One of the best benefits of attending professional events is networking – whether face to face or via social media.
And it often starts before an event. Personally, before I attend a conference, I search Twitter for the event’s hashtag to engage in conversation and “meet” colleagues.
That said, searching Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can be time consuming and overwhelming.
“It’s time to make use of innovative technology to enhance face-to-face connections, redefine engagement, keep the conversation alive, inform better content, build more robust social media communities and ultimately demonstrate the ROI of event marketing,” DoubleDutch says. “An event app provides community managers countless opportunities to build an audience before the event, engage during and keep engagement thriving long after the event has come to an end.”
Nearly all event marketers – 88 percent – use social media to create event hype. This means more than just promoting products and services; it means fostering conversation and building a community.
Event apps allow attendees to check in to events and post status updates. In other words, an event app mirrors an event-specific social networking platform. At the same time, apps allow event planners to gather and analyze data. In addition, by engaging in conversation, speakers can tailor presentations to address specific questions and concerns – thereby boosting ROI for event participants.
DoubleDutch has a few suggestions:
- A welcome video from a CEO/chairperson
- Interactive case studies in the form of Q & As
- Access to presentations and other content
- Live polls and audience surveys
- Exclusive deals and promotions
- Exhibitor giveaways
During a program, an event planner should:
- Assign an app champion – Appoint a staff person to visit sessions and walk the exhibition floor to identify hot spots and key takeaways to share with attendees.
- Stay in control – Sometimes things happen (room changes, session cancellations) and an app allows event planners to communicate quickly with attendees. At the same time, by following in-app conversations, event planners can nip a potential issue in the bud.
- Share in real time – Build a crowd-sourced multi-media library in which participants can post resources and photos – both during and after the event.
- Elevate key influencers – Find active app users and promote their posts. Call them out and show your appreciation. Encourage app users to sync apps with their social media profiles to maximize engagement.
In short, event apps allow attendees to learn from others; network before, during and after an event; and transfer their knowledge to their teams long after an event ends.
“Event marketing is crucial for forming connections with customers and sponsors, growing your digital community and building brand sentiment,” DoubleDutch says. “It is an opportunity to amplify engaged communities around your brand, product or service. Social media grows and engages those connections, but even the most adept community manager can’t attain the best event results through social media alone.”