Have you ever tried to teach a class, promote a discussion, or get people to join in on an activity only to be met with blank stares and an awkward silence? Expert event managers know that event engagement is vital to an event’s initial success, as well as the success of potential future events. But what is event engagement? And why does it matter?
Engaging events are captivating and compelling; they capture the attention of their audience from the start and hold on tight. One of the easiest ways to engage an audience is to appeal to their passions or interests. Get them to listen by telling a story or sharing an experience they can relate to. Provide them with information and content that is important to them.
Why does event engagement matter?
Event engagement is an important component of every stage of the planning process. It could mean the difference between a popular sellout event or a no-show flop. Attendance, audience retention, and future event success are all influenced by levels of engagement. The more engaging an event is, the higher the likelihood of attendee satisfaction and participation in future events.
Important stages of event engagement
There are three main areas of opportunity to engage with event attendees to ensure overall success: before, during, and after an event.
Pre-event engagement. This stage is a vital part of the event planning process. It’s during this stage that planners are working to create interest around the event to help maximize event attendance and profit. Regularly engaging with audiences prior to an event is a crucial part of promoting event attendance and building excitement. Before the event, planners have the opportunity to build a relationship with their audience and create a deeper connection by:
- Maximizing event communications
- Utilizing social media
- Listening to your audience
During an event. This helps keep energy high and attendees interested. Successful event planners know that one of the most important parts of any event is the attendee experience. Kick off the event with high-energy entertainment or an icebreaker depending on the size of your event. Incorporate a mix of activities and strategies to help maintain strong levels of engagement such as:
- Incorporate seating arrangements that promote engagement and person-to-person conversation.
- Include participatory activities.
- Measure engagement live in your event app or on social media.
- Use a mobile app to communicate with event attendees.
Post-event engagement. This stage plays a key role in event planning, forecasting, marketing strategy, and audience growth. Planners engage with attendees after events in the hopes of developing and maintaining relationships. Keep the communication loop open by following up with audience members after the event. There are a variety of different ways to stay in touch with attendees such as:
- Send thank yous to all attendees after the event.
- Request responses to a follow-up survey.
- Start a marketing campaign to promote the next event.
- Send attendees a highlight reel of the event’s best moments.
- Ask attendees to share their experiences on social media.
Remember, an engaging event is usually a successful event. Stay ahead of the curve and put the attendee experience first. Check out more tips to increase audience engagement at your next event!
What tricks have you used to engage your audience before, during or after an event? What would you do better at your next event? Comment your thoughts and experience below!
Thanks for reading!