Technology. Gotta love it, gotta hate it. Whenever I’m at an event and look around the room, I see people everywhere on their phones, texting, scrolling through social media. Our devices have ruined our ability to stay in the moment, to remain engaged.
As an event organizer, what can you do? How can you pull your audience in?
Some of the best event organizers I know are fighting technology with technology. They’re using tech tools to engage event attendees in new ways that weren’t possible before.
If you’re experiencing dwindling engagement at your events, here are three tech tools that could help.
Trouble Getting Attendees to Break the Ice? Try Topi
One tool I’ve seen work well to get your attendees off their devices and engaging with each other is Topi. With Topi, your attendees can create rich profiles where they share their expertise and interests and LinkedIn connections. That way attendees can find others with similar interests and connections and strike up conversations.
Topi has other features that facilitate attendee engagement too, including a community chatroom, live surveys, social media integration, presentation downloads, and real-time event updates.
I’ve even heard of one event organizer who used Topi to create a scavenger hunt around the event venue with updates sent via the app as teams progressed.
Do People Complain They Can’t Attend? No Problem. Livestream Your Next Event
As one event organizer recently put it to me—engagement isn’t just about the people at your event. It’s also about the ones who can’t come. To engage the absent, she uses Livestream, software that creates a live video feed of her events online.
All you have to do is set up a camera, and Livestream takes care of the rest. They even have an app that allows people to watch your event straight from their mobile devices.
Livestream also records your events so you can make them available on demand for anyone who wishes to watch them later.
Create Excitement Online with a Virtual Swag Bag
You know those swag bags you get when show up at an event, the ones with the pens, lanyards, stress balls, and candies. One way to pique the interest of your registrants before they even arrive is to use what’s called a virtual swag bag. Until a few months ago, I’d never heard about them. But since then, I’ve received several.
The concept is virtually the same—offer a bunch of free goodies in a downloadable package to everyone who registers for your event. Everyone I’ve spoken to who’s used them says it has boosted engagement online and inspired people to talk about their events.
Some creative ideas I’ve seen include free movie downloads, coupons for restaurants and retail stores close to the event venue, free trials of software, and Amazon gift cards. Plus you can include all your presentation handouts in your virtual swag bag too.
For a suggestion on a tool you could use, I’d recommend Virtual Event Bags.
Donald Cowper is content manager at Wild Apricot, a leading provider of Membership Management Software. He’s a bestselling author and the host of Wild Apricot’s series of Nonprofit Expert Webinars.