Pulling off a big event like an awards ceremony or a conference is one thing, but keeping your audience engaged during your event is an entirely different challenge. Especially for long events that last for hours or days, it can be extremely difficult to maintain the attention of your audience - think about how difficult it was for your professors to keep your attention for just one lecture. There are different types of people who attend events. Some only go for the networking and social opportunities and others go in the hopes of learning something new. Of course, there are people who fall in the middle, but no matter who your audience is made up of, keeping them engaged the entire time will be difficult. Especially since attention spans have dropped with increasing use of technology. Luckily for you, we have some helpful tips to ensure that your audience is as engaged as possible.
Get them excited to participate before they arrive
In order to get your audience excited about participating, you should start engaging with them before they arrive. Let them know what the official hashtag is for your event, and encourage them to use it throughout the event. Make it worth their while to post on social media and use your hashtag by offering a prize or sharing valuable information and networking opportunities with speakers on your social channels.
Understand who your audience is
Sure, you know what your event is about, and you know your audience is interested in it for some reason, but do you know exactly why? For example, if you are hosting a marketing conference, you know your audience is interested in marketing, but are they business owners, consultants, in-house marketers, or someone else entirely? Make sure that when your company attendees register for the event, you ask some questions to get to know who exactly they are. This information will help you cater your prizes, social media posts, and lectures to your primary audience. This information can be collected as part of your ticketing process, with little to no extra hassle to your guests.
Make things fun with prizes and entertainment
Games, prizes, and other forms of entertainment are a must. Everyone loves a chance to win something, and giveaways are a great way to get your attendees to post on social media, use your hashtag, and share information about how amazing your event is wit people who may want to attend next year. Providing fun entertainment during breaks or even within speeches is another way to increase engagement both during and after the event. Think about how many times award show audiences share funny jokes from speeches on social media not only during, but also after the event. The more entertaining your speakers are, the more engaged your audience will stay.
Alert attendees to special events and surprises
Especially for multiple day events, plan some surprises and special events, and use them to increase your audience's engagement with your app and social channels. Share information about special events with well-known speakers or surprise giveaways, food, or speakers through your app or social channels to make sure your audiences are paying attention in the places where you're sharing the most information. Tools like Sprinklr and Sprout Social will help you to automate these promotions on your social channels, while different data management software works in the background, so you can focus on engaging with attendees during the event.
Taylor McKinney is a Marketing Specialist at TrustRadius, which has become the most trusted website for B2B software reviews. When she is not writing about the latest tools and small business trends she is enjoying Austin's beautiful scenery with her family.