It’s possible to build momentum leading up to the meeting and to continue it long after the last session. In the end, it’s all about connecting with your attendees and holding on to their attention. For more game-changing ideas to elevating your next event, check out the Hokie Playbook for Maximizing Meeting Success.