For those of you who have organized an event, you know how much time and effort goes into creating one that people buzz about. The number one goal is to make sure your attendees have a memorable experience that they tell their friends about. In order to stir up this kind of hype, you’ll need a killer event strategy. To make things a little easier for you, we’ve created our own list of the top nine ways to boost engagement at your event.
1. Know your attendees
Your event will likely be targeted towards a certain demographic of people. Researching your audience prior to your event is a great way to drill down and prepare. It will help the overall execution so you can make it fun and memorable.
Engage with influencers as well. Stay active on social media. Influencers can be anyone from Instagram celebrities to event industry professionals. Before and during the event, do everything you can to connect with them. Influencers have a wide and powerful reach. One conversation can spark a larger conversation that can incorporate hundreds of other attendees.
2. Publish related blog posts
An easy and affordable way to create pre-event buzz is to blog about it. Your company’s blog is a superb way to kickstart audience engagement. You can include critical event information, such as the location, keynote speakers and after-parties.
But more importantly, get people excited! Inspire, educate and motivate people to want to come to the event. After you’ve drawn your readers in, don’t forget to link the event registration at the bottom of the post. You can increase your company’s web traffic while also driving attendance. It’s a win-win!
3. Expose your event everywhere you can
Use every resource that you possibly can to increase event traffic. A clever (and free) way of doing this is to add a banner to your homepage or resources page that directly links visitors to register. Don’t forget to update all of your social media profiles too. Add the event URL to your company bio, that way while people are retweeting and liking your posts, they can also sign up for your awesome event!
To add more fuel to the pre-event buzz, create a unique hashtag for your event. The first step is to come up with as many ideas as you can. After you’ve created a solid list, run them by your co-workers for a quick sniff test. The best hashtags are memorable, while still being relevant to your company or event.
You want to avoid people misinterpreting your hashtag. Ask yourself, “Does my hashtag read well to my audience?” If not, it could be too long or not clear enough. Keep your hashtag short and memorable, and include keywords that are relatable to your business.
Once you’ve landed an amazing hashtag, don’t get too excited and overuse it. Only add it to places that actually make sense, like on your event-driven posts. It’s also a good idea to search for your hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You want one that’s unique, or else it can get lost in the sea of hashtags. If a business has already gained a lot of traction with it, it might be time to start over and rethink it.
If you’re having trouble deciding on a hashtag that meets all these requirements, there’s an app for that! There are a bunch of generators online that you can use for inspiration. All Hashtag, Hashtag Generator and RiteTag are just a few.
5. Engage with relevant online groups
If you’re looking for a more personal interaction with your audience, try having a conversation with them in an informal setting. Facebook and LinkedIn are great for finding targeted groups of people, but you can even take it a step further with Reddit and Quora.
Incorporating Reddit into your promotional routine may not be a typical strategy, but it can produce some great results. Commonly known for social news aggregation and online discussion boards, Reddit’s content is divided into numerous categories. Whether you need event advice or are looking for another platform to post your blog, you can tailor Reddit to your needs.
Quora is a question-and-answer site where you can connect with knowledgeable people that have a slew of perspectives on a variety of topics. All of the questions are answered and edited by its community of users. Out of curiosity, we searched “Event Planning” and here’s what we saw:
Similar to Reddit, Quora can help alleviate some of the event planning stress while also acting as a tool to connect you with industry experts that are interested in events like yours.
6. Use platforms to build connections
When we refer to platforms, we’re talking about any tools or technology you can use to influence the engagement levels during your event.
We talked a lot about hashtags, and Tweetcast is an app that lets you enjoy and share your favorite Tweets from the hashtags you follow. It also allows you to explore what other users have favorited in the hashtags you’re interested in.
Besides Tweetcast, there are many other mobile event options. Apps like doubledutch and Eventbase turn passive attendees into active participants. Depending on what you’re looking for from an event app, we’re sure you’ll find one that meshes with your event needs!
7. Create a Geofilter
Snapchat may not be the first on your list when you think about social media for event marketing. But this little ghost man (aka Ghostface Chillah) isn’t a force to be reckoned with. According to Eventbrite, Snapchat is the most popular social network at music festivals and other large-scale events.
Your attendees are an important component to marketing your event using Live Stories. With location-specific overlays, attendees can use relevant Geofilter templates while taking selfies and event pics. You can create your own Geofilters or use one of Snapchat’s pre-built templates if you’re not a design wizard
Beyond growing stronger inter-user connections and spreading event engagement, a Geofilter has the capability to increase a company’s ticket sales from people sitting at home with major FOMO (fear of missing out).
8. Reward the most active social media users
Nothing gets people more engaged like a good contest. Host a competition for the most social shares. For the attendees that go above and beyond, have some sort of rewards system in place for their social media contributions. Be interactive with your attendees and keep them constantly engaged. When running a competition, provide a large screen that projects a real-time social stream. Not only will the social wall display the progress of the competition, but it will also encourage more of the audience to participate.
9. Up your game on your booth designs
With potentially hundreds of booths at any given event, drawing people to yours is crucial. Stick with a theme that’s intriguing. Our advice: dominate the booth competitions by giving away a slice of your product or service. Hand out promotional items that aim for maximum impact. Games are also a fun and collaborative way to increase interest. Attend recently published a blog post about twelve trade show booth games that’ll generate event buzz – definitely worth the read!
Need some booth inspiration? We’ve got your answer. Check out some of the most eye-catching booths. Just remember that booths can be expensive, so if you’re looking to save your marketing dollars you may need to look at other options.
Your next event will be epic
There are plenty of ways you can increase audience engagement. With these tips, you’ll be on your way to creating a legendary event. From blogs to game-changing booth designs, implementing just one or two of our suggestions can dramatically impact the success of your event. So have fun, be creative and become the event guru that you’ve always wanted to be!