Today is all about cultivating engagement at events! As you already know, during the next few weeks we’ll be feeding you little nuggets of information. And all of these awesome insights are courtesy of the most iconic guests. Endless kept busy during IMEX Frankfurt 2019. We already tackled inclusion at events, and we’ll keep bringing you even more awesome topics that we were lucky enough to gather precious inputs on.
This week, we’ll give you the gist of cultivating engagement at events. Anyone who’s been in business knows that at the end of the day, success will be determined by your attendees’ experience. And a great way to ensure they are happy is keeping them engaged! Our iconic guests for today are industry icons Gerrit Heijkoop, Nadia Vratna, and Sharon Fisher. Ready to learn how to take your engagement game to the next level? Keep reading!
Planning And Producing Content
Our first guest, Gerrit Heijkoop from LiveOnlineMedia, has been a regular on all things IMEX. He’s a part of the social media team for the event, and over the course of the years, he’s done 17 editions of IMEX. Safe to say he has an encyclopedia of knowledge when it comes to content at events!
With so many years of doing the event, and the world of social media steadily evolving, Gerrit has witnessed some changes. “We started way back in 2012 live tweeting, and all the fast things. And then we turned into more video, video, video, and last year we tried the two vlogs a day kind of experience”.
This, of course, makes perfect sense. Everyone knows that video is a particular kind of content that best engages audiences. But it can get tricky, especially when you have a million other things to worry about during the event. So what’s Gerrit’s advice on this? “The IMEX team knew the importance of creating social media content during the show, creating content for later throughout the year”. They started early on, and of course, that always helps. But what are other factors that come into play when it comes to creating great content?
Well, the IMEX social media team alone consists of 10 people. The expression “it takes a village” definitely comes to mind! “There’s basically one team that focuses on the promotion of next year’s show. So their only purpose here is to create quotes and content to promote next year’s show”. It’s very easy to get caught up on the moment, but remember the future, and how content can help you!
Gerrit offers another great tip, and one that’s directly related to the need of having content produced on the spot – filmed, edited, and ready to be shared: “Once you get some practice under the belt, you realize it’s not about the tool, it’s about what you do with it. If you shoot smart, obviously the editing becomes really simple”. Splice, Quik App, and iMovie are some of the tools Gerrit swears by – but again, it’s all about working smart!
Producing content is also about constant experimentation and learning. With video, “what we try to improve on is see how you make it desirable to watch. And that’s either because it’s funny or snappy or it’s educational. And these are the kind experiences you need to run to know how to feed your audience”.
Engaging With Live Streaming Audience
Joining our host Will Curran, this time around we welcome Nadia Vratna from Slido. The event industry has been witnessing an increase in the trend of live-streaming. We’ve discussed this topic before on Event Tech Podcast, and today we’re taking another shot at the topic. Specifically, engagement at events with live audiences – because they need your attention too!
Right off the bat, Nadia offers a great example of just how powerful this engagement can be. During a meeting in Genebra that counted with some of the most influential world leaders, the Q&A portion of the event was opened to the entire world. “Basically anyone with an Internet connection could ask questions to those leaders”, she explains. Incredible!
Slido provides quite a few interesting features, including the possibility of upvoting questions that eventually make it to the top. Additionally, the questions can be filtered before the Q&A goes live! As Nadia puts it, “if I’m doing a Q&A with mics I have no clue what the question is going to be. Is it relevant for the rest of the audience? By giving everyone the chance to participate, everybody has a voice, and you get the most value out of the Q&A”.
So how do we go about making sure that everyone who’s not attending a meeting or event physically is engaged? “A really good practice is to have an MC or a moderator that is dedicated only to the remote or online audience”, Nadia explains. Activating polls to get opinions is also a must that provides great instant feedback as well.
In the end, “regardless of whether or not you’re doing it remotely or have an audience in the room, it’s important to consider the element of engagement. I feel like it can really make a change”.
Gamification With Purpose
Our final guest for today is the incredible Sharon Fisher from Play With A Purpose. Gamification has been around for a while. However, many are still quite unsure as to how it actually works, and how it can be employed successfully. That’s exactly what Sharon comes in, delivering the notion of gamification as a strategy. As she puts it, “it’s my favorite thing about my job. All we do is play, but we do it strategically. We come up with crazy ideas, fun things for our clients to do, and my whole goal is to get people to grow down”.
Growing down is a fantastic lens through which we can see gamification. When we were kids, we learned through playing. Who says we can’t do the same now? While gamification still remains somewhat misunderstood by professionals in the industry, the best way is to just go forward. “We always try to understand what’s the purpose, why are you having this meeting or this event? What are your goals, what results do you expect? How do you want people to feel when they leave?”, says Sharon, speaking on the first steps that should be taken.
“Play doesn’t work everywhere”, explains Sharon, “but it works in a lot of places. You need to work where it works and where it doesn’t, and when you should use it”.
Here’s the thing about gamification: “A lot of people perceive that playing games, doing interaction, or any kind of things that involve participation is very risky. The reality is, we’re all kids, and we all played when we were kids. (…) Understand your audience, know your audience, know what you want to achieve, and go for it”. In the end, it might be a game-changer (pun intended) to foster engagement at events!
That’s A Wrap!
We hope you enjoyed this week’s IMEX greatest hits. This time we tackled engagement at events, but next week it’s time for more. Tune in for all the latest droplets of event wisdom, always with the presence of the most iconic people from the industry!