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Five Favorite Methods to Engage Audiences at a Conference

One of my favorite things to do for Brandware clients is provide on-site support at conferences and events. Not only does it give me the opportunity for client face time – often a rarity in this age of e-communications - but we get the instant satisfaction of seeing PR tactics yield real-time results!

Here are five of my favorite audience-engaging tactics. I recently used these at a health technology client’s customer conference, so they’re definitely “field tested.”

  • Apply the Right Tech Tools: An audience of tech-savvy customers begs for a higher level of tech tools. At the conference, we had a pseudo iPhone monitor set up that allowed us to display our client’s social media pages in a fun, new presentation. QR codes were placed throughout the conference linking attendees to our client’s newest app: EventMobi.  The result? This conference boasted higher social media stats than previous events. Win!
  • Leverage Live Tweeting: Use live updates on Twitter to encourage attendees to participate by discussing what’s going on, asking questions and connecting with others. By using the same hashtag throughout the conference, you can create an ongoing dialogue for everyone.  Make sure the hashtag is promoted pre- and during the event.
  • Add Contests:  Everybody loves free stuff. Sadly, due to new regulations, we were not allowed to give out anything at our conference last weekend, but that didn’t stop us from sending out this alert via EventMobi: “The first person to meet our social media crew at the drink table will become our Facebook friend of the day!” We repeated this multiple times throughout the conference – and you’d be surprised how many people participated despite the lack of tangible swag.
  • Stay Connected:  Always stay connected to your audience via multiple social media channels. Post on Facebook, live tweet on Twitter, throw a slide or two from a seminar on LinkedIn, Instagram event images. It’s all about grabbing the bull (your audience) by the horns (attention span) and keeping them focused on what you have to say. Speaking of what you have to say, see tactic number five.
  • Content is King: Now, you could harness the power of the four tactics above, but if your content isn’t up to par….well, the ability to hold onto your bull’s horns dwindles quite a bit. The most important thing to remember: your audience wants to know what’s in it for them. What’s the payoff? Newly released data? A fresh infographic? The debut of a white paper? Use conferences to bring fresh content to your audience – it’ll spark shares, conversation and much more.

Golden rule:  If everyone is having fun, engaging in conversation and strengthening relationships…you’re doing it right.

Photo courtesy of Bill Ward

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