You’d think that event attendees would be completely immersed in the shenanigans going on around them…
But attention spans are short and social media is full of cute kittens and delicious food. Oh, and did you hear what Trump just tweeted?
Anyway…where were we?
Oh yeah, ways to increase event engagement.
If you want people to stay focused, you need a few solid audience engagement strategies in place.
In this guide, we’ll cover 18 tips for increasing audience engagement that you can mix and match as you please. Use all of them before, during, and after the event for maximum impact.
Ready, set, engage!
How to increase audience participation before an event
It’s important to engage with your audience before the event. It’ll help you sell more tickets. Active audience participation in the run-up to the event will be a great addition to your marketing.
1. Publish blog posts
Blog about everything that has to do with your event, including the venue, the speakers, the entertainment, the food, and so on. Link to your blog from your event landing page to boost traffic.
Tip: Use this guide on how to create an event blog and create a buzz around your event.
2. Create an event hashtag
Create an event hashtag and encourage everyone to use it when they tweet, comment, or post about your event. It will keep all social media posts in one space for everyone to see.
Tip: This guide explains how to create the ideal event hashtag that is easy to remember.
3. Design a table and seating plan
Look at the floor plan for the venue and think about where people will stand and sit. Design it in a way that encourages conversation, networking, and engagement with the event programme.
Tip: Read this article on how to design a table and seating plan that encourages interaction.
4. Leverage influencers online
Team up with an influencer in your industry who can help you reach more people prior to the event. Even better, invite them along to the event so they update their following live and direct.
Tip: Find influencers in your niche using different influencer marketing tools.
5. Book compelling speakers or performers
All conferences need good speakers that the attendees will love. But even if your event is not traditionally set up for live performances, a few good acts can spice things up.
Tip: There are booking websites for keynote speakers to use for your event.
6. Know your audience
The more you know about your attendees, the better you’ll be able to create an engaging event programme that encourages audience participation. Don’t leave anything to chance.
Tip: We’ve put together a guide that explains how to understand your target audience better.
7. Run a giveaway contest
Social media giveaways a great way to spread awareness and sell tickets. Not only that, but they also allow your audience to contribute user-generated media prior to your event.
Tip: Read our guide on how to run social media ticket giveaways for inspiration.
8. Research audience engagement tools
There are a number of apps that will assist you with live polling, sharing media, and gaining audience insights during the event. Find out which ones could benefit you the most.
Tip: Here is a list of 11 audience participation tools you should consider using.
How to increase audience participation during an event
During the event, you have the attendees where you want them. Let’s look at how to engage attendees at an event to keep everyone’s eyeballs on the action.
1. Make it entertaining or informative
The number one rule in content marketing is that it has to be fun or interesting…or both. The same goes for your event content. Make sure that you grab and maintain people’s attention.
Tip: This guide explains how to make a serious event more fun (just don’t use it for funerals).
2. Run live polls
The speaking sessions will be more interactive if you integrate a live poll. Let the audience vote on things related to the talk or performance.
Tip: Here are 30 live poll question ideas you can try to keep attendees engaged.
3. Set up a competition
In addition to the giveaway contests before the event, you can also run crowd engagement games on the day. Give out prizes to the winners and host a small award ceremony.
Tip: Use our guide on how to organise an awards show to help you out.
4. Use an event app
Event apps are industry standard, but not all apps are created equal. Make sure your event app encourages attendees to like or comment on the different aspects of the event programme.
Tip: We’ve put together a list of the best event apps to give you a quick overview.
5. Update the socials
Keep everyone in the loop by updating the social media accounts for your event. Make sure you use the hashtag and ask attendees to comment on and share your updates.
Tip: Use this guide on the best social media practices during an event to help you out.
6. Host an afterparty
If your attendees have been sitting in on talks or watched performances all day, give them time to shine. Organise an afterparty or networking lunch where they can interact.
Tip: Learn how to organise a successful afterparty so everything runs smoothly.
7. Host a Q&A
Question and answer sessions are a great way to engage the audience. If they’ve seen an interesting speaker, they will no doubt have questions they’d like to ask.
Tip: Read about how to plan an engaging Q&A session so everyone gets the most out of it.
How to increase audience participation after an event
Audience engagement shouldn’t stop just because the event is over. Now is the time to ask for feedback, so you can plan for your next event and make it even more awesome.
1. Send out a survey
Questions always drive engagement, so make sure you send out a post-event survey. Not only will attendees feel more valued, but you’ll also gain useful insights for your next event.
Tip: We’ve put together a list of event survey tools you can use for free.
2. Thank everyone
If you’ve hosted a small event, then a “thank you” email or letter might be more appropriate. A personalised note will let the attendees know that you appreciated their company.
Tip: Read about how to write a heartfelt thank you note to your attendees after the event.
3. Share highlights
You should’ve captured as many moments as possible on camera during the event. Share them on social media, use the event hashtag, and ask people to share their own highlights.
Tip: Here’s a guide that explains how to shoot a highlight reel for your event.
You’ve now got your arsenal packed with audience engagement strategies. Make sure that anyone looking at their phone is looking at your event updates and nothing else.
Drop us a comment below to let us know how you get on—and feel free to share any tips we might’ve missed!