1. Use a social wall. Projecting a live-stream of your event’s hashtag on large screens throughout your venue will encourage attendees to share more. This will not only keep them engaged with your event’s content, but will also extend the reach of your event far beyond your in-person audience.
2. Listen to what people are saying online. Encouraging people to actively participate in conversations on social media will also allow you to see what people are saying about your event as your event is happening. If someone is unhappy with something about your event and tweets about it, you’ll be able to respond in real time and turn a potentially unhappy customer into one who feels valued.
3. Create networking opportunities. There are two broad reasons people are compelled to attend an event: to learn from speakers and to network with peers. Block out time during your event to facilitate sessions where your attendees feel comfortable networking with each other. Your speakers, of course, are industry pros—but attendees also want to learn from their peers.
4. Create an event app. Having an event app will make life easier for both you and your attendees. Include a venue map, information about the area surrounding your venue, an event calendar, and information about other attendees. You can also include more interactive features, like gamification, which will encourage your attendees to engage with your event more by providing them with a certain number of points by completing different activities (like attending event sessions or exchanging contact info with other attendees).
5. Take advantage of live-streaming. Using applications like Facebook Live can help you engage both your in-person and virtual attendees. But don’t just resort to live-streaming the in-event activations or speaking sessions that your attendees can already see—go behind the scenes and create content to which even those in attendance wouldn’t otherwise have access. A short, one-on-one interview with keynote speakers, for example, is something you could live stream that would be interesting for both in-person and virtual attendees.
6. Use NFC or RFID-enabled badges. There are a lot of use cases for RFID and NFC-enabled tech, and you can get creative in order to develop a customized use case for your event. For example, NFC or RFID badges can be used for everything from streamlining check-in to allowing attendees to download a piece of content to their phone. For more information about the differences between NFC and RFID and their potential uses cases, check out this blog post.
7. Set your speakers up for success. When you hire a keynote or session speaker, make sure you follow up with them as the event approaches to ensure that their content will be catered to your audience. This is when certain pre-event engagement tactics can be useful. If you crowdsource questions for session speakers before your event, for example, or ask pointed questions on your registration form, you can use that information to give your speakers an idea of what attendees are hoping to learn.
8. Use music between session to keep energy levels up. Event schedules are hectic, so making an effort to keep energy levels high among attendees is important. Put some thought into your playlist and come up with something that is appropriate, energizing, and a little bit alternative. You don’t want terrible music—but you also don’t want to simply play the songs from iTunes’ top 100 list that everyone is tired of hearing.
9. Provide charging stations. Yes—sometimes, attendees might become distracted by their phone, tablet or computer. But if you’re leveraging these technologies in the right way, they can also serve as tools that will allow attendees to engage and participate more with your event. If you’re using an event app, for example, or if you’re encouraging attendees to live tweet or exchange contact information, you’ll want the devices that allow attendees to do this to be charged. Whether you rent charging stations or host your event at a venue that already has a lot of outlets in place, make sure you make it easy for attendees to plug in.
10. Give attendees a mental break. Not everything has to be focused on your event’s content, and attendees often use an event’s built-in breaks into to catch up on email or check in with their co-workers. Attendees will, of course, need to check in with their lives beyond the event—but you should make an effort to specifically schedule entertainment during your event that will allow attendees to unwind and simultaneously keep them from immersing themselves in their phones. Event schedules are often hectic, so scheduling some time for your attendees to unwind will likely leave them feeling refreshed.
Do you want more tips about how to engage with attendees before, during and after events? Watch our webinar, The Connected Experience, during which Event Farm COO, Brennan McReynolds, will cover how you can use data and event technology to create a connected experience before, during and after events. You'll learn:
- How human behavior impacts attendee expectations
- The Experience and data points event tech enables you to capture
- Data collection opportunities at different points int he attendee journey
- Using the principle of reciprocity—giving back to attendees who engage
- ... and much more.
Event pros, what are your go-to in-event engagement tactics? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us @eventfarm.