Putting a little time and thought into maintaining post-event engagement will add value to your event, as well as paving the way for future events and building your professional network. Kelly Vickers, Director at Meet Cambridge, has some top tips on how to make the memories last longer than the working lunch.
Months of planning will inform an event. The event itself goes by in a whirlwind. But then what? That period of buzz following an event is a crucial opportunity for keeping the community alive, as well as gaining valuable feedback. Proactive communication is key.
Develop a survey
Ask delegates to tell you what they hope to get out of the event before they attend then measure that against their opinions post event. Their responses will quickly show you if your event matched, surpassed or came short of their expectations. This is vital information that will help you shape future events. Demonstrate that you’ve listened by outlining any changes made or resolving any issues, and turn positive feedback into testimonials. These can be used to support and promote your next event and add to your portfolio for credibility. It’s easier than ever to use tools like Google Forms or Survey Monkey to send professional surveys to delegates.
Social media is one of the best and easiest tools for maintaining post-event engagement. Find and follow your delegates on social channels to develop these professional relationships, giving you an open platform to communicate directly with them and to create a community around your event. Share quotes or video clips of speakers from the event for those who couldn’t make it, upload presentations to a platform such as Slideshare, ask for comments and respond to them. Asking engaging questions relating to topics from your event to keep the conversations going.
If delegates come away from an event feeling interested, they will return to your website. It’s a good idea to include some content from the event, such as a news story or photo gallery for people to view and download. Blogging in more detail about topics covered, or giving behind-the-scenes interviews with speakers will provide engaging content that you can continue to develop and use long after the event.
Integrate the event into a wider strategy
Your event’s content can inform what you are talking about both in traditional and on social media for months either side of the event itself, especially if the event is recurring. Avoid silence or gaps in communication, and drip-feed information throughout the year such as white papers, teasers, discounts and early access to tickets. Invite delegates to suggest topics for future events and give them the opportunity to shape the programme.
High levels of post-event engagement, naturally, will follow high levels of engagement leading up to and during your event. Incorporate lasting experiences such as a photo booth, a competition or a prize giveaway that will bring people back – and most importantly, a compelling theme that is relevant to your audience.
Send a follow-up email
It might seem obvious, but dropping a personalised line to your delegates to say thank you for their attendance will make them feel valued and keep a line of communication open for follow-up enquiries. Calling back on the shared experience of the event will help to create fond memories, and it gives you the opportunity to share any further information with delegates. This could include links to photography or videos from the event, links to your social channels, details about upcoming events, a sign-up invitation to your company newsletter or any results from the event, such as a fundraising total.
Post-event engagement needn’t be a lot of work, and nor should you throw everything at it scattergun. Implement a couple of approaches that suit your company and your event’s objectives, using a multi-platform approach to ensure that key stakeholders are met.