Your Network is Your Net worth
Beyond key speakers and sponsors, networking opportunities should be a main offering powering your event. As an organiser, part of our MCO event strategy is to facilitate networking between attendees in order for them to get the most value. Your event will be remembered by the connections and relationships it helped to create.
Here are some of MCO Events hot tips for encouraging event attendees to network, have fun, and ultimately leave your event with a smile and plenty of business cards and new social media followers in tow.
An Online Community
With 56% of companies using a social platform to increase engagement among attendees before an event, having an online community becomes crucial. It is an opportunity for people to engage with each other in a way that is approachable and lasting. Through a virtual space, attendees can integrate Linkedin accounts, message other attendees, schedule time with speakers, and even plan to grab drinks together!
Cool Event Badges
Name badges are required for most events, and while the standard name and company does encourage attendees to connect, why not add a more engaging feature? Consider colour coding by event role (attendee versus speaker), job industry, or by session track. Go the extra mile by utilising name badges as an impromptu event activity — a surprise breakout session by badge colour, a hidden meeting place at the back of your event badge, or even a discount to get coffee with a matching badgee! The possibilities are endless!
Break it up! Mix it up! Cut the program!
Attendees will be sitting through numerous sessions throughout the course of an event. Implore your speakers to interact with attendees through mid-session activities, like polls, breakout groups, and session ratings. These inclusive icebreaker activities will urge participants to share and compare responses, which is particularly valuable when sessions are large and breakout groups run the risk of being inefficient. Rather than talking at attendees, speakers will have the opportunity to engage them in meaningful conversation.
Sharing is Caring
Create opportunities for attendees to share their event experience by giving them the tools to do so – this includes social media hashtags (make sure others aren’t already using the ones you come up with!), on-site contribution walls, and photo opps. By incentivizing social media participation through these methods, attendees are more likely to engage with each other during the event and to encourage further online interactions sparked by follows, likes, shares, and repostings. This allows event goers to familiarize themselves with fellow attendees, while simultaneously increasing your online event presence. Talk about a win-win.
Corporate event planners use social media as a b2b event marketing strategy for annual conferences. Most recently, MCO Events ran a corporate event to incorporate the OFFICIAL Event Hash Tag they promoted the #egoexpo2018 hashtag to facilitate event updates and guide discussion amongst attendees, thus creating an effective platform through which attendees could participate and refer to back to.
An Event before the big Event
A pre-event networking event for first-time attendee would be particularly helpful for events with many recurring attendees. You don’t want anyone to feel left out! This opportunity would encourage and guide these new event goers to get the most value from your planned event, to present opportunities to meet speakers, to come up with questions for other attendees, and to form activity groups within this pre-event breakout session.
Walk Away Tips for your Networking Strategy
Simply put, networking is hard but you can make it easier. Make sure attendees make the most of their event experience by implementing these tips into your networking event strategy.
- Create networking conducive spaces for attendees — this applies to the venue layout, engaging hubs, and lunch activities. All aspects of your event should facilitate communication.
- Consider first-time attendees in your pre-event strategy. By providing an event app, an online community, as well as meetup sessions, you ensure rewarding connections are at the forefront of your next event for newcomers and veterans alike.
- Optimize networking at event sessions and spontaneous activities by reminding registrants through social media hashtags and push notifications. These spaces will encourage attendees to show up and spark conversation regarding the next activity on your event agenda!
- Make connections personal and provide experiences worth sharing. Allowing attendees to contribute content and assist other attendees will result in a personalized and encouraging networking event experience.