The mix of ages and experiences brought interesting insight to the role social media can play in attendee acquisition and engagement. Here are three big ideas of what they had to say.
1. Connect with people not programs.
Put people first, not your conference.
Stop creating bland and sterile communications.
Give us someone specific to communicate with and make me feel like you are communicating directly with me. Use a specific person’s name not info@.
Create a helping over selling mindset for your social media.
In every interaction, focus on me and my needs, not the features of the conference. Social media should not be used as one more way to push information to me.
Be More Pullable.
Make me want to click on your information. Don’t just send a “Save the Date” promotion. Instead use a content marketing approach, send me interesting images from last year (include the logo, next year’s date and location). Trust me – I will understand I need to save the date without you stating it.
Drip out your information.
Keep me interested and craving more late breaking information by releasing new items weekly.
2. A conference that cares about what I want is cool.
Get to know your prospects and attendees; interact on a personal level.
Involve me in the conference planning.
Do I have a choice in the education sessions, entertainment, food or something smaller like the conference pin? Offer me a choice. Increase my engagement through Facebook or Twitter contests. Make me feel like I had a hand in the planning and I’ll be more likely to attend.
Extend your engagement contests.
Start with a dozen options — then move to six, then three, then the winner. This will keep me coming back to vote and increase my commitment to the conference.
Ask questions and build mystique.
Twitter and Facebook are great for this. Get me thinking about the conference and ask me my opinion or ask me for help. If I have attended before, I would love to pass on my knowledge to new attendees. Or ask me to take a photo with a sign – I volunteer…., I serve….. or something industry related, I am a nurse….. etc. Then invite me to share my reason on Twitter or Facebook.
Photos, Photos and More Photos.
We love seeing who has attended. What are they wearing? Are they older or younger? I’ll be more interested if I see someone like me in your photos. I also want to see the venue, the city, the nightlife. Be sure to take photos during your site visits and use Instagram to grow buzz and excitement.
But it must be short and clever or funny. Consider uploads from attendees using Vine.
3. The conference is my home for three days – make me feel comfortable.
Encourage me to use social media while at the conference.
We like to use social media.
It enhances our conference experience. Help us not be that outcast using a mobile device by training speakers to encourage photos and tweeting during a presentation. Announce the conference Hashtag before each session. Review your room sets to allow for more social interaction with high tables in the back for those of us that want to set up our tablets. Consider a screen showing the live tweets – maybe not in the presentation room, but near registration or replays on the trade show floor.
Help me network.
We love the idea of dinners with new friends or other tweet up/meet up events. Get a few of your veterans or volunteers to start a tweet up/meet up on the trade show floor for lunch.Share your conference hashtag with local restaurants, shopping and attractions to get local businesses in on the engagement.
Having a choice – any choice is something that attendees want and social media can deliver.
How are you using social media to ask questions and involve attendees or push registration information? What can you do to make your social media more relevant and engaging?