Putting on annual conventions can feel similar to a power cycling class. You’re moving at the speed of light during heavy registrations until your post convention meeting, then you have a lull for several months, then- you’re at it again. Your attendees feel much the same way. The problem is that you can lose potential repeat attendees if you do not keep them engaged, year round. Here are some creative ways to keep your attendees engaged between your annual conferences or meetings.
Facebook Pages– Create a page for your organization/ event and post engaging content year-round. Be sure to let your list know about the page by using the “invite friends” option and by linking to your page in emails. Hint- send attendees friend requests from your Facebook profile. Then, when posting on your Facebook Page, post as yourself (Edit Page> Your Settings> uncheck box next to Posting Preferences) and “tag” event attendees in posts.
Tagging is when you type someone’s name in a post in a way that turns the name into a link. They receive notification that they have been mentioned and nearly always respond. Additionally, unless they have changed their wall settings, your post will also appear on anyone’s wall who is tagged in the post.
Twitter– Use Twitter to keep attendees abreast of late-breaking developments and to post helpful industry information and articles. Hint- Ask attendees for their Twitter names during registration. Be sure to “tag” different attendees in your Twitter messages, encouraging them to respond to your tweets.
Email Newsletter– Create a compelling email newletter that your attendees will want to read one a month. This newletter should not be an advertisement. It should contain content and resources that add value.
Hold Contests– Encourage attendees to participate in contests offering complimentary/ reduced price registration or even comp VIP upgrades for winners. Contests may involve answering trivia questions, an online scavenger hunt of your website/ social media profiles or even another action item.
Support a Cause– Rally your attendees around a special cause during your down time. Perhaps hold a fundraiser or volunteer drive. This will encourage teamwork and greater ownership among your attendees.
Keeping your conference attendees interested year round will help build attendance and camaraderie. Just remember, make it about them- not your sales pitch.