Most of you will have attended one or more business events at some point. Be it a generic networking event, a trade show or even a business dinner, events can be used to create lots of engagement.
Picture the scene, a room full of people, all with a smartphone in their pockets and wanting to get involved.
Here are 4 ways to create engagement at business events, from an organisational viewpoint.
1. Social Media
Perhaps an obvious one, but social media is key to creating engagement around events. Social media posts can be sent out before, during and after the event. This means there can be a build up to drum up interest. Simple things such as asking who will be attending or sending out invites to the specific event raise awareness. An official event #hashtag is a must! During the event, live posting key updates will often create a buzz for people to interact with, even if they are not at the venue. Imagery of a busy room or a popular stand at an expo will also spike engagement. After the event, social media can be used to to garner feedback of how it went, usually by posting a link to a quick survey or simply asking for comments.
Most events have one or more speakers talking about a variety of different subjects. Sadly many pof these are less than inspiring and often simply a straight sales pitch,. few create real engagement with the audience. A good presentation aims to tell a story. It’s fine to big yourself up. Naturally this is likely to happen when demonstrating how you can help your target audience. However, a presentation should captivate the audience and give them something to either relate to or engage with, rather than simply be a sales pitch. I can thoroughl;y recommend TED Talks for good, engaging presentation ideas.
3. Visual Media
Coming more to the fore recently is visual media. At an event, being able to show people who aren’t there what they are missing is a great thing to do. They may be persuaded to come to a similar event in the future. Periscope (more info here), is a tool that allows anyone with a smartphone to live stream what’s going on. For example, a key part of the event could be streamed so that anyone can view it, raising exposure. On top of this, the original live stream can be saved and re used afterwards as a resource.
4. Direct Audience Participation
Using techniques that make the audience do something, are often a useful way of getting them involved and interested. Things such as voting on a question with a show of hands, carrying out a rough survey with yes or no cards or any other use of props, all get the audience to give their opinion and will in turn lead to a discussion. Prize draws are also a good way to get attendees involved, as free things always gain attention!
The long and short of it…
Whatever your choose to do at an event, make it interesting and utilise the tools at your disposal. You don’t have to over complicate things. Instead, by making the audience feel involved and making noise on all appropriate platforms, you will end up with a better event and significantly more engagement with your market place.