Is your company planning an anniversary open house, a ribbon-cutting at a new office or a post-charity event bash? Whether you’re gearing up for an invitation-only soiree or the public party of the century, you must consider the guest experience every step along the way.
It may seem obvious, but it’s easy to get wrapped up in your own message, goals and branding when you start to plan an event. Event success isn’t only measured in attendance, but in overall engagement.
Taking your event to the next level isn’t easy, but these five ideas will help add spice and encourage participation.
- Let the best person win. What better way to bring a little fun to your event than catering to your guests’ competitive side? Here’s how:
⦁ Photo contest. Either a best selfie or best photo of the event posted to Instagram wins — with your special hashtag, of course (see No. 2).
⦁ Scavenger hunt. Text photos to the judge so he or she can see timestamps for when different teams have conquered the quests.
⦁ Trivia hour. No smartphones or tablets allowed!
⦁ Twitter contest. At the start of the event, ask a question via Twitter that rewards the most creative answers. Let the wacky responses roll in. Event organizers judge the answers to decide the winner.
- Create a hashtag. Creating a contained public forum for your event will give your attendees the opportunity to voice their opinions. You’ll get feedback for future events, and expand the reach of your event and company on social media. It really is a #winwin. (#sometimeshashtagsbecomeaddictive)
- Develop an online presence specifically for your event. Create a group on Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+ to help build up your event. Here, attendees can start their own discussions about the event, and you can post previous footage, pictures or teasers to generate some excitement. Facebook has an excellent FAQ section about how to create and promote events.
- Bring your content A-game. Don’t forget to ask what your guests would like to learn or do. Consider these suggestions for making guests feel appreciated:
⦁ Don’t wait until post-event surveys to learn your attendees’ expectations. Ask a few questions during registration, and then plan a few last-minute activities and sessions around their answers.
⦁ Send relevant, personalized emails about what attendees may get out of your event based on their responses.
- Network. Don’t take networking for granted.
If you’re hosting an event, you’re also attending. This face-time is essential for guests to have a positive experience. Mingling, socializing, networking — whatever you want to call it, it’s a necessary part of any event. Facilitating relationships will improve the overall experience and provide a time for guests to unwind and relax, while also getting to know you and other attendees.
Kelly Limpert is a digital content producer for Pest Management Professional’s parent company, North Coast Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.