3 Avoidable Attendee Engagement Fails
Social media is often considered a marketing tactic that is time-consuming and requires a substantial amount of effort. This statement may hold true for some events, but it doesn’t have to for yours. Social media is no longer something that your event can choose whether or not to opt-in. Attendee engagement lives on social media: before, during, and after. Let’s take a look at three common and (very) avoidable attendee engagement fails that directly correlate with your social media presence.
1. Failing in Your Social Media Marketing Efforts
Avoid missing out on attendance due to low awareness (no presence on social media) by keeping a single word in mind: scheduling. Look at your event date and work backward to identify a date that you should begin your social media outreach, and block out 10-15% of your weekly schedule to devote to social media messaging curating. During these weekly appointments, utilize one of the many social media scheduling tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer, or Edgar to schedule a week’s worth of social media messages at once.
Once you’ve created and scheduled your social media plan, remember the importance of engagement. When your attendees are engaging with your posts by retweeting, liking, or commenting, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice by not acknowledging and responding to their interest in your event. Block off 20-30 minutes at the end of each day to review their interaction and ensure you’re providing them the attention they deserve.
Finally, because you’re an event planner, and you have very little time to waste, remember to review your data. In the world of social media, monitoring your views and engagement (likes, favorites, retweets, comments), is called listening. Review the posts that resonate, and continue creating content that offers similar topics. The posts that are low performers shouldn’t be repeated. Let your data work for you so that you’re delivering highly qualified messaging at all points in your social media strategy.
2. Failing to Solicit Feedback at the Right Time — And Act on It
Letting your attendees know that you’re listening to their feedback–and acting on it–is arguably the most important investment you can make as it pertains to relationship management. Too often, that feedback is left until the end of a program, and solicited via a paper survey or impersonal email blast to the entire attendee list.
PCMA’s Senior Vice President of Education and Events, Kelly Peacy, CAE, CMP, is taking a different approach to listening to attendees at this year’s PCMA Education Conference by creating a multi-tiered feedback program.
“At the beginning of each of our sessions, we’re going to tell attendees exactly why they are in the environment they are in: from the room set to the topic – we’re going to empower them with knowledge before we begin delivering educational content.
It’s a hypothesis on adult learning: If we give people all the correct information for why they are where they are up front, and facilitate an open dialogue at the end of the session that asks them to discuss our theory, we believe we will gain incredible insight into our educational efforts. It’s a living laboratory that solicits feedback at every step of the process – we’re not going to wait until they leave to ask them how they feel.”
Remember to share survey results with attendees on-site and at the end of your event. Take it a step further by committing to changes that will align with that feedback. By publicly showing them that you’ve acknowledged their opinions, and then giving them the plan of action that your team will be working on as a result of their insight, you’re showing them that their efforts in shaping future events won’t go unnoticed.
3. Failing to Create a Lasting Community
When shaping your program, you have a target group of attendees in mind, which goes to say that those people share similar passions, ambitions, and career paths. Once they have signed up for your event, the most important similarity between them is exposed–a shared interest in your event.
Warning, rhetorical question coming your way: how often do you engage with them in any way outside of marketing blasts and social media posts between your events?
Letting those similarities and bonds fall by the wayside once your event has ended is a catastrophic waste of engagement opportunity with the people who matter most to you. This is a curated group of people whose collective insights can help shape your future events, from crowdsourcing their choice keynote speaker to contributing to which vendor you should select.
Creating a community can be as simple as focusing on a single social media forum (Google +, LinkedIn Groups, Facebook Groups), adding new content, posing new questions, and acting as a virtual networking tool for your attendees. Take it up a notch by bridging the virtual world into city-specific meetups, quarterly focus groups, or hosting a traveling networking event that brings your attendees together in the downtime between your events.
This blog is a contribution from Social Tables:
Social Tables is a meetings and events company that just happens to do software. The #1 software for planners and properties to work together online, we are the industry leading provider of cloud-based hospitality software that positions venues to work more collaboratively and efficiently with their event and meeting customers.