When it comes to building attendee engagement, technology is often cited as the answer. Social media, mobile, email, appointment matching—technology plays its role, as a facilitator of conversations, participation, and engagement.
In order to encourage attendees’ involvement in, commitment to, and satisfaction with your event, technology-enabled tools can amplify your efforts, but it’s important to remember that these methods are not going to miraculously and suddenly turn your attendees into a highly engaged audience–it’s how you use the tools and how you respond to the feedback you get from your attendees that will make all the difference in the success or failure of your event.
Here are five powerful tools that can facilitate engagement at your event:
Convenient online event registration captures registrant details and preferences, which can lead to personalized, engaging interactions between attendees and event organizers. Being able to gather a wealth of information about what people are hoping to gain from an event means event managers can use those facts to figure out how best to engage participants. Streamlining event offerings to match common goals of registrants will have people feeling that their needs were acknowledged and addressed, and once you deliver on the promise, making them believe that the time they spent at your meeting was certainly worth the effort.
There won’t be a person at your event who isn’t mobile in some way, be it through a smartphone or tablet. Business people are rarely off the grid and event managers can use this to their advantage to enhance engagement and their attendees’ commitment to the event. A mobile-friendly event can offer instant access to activities, agendas, news, and updates while also facilitating interactions between attendees via social media feeds and online discussion groups. To stay informed about how an event is going, real-time polling can help organizers gather information about what is or is not working at the event.
Twitter cliques are powerful and vocal. Facebook pages are chatty, chummy, and interactive. Social media is a major jumping-off point for participation, interaction, and collaboration with attendees before, during, and after an event. Event organizers are working to build an event community before a gathering even occurs by providing details about planning updates, scheduling information, special sessions, and more. Social media facilitates engagement between and among participants throughout the entire life of an event.
Email is far from going the way of the dinosaur, yet it’s often overlooked in efforts to enhance attendee engagement. Some estimates show that people spend almost 20 percent of their time online using email – that means it’s the most popular internet activity alongside search engine usage. Email marketing is an incredibly relevant tool that truly allows organizers to take their large number of attendees and make each email interaction with them personalized and customized based on their preferences. Email is efficient, effective, and engaging when used as more than just a mass-communication tool.
Pre-scheduled appointments are the hot commodity in today’s events, and event managers are using appointment matching technology to analyze attendee preferences and intelligently connect like-minded participants with each other at their gathering. Appointment matching facilitates logical, meaningful, and – ideally – fruitful interactions between event participants.
The Bottom Line in Technology and Event Engagement
As long as event managers keep in mind that technology doesn’t equal engagement but, rather, that technology is a facilitator of engagement, an event can go above and beyond any attendee’s expectations. Technology allows event organizers to: gather preferences before an event to build a better event; communicate event details and updates to make an attendee’s experience free from frustration or empty time; and find out whether or not attendees were satisfied with an event.
It’s not the technology tools that are going to create an extremely engaged audience – it’s how event managers use the tools to their advantage. Learn more in the newest Certain White Paper: Attendee Engagement in a Value-Driven Era.