Conventions 2020 reported on the future of meetings, events, exhibitions, and conferences to discover which incentives for attending events are most effective. Their study found 76% of respondents viewed the quality of networking to be the single biggest factor that would encourage them to attend events. It even beat out the motivating factors of content, interaction, and use of technology. Additionally, the report found the average person carries 2.9 electronic devices including smartphones, laptops, and tablets.
For meeting planners, these are stats that cannot be ignored. More importantly, planners should be exploiting certain tools to improve the networking at their events and ultimately achieve a greater attendee ROI.
Being active on social media during your event has many benefits. In terms of networking, it allows your attendees to communicate with like-minded people wherever they may be. Plus, those conversations are no longer limited to during the event.
Generate buzz before the conference on social media with session suggestions, speaker presentation teasers, and behind the scene videos. Keep the fun going with post event surveys and questionnaires. Giving your attendees a say will make them feel involved and also give you inside knowledge you wouldn’t have known otherwise.
One of the best ways to facilitate your attendee networking is to create an event hashtag. Your hashtag should be unique and shared with your attendees in your marketing to prevent confusion. You should also avoid creating multiple hashtags, as this approach has shown a 17% drop in engagement. If you need some help with your hashtag, check out Hashtagify. It is a free search engine that allows you to search potential hashtags, discover related hashtags, as well as influencers and usage patterns.
Even though about 70% of event planners use Twitter, you should share your hashtag with all of the social platforms you are on. This helps you, the organizer, build your event brand while also giving you a way to effectively track attendee communications across all social networks.
An App for Events Can Do That (And Then Some)
Integrating social media into your events has never been easier with an app for events. Most if not all event apps now offer some sort of social media outlet. This lets attendees tweet, post, share, and like all they want via one event app.
Your event app can also be utilized to encourage face-to-face meet ups. Use targeted push notifications to get like groups in a central location or have your attendees plan a meet up with an in-app chatroom post. Get creative and host a scavenger hunt requiring attendees to visit your exhibitor and sponsor booths.
Once they’ve met in person, exchanging contact information should be effortless. Sure, you can do the usual exchange of business cards. But how many times have you forgot who they were or even lost the card before you made it back to the office?
With BLE technology and an event app, networking can be as easy as a handshake. Attendees simply hold their mobile devices close to each other to instantly swap contact information. Worried about privacy? Each user can customize their sharing preferences so no unwanted information will be shared.
Since attendees want to go to your events to network, it only makes sense to offer them the technological tools they need to make it happen. Better yet, why not have an all in one solution with an app for events? From hosting your social media conversations to fostering face-to-face meet ups, properly managed event apps can take your attendee networking to the next level.
When incorporating technology into your events, it’s always a good idea to remember every individual varies in terms of knowledge with tech. Be sure to use different strategies to accommodate your attendees when handling support and resistance to your event app.
These were just a few tips and ideas how technology can assist attendee networking. If you have any best practices of your own, please share them in the discussion below.