Maximizing event impact. As an event planner, you are obviously fully invested in the success of your event. You have laid out a detailed plan for your event marketing activities and their integration, but what choices can you make that will expand the impact of your event?
The total event impact is the combined outcome comprised of the following measurable factors:
- Reach: The size of your audience, both in event attendees as well as online following.
- Sharing: Press and blog coverage of your event and engagement on social media.
- Effect: The lasting effect of your event on your audience, such as conversion, lead generation, and customer feedback.
Focus your efforts in the right place at the right moment, and you can maximize these factors. While ultimately your specific actions will depend on your particular event, the following key measures can guide your initiatives.
#Use Live Video Streaming For Greater Reach
Live streaming can bring your entire event or selected key highlights online, allowing a potentially global audience to attend virtually. A live video stream can help your event reach a greater impact. It is especially appealing to those who cannot attend for time or location constraints or who are interested, but had not planned on being there. Convince your stream audience to show up the next time round, and encourage them to sign up for your newsletter or event alerts. Among the many available options for live video streaming for your event, the following are particularly popular: UStream, Livestream, Periscope (with Twitch enjoying a huge reputation among gamers).
YouTube Live with its newly rolled out support for 360-degree live streams and spatial audio deserves a special mention as it is most attractive if you already have a YouTube channel and subscribers. The service Restream.io allows you to simultaneously stream to more than 30 platforms, including YouTube, UStream and Twitch.
Last but certainly not least, Facebook Live has made its official debut which has the potential to outshine the rest of the platforms combined. Whichever video streaming platform you choose, most offer the option of an invite-only or public stream, so you can choose which suits your event best. If you offer your own for the event, your audience will also expect to find a live stream there.
#Expand Your Event Impact With Social Media Sharing
Social media is absolutely essential in optimizing the impact of your event; around 40 percent of businesses use social media for marketing events. The channels to focus on depend on where your target audience is most active, but the following measures form a solid base strategy for social media activity around your event:
- Create a Facebook event: As a social information hub, a Facebook event listing can leverage a potentially large part of your audience to create buzz and share your event and content.
- Choose a unique hashtag: A relevant and memorable hashtag can boost visibility on social networks and encourage sharing. Seeding and promoting your unique and easy to use hashtag without spamming your audience is important. Hashtagged tweets and posts can be incorporated into your event in real-time, as you’ve likely seen as a social wall or within an event app.
- Encourage shares: Pre-prepared tweets, social check-ins, referral emails – make it straightforward for people to share your event as much as possible and use stimulating incentives. All event-related content on your blog should prominently feature sharing buttons and be shared by your social media team on relevant channels to get your audience talking. Content ideas for your blog and social platforms are speaker profiles and interviews, organizational posts, insights into what people can expect and interaction with attendees to create excitement.
- Photos and videos: Social media is a highly visual medium, so satisfy your audience with plenty of appealing pictures and videos from your event.
- Aftermath: When the main event is over, it’s time to show highlights and keep the buzz going. Social media is well suited for sharing links to feedback forms (again, include incentives for filling them out), connecting with your audience and offering discounts for repeat event attendees.
#Transform Attendees Into Engaged Participants
An engaging level of interaction is a great way to expand the impact and increase the memorability of your event. Develop a strategy that allows and encourages your audience to not only attend your event, but actively participate in it. You can leverage the following points for increased participation:
- Abandon top-down communication: Speakers are still one of the main pillars of every event or conference. Of course, people want to hear an authority on a subject, but how about introducing a less authoritative way of communication? Your audience does not need instructions from someone on stage if they can tell each other what to do. Rather than have a speaker present their ‘one truth’, you can leverage the crowd to gain new insights. Discussions, decisions, content and information can come from everyone, and peer connections are possible human to human as well as with the help of technology.
- Rethink the form of presentation: For greater impact of your event, go beyond lectures and simple slides. Presentations should be open, inviting and engaging. The best stories are the ones where you find yourself literally in the middle of it. Use video, interviews, testimonials or ad-hoc workshops and smaller peer groups to craft an experience and make a topic come to life.
- Introduce facilitators: People are prone to follow the example of others; 92 percent of event attendees will offer feedback if they are enticed with an incentive. Use this to your advantage to facilitate the transformation from attendee into participant. Your event app, moderators, props, creative breaks, rewards or gamification principles can gently nudge your audience towards an interactive process rather than telling them what to do.
#Learn From Your Event To Enhance Your Impact
The effect your event has on your target audience will offer great insights into what methods and strategies work – or which to drop. This is especially valuable for repeat events, but even if you are a first-time planner, the following checklist will prove useful to achieve greater impact:
- Check the competition: Is your event too similar to what competitors offer? What can you learn from their successes or failures?
- Test before you run: Whatever messaging, call to action or incentive you use, test as much as you can and optimize accordingly.
- Dominate the news: Identify trending news topics you can jump onto and report how your event takes shape to be in the news in the run-up. Keep a positive attitude: Even last minute changes can be turned into exciting news.
- Survey past attendees: Who are your repeat customers, and what improvements can you implement based on feedback?
- Speaker promotion: How are your speakers affecting your event impact – and which speakers do a great job of promoting your event?
- Attendee promotion: Offer your audience incentives for promotion such as a referral program, competitions or prize drawings.
- Sponsors: What are your sponsors or exhibitors doing for you?
- Curate your email list: Email is still one of the most powerful ways to drive event registrations, so invest the time to properly grow and groom your list.
- Follow-up: Your post-event efforts are just as crucial as your preparation and execution – this is the time when you call on those qualified leads you generated. However, you should think about how your event learnings can help you personalize your communication, provide value and extend your marketing efforts into ongoing programs and strategies.
- Prioritize your resources: Apply the classic 80-20 rule and only focus on the 20 percent of your activity that delivers 80 percent of your impact.
Taking the appropriate extra steps can significantly expand the impact of your event. With the possibility to actively provide interaction at your event, Meetmaps is the perfect tool for engaging your audience and encouraging authentic attendee interaction. The visual and intuitive event app drives participation during your event, and the readily accessible dashboard enables you to be effective in the crucial post-event follow up to maximize your event impact.