Successfully engaging an audience increases participation, improves learning and heightens satisfaction. Engaged audiences share their experience on social media. They become your brand ambassadors. They create buzz and build referrals and interest for future events.
But how do you do that? Read on for our favourite audience engagement strategies:
Set the Scene
If your event marketing is effective and registrations are ticking along nicely then attendee numbers are growing. Now’s the time to launch a clever pre-event engagement campaign to create interest and build anticipation for the event.
- Host an online community to connect delegates, speakers and exhibitors. You’ll be creating opportunities for pre-conference relationship building and find out what’s important to your audience. A private LinkedIn group is perfect for this.
- Use email automations to deliver a content series answering questions about the conference and sharing stories from your speakers, or giving a behind-the-scenes peek at how the event is coming together.
- Create a social media content strategy for the months leading up to the conference that reinforces and extends the email series.
- Make it easy for people to share about the event on social media. Create a custom event hashtag and communicate about it often, then ask people to use post with it during the event. Offer creative posting ideas to get them started.
Keep Them Guessing
Engagement starts with choosing the right speakers and making sure the room is comfortable but it shouldn’t end there. Including the unexpected boosts interaction, participation and energy.
- Instead of waiting for the traditional hand-held mic to be passed around the audience, use one of the new soft, throwable versions to move things along faster, get more people asking questions and add some fun.
- Use live Q&A and polling to gather audience opinions and share in real-time. Making people feel valued and included in the discussion increases motivation to participate.
- Mobile event apps allow attendees to plan their own unique conference experience. Invest in a good one that can build agendas, find answers to FAQs, and send out session alerts.
Stay Top of Mind
After the event is the perfect time to strengthen the relationship with the people who did attend and those who didn’t. By continuing to engage post-event, you’re creating a picture of what they missed and encouraging attendance next time.
- Send an event summary via email and include quotes and photos to make it interesting. Also include any promised speaker slides or other content.
- Continue sharing photos and videos from the event on social media.
- Send a post-event survey and ask for feedback.
- Host a Facebook live Q & A session to answer questions from the event.
- Continue interacting in the online community.
Today’s conference delegates don’t just want to be educated and entertained; they want to feel important, be inspired and stirred emotionally.
Audience engagement means something different to everyone but no matter the individual definition, one thing that’s certain is its importance in building a successful conference; one that keeps people coming back year after year.