User:Waffles51/Event Participation Strategies
Planning a successful, engaging event with a lasting impact has several steps. First, event organizers should gather data to help them plan the event. Then, they need to use that data to build an engaging event. After they’ve planned the event, they need to market it using social media and social networking tools. Once the event is over, organizers need to continue capitalizing on the momentum they’ve built up through the event.
Polling and Data Collection
- Most events have a target audience. Polling them can give ideas as to what they want from an event.
- Possible sites for data collection include workplaces, social networking sites, and events similar to the one being planned.
Event Activities for Engagement
- One key element to keeping people engaged is organization. All attendees and mentors should be excited and involved, not confused and disoriented. To help with this, you can post directions and maps around your venue. You can also have customized nametags to clearly identify mentors, attendees, and keynote speakers. Lastly, a clearly defined agenda is essential.
- Formats of presentation should be varied. Lectures and keynote speakers can be an important part of an event, but too much speaking can cause attendees to disengage. Try to limit speakers to 15 minutes at a time. Break up the lectures with interactive games, small-group activities, and game-show style challenges.
- Build relationships between attendees. If you have games or contests, form attendees into teams and encourage them to collaborate.
- Contests and giveaways are another way to get attendees engaged and invested. The giveaways can be simple raffles or complicated contests. What's important is that all attendees have a chance of winning. Later, the prizes can remind people of the their experience at the event.
- Variety is key - keep it new, interesting, and fun!
Marketing Your Event
- The key to any event is a dynamic social media campaign. Create accounts for your event on multiple social media sites. You can use your polling data on your target demographic to determine which sites to use. Try to use your social media accounts to build up anticipation for the event and share some of the exciting opportunities at the event. If you've held the event before, post pictures of the event highlights from previous years.
- Your event should also have a website. It should be easily navigable, mobile-friendly, and informative.
- Search for keynote speakers and sponsors. Not only do keynote speakers and sponsors add to the event, they also have large networks of people that they can reach out to.
- Choose a memorable, exciting venue. Your polling data can help you again here.
- The registration process should be as simple as possible. Make links for registration easily accessible from multiple locations (your social media channel, your website, etc.) and try to limit the length of the registration process.
- Send follow-up emails to remind attendees of the upcoming event.
- After the event, send out follow-up emails and social media posts. Email attendees with a list of future events and opportunities and thank them for participating in the event. If your event has a blog or social media accounts, this is also a good time to highlight the accomplishments of the event. Posting pictures, videos, and statistics about the event helps keep the event fresh in attendees' minds and can advertise the event to people who didn't attend.
- Get feedback on your event. A simple, online survey is one easy way to get data from most attendees.
- Make sure that it’s mobile-friendly, easy to access and fill out, and short (less than 10 questions is ideal).
- Ask specific questions that will benefit you. Ask about whether they would recommend the event, what were highlights/lowlights, their opinion on the staff and keynote speakers, etc.
- Consider a follow-up Q & A session with keynote speakers if applicable. You can post this on your website and social media feeds. This can allow people who weren't able to make it to the event to get involved, as well as keeping attendees engaged in conversation after they leave.
- Ultimately, your goal is to inspire attendees.
- You want people to leave the event feeling empowered and ready to take action. Give attendees easy ways to stay involved after the event ends. Are there other programs they can join? Classes? Volunteer opportunities? Whatever the case, you want attendees to have resources to make a difference after the event ends. You can distribute these in the form of paper packets, emails, or some other medium.