One of the most common reasons we see event planners deciding to invest in an event app is to increase attendee networking. Attendee Chat and Group Discussions, in particular, are two of the most powerful features for achieving this event goal. Yet, they are often underutilized and underestimated (even forgotten about!).
As an Account Manager here at EventMobi, my core objective is to ensure the success of event planners like you. One way I go about doing this is by conducting debrief calls, where we review analytics and metrics captured by the event app. Time and time again, I find that the attendee chat and group discussions features were never used during the event. This is a huge low hanging fruit that isn’t being taken advantage of, especially if one of your event objectives is attendee networking.
Why are the most powerful attendee networking features underutilized?
When it comes to creating a successful event, planners often cite the same struggle: a lack of time and resources. However, the beautiful thing is that even if you struggle for time or resources, Attendee Chat and Group Discussions require very little work on your end to take your attendee experience to the next level.
1) Attendee Chat
Attendee Chat involves ZERO work for you as a planner and offers incredible benefits for those attending your event. With our platform, fields within a participant’s profile are searchable. Knowing this, you could be at a conference and search anything in order to find connections or commonalities.
- Find people who live in your city/state
- Reach out to those who are also attending the conference for the first time
- Break the ice by messaging someone who also shares your job title
The possibilities are as endless as your creativity.
2) Group Discussions
Group Discussions are another effective communication tool that will require next to no set-up. Simply create the topics you want your attendees to discuss…and that’s it! As an event planner, all you’ll have to do is moderate the discussions to keep things professional. It helps if you can find a staff member or volunteer who can do this for you.
Here are some general topics you can use at your next event:
- What do you think about this year’s theme?
- After the event, what are you hoping to leave with?
- Why did you choose to attend “EVENT NAME”?
To set these two event app features up for success, here are some ideas you can take to maximize attendee adoption:
1) Promote these features within your marketing communications leading up to your event.
2) During the event, educate your attendees on how to participate. Take them through a quick training session during the Opening Plenary and remind people throughout the event to participate.
3) Talk to your “veteran attendees” and ask them to contribute to the chat and discussions. They will have tons of knowledge to share with other attendees to help drive engagement.
So now that you know a little bit more about these powerful features, let’s take a look at how to take your attendee networking to the next level.
The Secret Sauce to Increasing Attendee Networking
In addition to Attendee Chat and Group Discussions, there’s one more feature that you can employ: GAMIFICATION.
If you’re not yet using gamification at your event, you and your attendees are definitely missing out on some fun and engaging experiences. Gamification is a great way to turn your event objectives into your participants’ victories. As an event planner, isn’t that what you’ve always dreamed of?
Gamification Case Study from Real Property Management
We were at a conference help by our client, Real Property Management. The main objective was to encourage networking and engagement. In order to help them reach their goal, Real Property Management decided to use the gamification feature as their official Networking Challenge.
At the registration desk, each attendee was given a badge. On the front of their badge was all their regular info (name, company, etc.). However, on the back of their badge, each attendee was given a unique passcode.
At the Opening Plenary, the event planning team let attendees know that each of them was entered into an event game that could be played through the event app. In order to play, attendees simply needed to talk to one another in order to obtain the others code. Once they received that code, they could enter it into the event app and receive points. The more you networked, the more passcodes you got; the more passcodes you got, the more points you received.
And what’s the key to driving any game or challenge? INCENTIVIZE IT!
Once the event hit its first designated “break time”, it was incredible to see the number of people introducing themselves to complete strangers. Once again, the event planners’ objectives turned into attendees’ victories. Not only did they get to meet new people, but the top winners also walked away with great prizes.
In summary, don’t forget about the easy features that lead to easy wins. It takes little to no effort on your side to set up Attendee Chat because it’s already built into the event app. The problem is your attendees don’t know about it. Create messaging before your event and highlight why and how they should use it. Also, create some threads in your Group Discussions to get the conversation going. Lastly, try out the gamification feature to take your networking to the next level.
Read the full case study to learn how Real Property Management used an event app to create engaging attendee networking opportunities.