One of the hundreds of jobs we do as event marketers is to get people fired up for our events. The last thing you want is for an attendee to remember they're attending your event a couple days ahead of time because they saw it pop up on their calendar. You want them to be anticipating it, talking about it, and brimming with pure excitement weeks before.
We know the value of getting people pumped before, during and after the event, for obvious reasons, but some innovative tactics have the added benefit of also serving as a community building mechanism for event attendees.
Here are some tips on how to not only generate buzz, but also build a community around your events:
Consider setting aside some sessions whose topics (and maybe even speakers) are decided by event attendees. It's a great way to get attendees fired up about choosing the experience they want at your events. If you're comfortable with it, you can make it an exciting moment where people vote in a live poll on the first day of your event.
Schedule a Snapchat Takeover
Ask attendees to post their thoughts about your event on Snapchat — or even share pictures of themselves on their way to the event, or other images that relate to the topic at hand. Hootsuite offers a good how-to guide on planning and executing a Snapchat takeover.
Bring Digital Conversations to Life
For some people, networking can be awkward, but giving people a conversation starter they are passionate about can make it easier for them. If you notice a topic trending on social media or in the event app, designate specific rooms at the event to act as conversation hubs. For example, let's say you notice the in-app conversation about "content marketing" is taking off, you can direct those digital conversations to an in-person venue for people to meet and discuss in real life.
Encourage Influencers to Engage
Encourage influencers to host a local meet up or happy hour in the weeks before the event. This is a great opportunity for people to meet in a more intimate environment and start networking before things get too hectic. Make sure you provide influencers with the official event and company materials to represent your brand. If hosting a physical event is out of the question get them to engage with attendees on social media and in the event app.
Provide Exhibitor Giveaway Sneak-Peeks
Exhibitors don't have a ton of time to make a big impression, so giving attendees a sneak peek of some attention-grabbing giveaways before the conference is a great way to prolong the buzz. If you want to get the party started early, consider setting up challenges on social media and in the event app that encourage attendees to engage with one another and win prizes at the same time.
Create a hashtag and suggest attendees use it in their event app or social networks to share that they're going to your event. You can ask them to post pictures that relate to the hashtag as a way to increase engagement. As one of our customers shared at a recent DoubleDutch Rise + Shine event, his team suggested that attendees upload pictures of the shoes they were wearing while traveling to the event site – with a hashtag relating to a “well-heeled" crowd.
Finding different ways to build up your event community will give attendees new ways to engage with each other, spurring deeper conversations and enabling them to form genuine lasting connections they won't soon forget.
Want to learn more about how to make the most of your events? Find out how you can use Feng Shui to make people feel at home in your event space.