Events provide great opportunities for businesses and brands to get face-to-face time with potential customers or partners. Many event organizers, however, struggle with the follow-up process.
While long-term engagement requires a robust follow-up strategy, research shows that 91% of event marketers find post-event engagement challenging.
How can you make sure your business isn’t included in that number? Arm yourself with some basic post-event engagement tips and a thorough deployment strategy.
Keeping the event experience alive long after the event concludes allows more in-depth conversations to take place, facilitating customer (attendee) loyalty. We’ve got four post-event engagement tips to help you do just that.
Four tips to maximize post-event engagement benefits
1. Make contact with your leads
The most important post-event engagement step your business can take is to actively make contact with any and all leads obtained during your event.
This tip seems obvious, but research shows that while 98% of exhibiting companies collect sales leads during their events, only 69% have a formalized lead follow-up plan in place.
Before the event begins, you need to establish your strategy. Decide which staff members are responsible for contacting leads, which platforms they’ll use, what the messages will say, and what the contact deadline is.
When it’s time to connect, default to one (or both) of the following options:
- Social media. Surveys show that the average person has five separate social media accounts, and spends around 100 minutes on these platforms over the course of a day. This gives you a wide window of opportunity to make contact with your leads. Your event type should determine the appropriate profile to contact, whether business or personal.
- Email. Whenever you make contact with a lead, get your hands on their business card so you know the best way to contact them when the event is over. Be sure to log this contact info in your contact management software to keep it all in one place, and check out our guide on fostering relationships at your networking event for more tips.
2. Encourage an ongoing conversation
Facilitating continuous attendee discussion—both before and after the event—is a great way to keep your event on their minds. The most effective way to do this? Social media.
It’s easy for attendees to chat with you and each other via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and an active social media presence gives your business the chance to connect with individual users on a more personal level.
The most effective way to keep your conversation happening in one easily trackable place is through a hashtag. Your hashtag should be unique, memorable, and as short as possible. Attendees are more likely to use a hashtag that doesn’t eat up half of their allotted tweet character count.
Consistently promote your Twitter hashtag and Facebook event page in the lead-up to your event, and brand event literature and swag with your social media handles and hashtags. Be sure your event staffing plan includes a dedicated social media coordinator who will interact with mentions, respond to questions, and monitor hashtag usage.
If you aren’t sure where to start in your hashtag creation process or want to ensure your desired hashtag isn’t already in use, check out these hashtag research tools:
3. Record your event, and actually use the video
Hubspot found that the use of video content in prospecting, relationship building, and sales emails increases the number of opened emails fivefold. Open-to-reply rates fared even better, increasing eight times over.
Capture event highlights on film, so your attendees can revisit significant moments long after the event ends. If your event features speeches or presentations, record and post them online.
Promote your next event by highlighting the success of this one. Prompt attendees to take your desired next action by emailing an event recap that includes video snapshots. However you want to use it, the key is to do just that: use the video.
Supplement your videos by posting high-quality photographs on your social media profiles; attendees will want to tag themselves and their colleagues in your photos, and share them on their own profiles. This expands the reach of your event through natural post-event engagement.
4. Send personalized thank you messages
This final tip is a simple and effective way to keep the event experience alive: email thank you messages to every attendee who provided their contact information or tagged your business on social media.
Repost social media content with your thanks to show your audience that you appreciate their attendance and engagement, and want to publicly recognize and foster your event community.
Make sure you’re not using the same message repeatedly; personalize your messages as much as possible. Kissmetrics has some great personalization techniques to help you accomplish this.
If you want to make your thank you functional, ask attendees for feedback to generate further discussion about your event. Include embedded survey questions such as:
- Which aspects of the event did you enjoy the most?
- Did you encounter any issues? If so, did our team help you resolve them?
- How could we have made your experience better? What should we do next time?
In a blog post, Pim Suurman—founder of TweetBeam—says:
Sending personalized emails, in which you use the person’s first name, is the most efficient way [to show appreciation]….Ask all of the attendees that follow you on social networks for feedback [too]. It makes them feel appreciated, and you, as the organizer, will seem more approachable.
Other useful event tips and guides
These four tips aren’t the only actions you can take to improve post-event engagement practices. For more guides, resources, and event management best practices, check out Capterra’s event management blog. Here are a few posts to get you started: