For your event to be a success you need to be working on your delegate engagement activity at all stages of the event life cycle. Most of us, however – whether due to a lack of time or resources – only focus on the engagement activities before and during the event. We miss the all-important phase, when the event has ended.
So why is post-event engagement crucial for event planners and what kind of activities are effective in keeping up interest around your events?
Why is Post-Event Engagement Crucial?
There are three key reasons to spend time on post-event engagement:
1. Building Brand Loyalty
Spending time on engagement activities not only builds interest and excitement around your events, it also creates a greater sense of loyalty around your brand and what it represents.
2. Meeting Business Objectives
Events always have a business objective – and this objective will not change once your event is over. Whether it’s providing great education, capturing leads, making connections, creating sales or something else, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that your organisation still has to meet these objectives before, during and after the event – so it makes sense to continue with your engagement activities even when your event is over.
3. Extending Your Reach
As well as building a closer relationship with those people that came to your event, you can extend your reach to engage with those who didn’t. There may be a number of reasons why people may not have come to your event, but by engaging with them afterwards, you can provide them with a real sense of what they missed out on. This could encourage them to attend the event the next time round or in the least, give them a reason to continue engaging with your organisation.
Are you looking after your attendee data? Find out the 8 things event planners do that can easily cause a major security breach for their organisations!
Download your eBook now: The Event Planner’s Guide to Data Security
How to Engage Attendees After an Event
To help you make the most of your post-event engagement opportunity, here are 8 ideas you can use that are both effective and won’t take much of your time to do:
1. Publish Your Event Content
Make sure that your attendees receive the content that they were promised. It can be really frustrating for attendees to have to remind you to send presentations. Worse than that, they’ll think that you don’t care. Even if you didn’t promise to send presentations to them, there is nothing to stop you issuing valuable event content as part of your delegate communications and keeping in touch. There is little point in keeping content that you have spent money on. The event content needs to be working for you to build your event’s reputation. It cannot work, if it is not shared.
2. Use Social Media
Social media channels are a great way of keeping in touch with your delegates. Whether you choose Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or others it doesn’t matter. What is important is that the channels being used are where you can find your event’s target audiences. If, for example, you know that your delegates like and use twitter, then you could hold a regular twitter chat. One good example of this is The Blog Awards. They hold a weekly twitter chat throughout the year, even though their main event takes place just once during the twelve-month period.
One of the key things to remember when using your social media channels is consistency. Even posting once or twice a week can make a difference in maintaining a sense of community amongst your audience.
3. Re-Purpose Your Event Content
There is an enormous opportunity to re-purpose your event’s content into a variety of different formats. From presentations, you could create blog posts or write case studies. On the more contentious issues, you could publish white papers. Thought provoking nuggets from speakers could be used as material for speaker guest blogs. You could use the content to host spin off events, workshops or debates with content generated from your main event. You could create a valuable resource library on your event website. This provides a neat way of creating new conversations with your delegates and also with the wider community of people who could come to your future events.
4. Maximise the Power of Visuals and Videos
Visuals and videos are invaluable tools in your armoury for post-event engagement activities. You can take event-generated content and convert it into infographics as a means of issuing key information in bite-sized chunks. Visuals can also help break down complex messages, making it easier for audiences to take in.
Our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than text so be sure to include some videos in your content offering too. You could create montage videos of the event or have some interviews with speakers. Use video and you will benefit.
5. Personalise and Crowd Source
With all the content at your disposal (event generated and re-purposed) you will have a lot of choice when it comes to what you can provide to your community. The question is what do your attendees want? This is where your event management system can help. It will have captured all sorts of information at the time of registration. So have a look at the data already available to you. For example, which sessions did they register for and which did they actually attend? You can find this information in your event management system and send them personalised content accordingly.
However, if you are still unclear, then you could always use crowd sourcing to discover what people want. Ask questions in your post-event surveys about what they’d like to hear more about. If you go a step further and get people to co-create future sessions and event formats, you will be well on your way to really getting the most out of your post-event engagement.
6. Use Polls and Surveys
Surveys and polls are a great way of checking the ‘mood’ of your audience at any point in time. One idea is that you take the results of a poll from your event and run a new poll on the same issue post-event to discover if you have a different finding. If you don’t want to compare against your event polls, you could create new polls and generate new content. Another idea is that you could use surveys and polls and apply them to topical issues. For example, you could ask your community about issues such as: Brexit or GDPR. Or you could ask where they consider the next ‘hot’ destination to be. There is no end to the ways in which you can use polls and surveys as a way of getting people to share their opinions to keep them engaged.
7. Create Attendee Profiles
Personalising content has to be in your plan for post-event engagement. You can use the data you collected from your event, through things like registration forms, surveys and apps to create detailed profiles of your attendees (just make sure you do this in accordance with GDPR requirements). Again, some event management systems like Eventsforce allow you to build data-rich profiles on your attendees across all your events – which can be very effective in learning about their personal preferences around sessions, topics, speakers, and so on.
For example, you discover that a number of attendees have a particular interest in one of your speakers. You could then find ways for them to connect with the speaker long after your event has ended. One idea could be asking your speaker to delve deeper into a point they mentioned during the event through a blog, podcast or video recording. Matching attendees with their favourite speaker is a great example of using the power of personalisation.
8. Keep Talking and Listening
Ongoing communication with your audiences is key to a successful post-event engagement strategy. Show that you’re interested in their input before, during and after the event. It is really important that you actively listen to what your attendees are feeding back. Listening and acting on feedback will also help you to stand out from your competitors. The feedback you receive on-site through surveys as well as information from your customer service desks and other sources should be used to ensure that you leave no stone unturned and do everything you can to engage with your audiences after the event.
Once you have decided on your post-event engagement activities, then all you need to do is deliver it and be consistent. If you decide that you will publish one newsletter and hold one webinar per month, then stick to it. Often a lot of event planners issue event content in the month or two after the event and then they go quiet until they are within a few months of their next event. Consistency is the key to success. If you overload people with information in a compressed time frame, they will feel pressured. However, if you provide valuable content over a longer period they are more likely to engage with you in the long-run.
Enjoyed reading this article? Why not join our EventTech Talk community for weekly updates on all things event tech – including expert advice on industry trends, event marketing and how to get the most out of your technology investments. Sign up here.