Planning events is a team effort. You need to have a production line of tasks in place that will move projects smoothly from one person to another. Once the location is booked, you move on to finding your caterer, then you start planning your seating arrangements, then maybe you move on to marketing and so on. More than just having to coordinate with your team to get projects done, you need to coordinate with all your vendors and sponsors to make sure that your event goes as planned. Now, there is one integral part of your event team that often gets neglected or missed in the planning process – your community or network and attendees!
Corbin Ball stated that there are about 1.8 million meetings in the US each year, many with fewer than 100 attendees. There are two things that I take away from that statement. One, with many events having fewer than 100 attendees it is completely possible to find a way to reach out to attendees on an individual level and ask for their assistance in event promotion. Two, there are too many meetings happening every year to not be taking advantage of all the free marketing that you can do to expand your event reach and grow your market.
In order to have your community and network “become your speaker systems” for your next event, you need to give them a reason to do it. We all hope that our community will be willing to promote our event no questions asked, but most of the time people like to have some sort of incentive or they just need a push. And it is worth it to make the effort to invest time into this community. After all, 84% of people surveyed trust recommendations from someone they know versus the 42% that trust online banner ads.
Let’s get started with a few tips on how to get your community to promote your event.
Start a Contest
Who doesn’t like a good contest these days? Just because we are adults doesn’t mean we don’t like some good ol’ fashioned competition! Consider adding a component to your event where you ask your attendees to get active on social media. AIBTM did a great job of that at their event this past June with the “Meet America Selfie Challenge.” Attendees were encouraged to “Meet America” during the event by taking selfies at booths with the green #AIBTM diamond. Attendees won prizes for most creative selfie, most original and more. This got attendees on their social media sites posting pictures with the event hashtag. This was a great way to get more visibility for the event hashtag, while at the same time engaging their attendees in a fun way.
Give Them a Way to Join In
Your attendees want to feel included and that they matter. An easy way to do this is to make their opinion count and show them that their actions will have a direct result on the way that you plan your event. The inaugural Event Tech Live show happening in London this November is giving their attendees the chance to do just that. Like most events, they have knowledge and learning sessions with industry experts. Speakers were asked to send in videos submissions for their speaking slot instead of written submissions. The reason? Event Tech Live is choosing to crowdsource their speaking slots. They put the power in attendees’ hands to choose who they want to see and what they want to learn about. The advantage of this is that you are encouraging your attendees to share with their community who they want to see. Most people will start campaigning for the sessions that they voted for through their social media accounts. This immediately gets your show out there to a whole new network of people.
Have Stellar Content and Keynotes
An easy way to get your attendees talking about and promoting your event is to have amazing content and speakers lined up. It is a natural instinct in people to share things with their friends that they are excited about. Ever leave an amazing movie and you can’t wait to tell all your friends about it? Right there you are being a brand advocate by promoting that movie. You liked what you saw and you want other people to share in on the excitement! The same thing can be said for good event content. When people found out that Ariana Huffington would be a keynote speaker at Silverpop Amplify, you started to see tweets pouring in promoting the event. Even our own etouches representatives that attended the event couldn’t wait to tell people who they were going to see speak in a few weeks. That is why content is key!
You never know until you ask right? So why not just ask your network, community and attendees to share and promote your event! Events do it all the time with their speakers, so why not with attendees. I spoke at IMEX America last month and received an email with speaker guidelines and points. One of the points asked if you could promote your session on social media using their hashtag. It is a win, win for both parties because you hopefully bring in more people to your session and the event gets more visibility.
According to a poll on Special Events.com, 56% of respondents use email to contact clients, so when sending out your event marketing emails to attendees consider adding in a section asking them to engage with you on social media. Maybe pose some questions to them, something to make them want to post. Consider asking what sessions they are looking forward to, what exhibitors they want to see or what they like most about the location. Something to start the conversation for them and make them want to go on social media and finish it!
Those are just a few ways to get your attendees and community involved in your event promotion. What tactics have worked for you? Let us know!
This post was originally published on Social Tables Blog.
Written by: Kristen Carvalho