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 make your next event relevant?
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: Media and blog coverage of your event and engagement on social media.
- Effect: The lasting effect of your event on your audience, such as conversation, lead generation, and attendee 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 online audience to show up the next time round, and encourage them to sign up for your newsletter (or follow you on Facebook) or event alerts.
Among the many available options for live video streaming for your event, the following are particularly popular:
- YouTube Live with its newly rolled out support for 360-degree live streams and amazing audio deserves a special mention as it is most attractive if you already have a YouTube channel and subscribers.
- Restream allows you to simultaneously stream to more than 30 platforms, including YouTube, UStream and Twitch.
Last but certainly not least, Facebook Live has made an undeniable entrance to the video streaming world 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; in 2018 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 framework is to build 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: 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 (if you have one!) 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 entrance fee discounts for repeat event attendees.
Transform Attendees into Engaged Participants –
An engaging level of interaction is a great way to expand the impact of your event 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:Let me explain, live 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 with human to human communication 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 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 event planner, the following checklist will prove useful to achieve greater impact:
- Check the competition: Is your event too similar to what your 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 to the event. Keep a positive attitude: Even last minute changes can be turned into exciting news.
- Survey past attendees: Who are your repeat event guests, 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? Always remember, influential people in your community are watching new event concepts that are coming up and could be close to investing in 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.
All feedback is helpful, so be sure to encourage your attendees to give honest feedback and make sure to take actionable steps based on what they say.
There are all kinds of valuable elements of feedback you can compile into a promotional tool for your next event. Be sure to take stock of what you have and find ways to market it.
Expanding the impact of an event is an enormous task, crossing multiple disciplines and requiring a good amount of foresight and strategic thinking, but if you follow the steps above, you’ll be quite a few leaps closer to a hugely successful event.
I recently had the opportunity to speak to a group of twenty-somethings. As I shared with them, I referenced a song I thought would surely bring a laugh and drive home a point I was trying to make. The only problem? They had never heard of the song before. In that moment, I knew the example I had given was not relevant to them. What I thought was a universal song ended up being something only my generation could appreciate.
Relevance. It affects us in many facets of our lives, but it plays a crucial role when it comes to event planning. If your event is no longer relevant, it will not survive.
Adaptation to the current trends, needs, and desires of those you are trying to reach is of utmost importance as you plan new events and restructure existing ones. So, how can you keep your event relevant in an ever-changing world? Here are a few tips:
- Know your audience: Become an expert in the field of people you are trying to reach. What drives them? What catches their attention? What will make them say “yes” to an invitation to your event? If you aren’t a part of that particular group of people, enlist those who are to provide feedback, suggestions, and knowledge.
- Know your purpose: Is the goal of your event to share about a particular topic or trend? Ask yourself, “Is this still something people want to learn more about?” If what you are offering is no longer needed, then your event is no longer relevant. How can you change it? How can you adapt to the current culture?
- Know your location: Can your location adequately provide for the needs of the attendees you hope to reach? Here are a few things to consider: Does your event location have Wi-Fi appropriate for the number of guests attending? Is the location of your event such that people can easily travel by car or conveniently travel from a nearby airport? Do your guests have special dietary needs that will need to be accommodated? Does your location provide the technology you need to ensure a successful event?
- Know yourself: Are you holding on to traditions of the past? Do you catch yourself answering questions with “because we’ve always done it this way?” If you aren’t willing to make changes, your event can suffer. Realize changing your attitude towards refreshing and revamping your event can be the difference in it thriving or not surviving.
Change can be hard, especially if your event has a longstanding history and traditions in place. However, in order to compete with others and keep your event on the forefront of peoples’ minds, you have to be willing to adapt to changing cultures and trends.
How relevant are you within your industry right now?
It might be a long time since you’ve stopped to appraise your progress but if you don’t do it now, you may never do it. It’s a question you need answered, whether or not you like what you find.
It is 2019, the key word is “Relevance”. If you’re not willing to be relevant to the culture and thinking patterns today – all your endeavors will just fall flat. It can be in the events, entertainment or sports industry, relevance is the motto!
Would you like to share your answer with us? We’d love it if you left a comment below, so let’s take a good close look at the topic.