Twenty years ago, phones and events didn’t mix. Communicating your whereabouts in a busy venue, or finding that really important email on the go? Near impossible. If you wanted to document your event you had to hire a photographer. It could take days to get the photos back.
Ten years ago on January 9, 2007, Steve Jobs introduced the world to the iPhone. We may not have known it at the time but the smartphone has changed how events are both organised and engaged with forevermore. It opened up a world of opportunity for brands to place themselves in front of their target market pre, during and post live experiences.
Today attendees have multiple touch points with their phones at events. From registration, to check in, to sharing, their phone is their go to place for convenience, marketing and even disconnecting. From an event management point of view, it allowed for streamlined planning and coordination of events.
Buffer conducted a study of more than 25 million social media posts sent by organizers and attendees of 50 of the most popular events over a full calendar year. The results showed that nearly as many people are talking about an event before the event as they are during. The sentiment of these posts were mainly based on anticipation and FOMO which reinforces the need for a pre-event social media plan to capitalise on this user generated excitement. A prime time to engage both potential attendees and those who’ve registered.
Verve’s top tips for engaging an audience pre-event
Register online – Make it easy for people to sign up. It shouldn’t be tiresome. Quick & Simple is the way to go. An integration between Facebook and Eventbrite already allows fans to buy tickets to live shows on Facebook Events pages. This is just one of many options to improve user experience.
Use an email strategy – You’ve captured user data, so put it to work with an email campaign pre-event to introduce offers, tease announcements, and provide functional information. Make sure your lists are clean and GDPR compliant though.
Reveal speakers/line-up in a creative way – Use teaser videos, drip-feed information, raise the anticipation levels and get people excited!
Engage the FOMO’s – People with Fear Of Missing Out are a prime audience. Release competitions to win tickets. This will ease their fear but also create some fantastic online engagement for the brand.
Share behind the scenes footage – A little bit of insight goes a long way. Marathon runners training, musicians practicing their set, concert goers choosing their favourite outfit. Quite often it is the event or experience at the weekend that get people through the working week. Engage them during that week…
2. Event is Live – What do we do?
You’ve made it. The event has kicked off and you are in full swing. What digital tools will help your overall experience…
Check-in – Zkipster is great for handling all registration and check-in mechanics on a dedicated smartphone app. Make it seamless and automated if possible. If the registration process is done correctly, this part will be easy. It allows the queues to move fastly and keeps attendees happy. Zkipster has a really handy tool that sends hosts a push notification when certain guests arrive, allowing the host to go greet and welcome them instantly.
Share Live Experiences – Create live content for social. Instagram and Snapchat stories tend to work well in our experience. It allows the event to be amplified to a larger audience, creating a conversation beyond the walls of the live location. Depending on connectivity, brands can also go live, broadcasting the event as it happens to their social feed.
Augmented Reality – Create some 3rd space experiences. Brings things to life. Have some fun. Basically create memorable experiences. People will leave feeling a little bit better than before.
Interact with your audience using questions and polls – We tend that find that the audience can sometimes be shy to raise their hand for questions. Everyone has a smartphone, so why not put them to use as a tool to allow people to engage with speakers. Polls can be easily created and questions can be asked using the event hashtag. We’ve found slid.do to be a really simple and elegant solution to achieve this. Social Media offers a great tool for engaging the audience, allowing ease of interaction. Twitter tends to work best combined with tools like ZOOMPH that allow you to create twitter based polls and collages.
3. It’s over (but it’s not really over)
Press Release – Buffer reports that the largest portion of this after-event conversation was media coverage of events (9% of total posts). It is a good idea to hire a PR firm to have a Press Release ready to go the morning after the event. Even better if journalists have attended the event too. People will see the stories on their newsfeeds over the following couple of days.
Make a video – Let attendees and FOMO’s relive the madness on their phones in the few days post the big day.
Ask for feedback – The post event conversation is divided between positive and negative feedback. Make the most of the good ones but don’t ignore the bad ones.