Last Updated on October 7, 2021
It sort of goes without saying that you want people to remember the events you put on. You want them to talk about your firm and your brand for months afterwards; to wait with bated breath for your next convention. Naturally, the best way to do that is to give them exactly what they want.
Now, here’s where things get a little complicated – information and entertainment are only part of the equation.
These days, it’s not necessarily enough for people to go to a conference and passively absorb information, or attend a convention where they wander aimlessly around the show floor.
They want to feel like more than guests. They want to feel like they’re actively participating in the event, as though they’re shaping it in some meaningful way.
See, that’s one of the things social networking’s changed about the events industry. Many guests expect to have an active part in the shows they attend. If they’re forced into a passive role, they’ll leave feeling neglected, unimportant, and ultimately dissatisfied.
None of those are words you want associated with your brand. That’s why today, we’re going to discuss exactly what it takes to get people more invested in your events.
Get Speakers Who Will Host Conversations, Not Presentations
I’ve talked a bit in the past about the importance of a great speaker, and how imperative it is to hire the right people to speak at your conference. In most cases, a good speaker won’t just talk at the audience – they’ll talk with them. They’ll actively invite people to participate in their presentation through Q&A sessions; shaping their content around the crowd.
The reason such speakers are so effective is the same reason educators who engage with their students are so much more memorable – they understand that discussion facilitates learning and interest far better than a simple lecture.
Invite People To Use Their Gadgets
Save for a select few people, these days everyone’s got a phone or tablet – and there’s a good chance they’re all pretty attached to their devices. For that reason, an event in which guests are actively encouraged to pull out their phones will ultimately be more successful than one which doesn’t. It isn’t just a matter of engagement, either – the data gathered from an event app or from a tool like Tweetwall can be invaluable in shaping future events around attendee needs and expectations.
I actually touched on this in my recent piece about event industry trends; more and more event planners are realizing just how awesome mobile tech can make an event for their guests, and are doing a whole lot more to utilize it, as a result.
I was actually at a food and wine event in my city recently that did a masterful job of this. Every attendee was invited to install an app on their phone. That app included a registry of every single vendor present, along with links to product catalogues, reviews, and contact information; there was also a checklist which allowed you to mark down (and assign a value out of five) to each sample you’d tried.
It definitely made for a richer experience, and I’m certainly planning to go back next year.
Social, Social, And More Social
Social media has changed the way consumers and brands interact with one another. Because of how we talk to one another on networks like Facebook or Twitter, we’ve developed the expectation that the people we do business with will connect with us in the same way. When they don’t, we get frustrated; we feel disconnected from them.
For that reason, a good event management professional will understand full well how to leverage social networks for maximum effect – whether it’s by posting updates on Twitter or setting up a Facebook page where people can talk about their experience of the event.
If you want to see an example of all this in action, simply look at the social media presence for a large comic book or video game convention. Since they’re run both for and by relatively tech-savvy people, they actually do a rather masterful job of getting people excited – and involved. They talk to their guests (and noticeably adjust the event based on their input), allow people to upload pictures of themselves in costume (and showcase the best costumes) and generally just make it known that their attendees are of foremost importance.
Ultimately, Just Put Your Guests First
Planning an interesting, engaging event is anything but easy. The results, however, are more than worth it. If you make your attendees feel important – if you show them that they actually do have a part in shaping how your event turns out – then they’ll be far likelier to attend your events in the future.
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In our last series we focused on tips & tricks for an event planner; ways for you to be more successful and make your job easier. The next few weeks we are going to switch our focus to marketing.