ENGAGE WITH ATTENDEES PRIOR TO THE EVENT
Events are meant to promote networking, and networking does not begin on the day of the event itself. In order to get your attendees excited about the event and also to create new content for the same, you need to engage with them prior to the event, and this is how you go about it:
Blog posts are rich in content and they largely influence the way your event is perceived by your audience. By creating good quality blog content, you can not only engage with existing attendees, but also expand your reach to other potential attendees. Resort to platforms like LinkedIn, apart from your own website, to put forth your event and your views in front of thousands of other professionals in your niche. You could also request your speakers and partners to write guest posts so as to give your audience a little glimpse of what they’re up for in the event.
It’s really surprising how much can be achieved with a string of 140 characters. Tweet-chatting is a live event that one can host on his Twitter account, encouraging followers to participate in a discussion on a certain topic using an assigned hashtag. Choose any topic relevant to your industry and make sure it’s something that calls for discussion and is not mundane, create a suitable hashtag, schedule a tweet-chat and ask your speakers and other professionals from the industry to join in.
While we’re on the subject of Twitter, here’s another amazing feature that Twitter launched quite recently, namely Twitter Polls. Users can now post a question with two choices for answers and ask followers to vote. As an event presenter, you can ask your audience engaging questions that vest in them a certain power of deciding what goes in the event and what stays out. For example, ask them to choose between two cuisines, and say that the winner cuisine will be served at the event. You could also ask them to choose between two topics, themes, or even guest speakers. This will ensure that they feel more connected to your event.
This is a really cool way to connect with your attendees before the event and give them a feel of what the event will be all about. Bring in your keynote speakers, plug in a webcam, create a YouTube account and, using the ‘Hangout on Air’ feature, you can instantly start broadcasting live. On enabling live chat, you’ll be able to interact with your viewers who would ask questions and make comments that can be moderated in real time. The best part is – you can wear PJs while you’re at it and it won’t even be unprofessional!
As I pointed out in the introductory sentence of this post, networking is what people seek when they attend events. So, give your attendees a chance to network before the event through online conferences. You could use apps like Presdo Match that have networking functions, allowing attendees to connect with each other.
Competitions and prizes turn every mature adult into an excited child, so what better way to get your audience geared up for the event than hosting an online contest? Facebook competitions are very easy to organize, and you can always give away event merchandise, free tickets, free sessions with the keynote, an overnight stay at a good hotel and other cool goodies as prizes. Using Gleam, you can host a competition and give incentives to the participants on the basis of likes and shares. Also, you’ll be able to grow your databases by capturing their email addresses.
The best way to get noticed is by being different. And different certainly equals silly in many cases. Instead of sticking to tried and tested methods, come up with fun competitions and campaigns where you prompt your attendees to upload funny pictures to earn a discount on the tickets, or a free goodie. Create a crisp hashtag for this campaign so that it’s easy to follow the activities, and by the end of it, you can also put them all together to display on your page.
Presenters work really hard to make an event happen, so placing its fate in the hands of the one day that the event is on is a huge risk. Your chances of having a successful event depend largely on the build-up, too. So, make sure you direct your efforts into these pre-event engagement techniques to increase your chances of making your event a memorable one.