Social Proof: Social Media Check-Ins and Their Impact on Events
Once attendees are through your doors, how do you keep them talking about your event? How do you ensure that the excitement generated by your activities extends beyond the physical confines of your event?
This is best achieved through activity on social media. Fortunately, through the activities you provide, you can encourage attendees to keep your event and message continually alive on their feeds.
So, how do you encourage attendees to do exactly what you want? Well, it’s actually pretty simple: You fulfill their needs, and they will want to share their experiences. It’s basic psychology.
The Psychology of Your Attendee
It’s easy to forget, with our iPhones, Starbucks coffees, and all the modern conveniences of life, but humans are basically animals with a few essential needs to fulfill. We have to eat, we need to sleep, we must find shelter from the elements, and we hope to ensure the survival of our species.
However, we’re also much more complicated than that. Because once these basic needs are satisfied, we turn to ways to be fulfilled on an emotional level. This includes a feeling of belonging, a sense of esteem, and a fulfillment of our personal growth.
So your event, while it can certainly fulfill some of the essential needs (you need to feed these people and feed them well), can go a long way toward fulfilling their emotional needs – which, not coincidentally, can also help you accomplish some marketing needs.
Why People Check-In on Social Media
There are a few main reasons that people check-in on social media:
To meet other people
To create a shorthand journal that helps them remember where they were and what they were doing on a given day
To encourage other people to engage in a fun activity or visit an interesting place they recently discovered
To brag about a fun activity or an interesting place they recently engaged in
They feel a compulsion to do so, for some people social media is a habit they just can’t break
How to Encourage Attendees to Check-In at Your Event
Make it a game
One of the best ways to encourage social media check-ins is to create gamification elements around the check-in. Provide digital rewards, such as badges or medals, for people who check-in daily or at specific occurrence, like a keynote speech.
Offer exclusive deals for people who check-in. Perhaps people who check-in can receive a price break on specialty coffee, at the food court, or on merchandise.
Provide special access
If you don’t think discounts will do the trick, provide an opportunity to get into special speaker sessions or guarantee a seat at a particular occurrence.
Promote it in your marketing
In the buildup to your event, be sure to encourage that everybody who attends check-in through all of your communication, including on social media, your website, and all email communications.
Post signage encouraging check-ins
Utilize strategic locations throughout your event to remind people to check-in. You can create custom signage, or some social media apps will provide printable stands and stickers. However, you’ll probably want these signs branded with your event logo and colors, which you cannot do using generic templates.
Use QR codes
Another reason to create customized signage is that you can personalize them by including a QR code. By utilizing this code, an attendee can easily check-in with a simple scan and click. In addition to signage, this QR code can be included on all printed collateral: agendas, menus, flyers, etc.
Reward multiple check-ins
The more you have people check-in, the more your event stays in the conversation. So, use some of the above techniques – gamification, discounts, etc. – to encourage attendees to continue to check-in throughout the event. Perhaps you could even utilize the digital badge system to create a “loyalty” program for attendees, where the most active users receive unique event merchandise or another item. You can create a push notification system and/or send an email to remind attendees to check-in every day.
The Practical (and Psychological) Benefits to Checking-In
Networking consistently ranks at or extremely near the top of reasons people attend events. They want to get to know their colleagues better, to learn from and work with them.
Also, even though most people aren’t aware of it, networking fulfills a psychological need. It helps create a sense of community, belonging, and connection. It nurtures our inherent sense of society and communal engagement.
However, those are also the same reasons many people also find networking sessions to be awkward. People with social anxieties can become extremely uncomfortable in a setting where they are supposed to interact with a room full of strangers.
This is why your attendees will have a much more positive response to your event if you facilitate networking and make it easier and less uncomfortable to connect with those in attendance.
This is where it is essential that you monitor social feeds. By gathering data about who is checking-in to your event and the activities they are participating, you can create a networking matchmaking system. It will be easier for people to overcome any awkwardness and interact immediately if they know they have shared interests.
You could even virtually introduce people before they meet face-to-face. One idea is to establish chat groups based on factors such as business similarities and geographic location. This also makes it easy for these conversations to continue beyond the face-to-face meetups, so the networking will stretch throughout the event and beyond. Not only are you bringing value to your participants, but you may also help to keep your event alive in their minds until the next one rolls around.
Everyone wants to feel like they contributed, that they brought something to the table. Yet, at a crowded event, how can you build the esteem of every single person there?
As an event planner, you should try to include as many chances for attendees to contribute to the event as possible. This doesn’t mean that every single person needs to get on stage and speak to the crowd, these contributions can happen in several small, but significant ways. For example, a keynote speaker can ask for a simple show of hands in answer to a question or create a call and response activity.
A sense of esteem and contribution can also come from checking-in. The simple act of “planting your flag” lets others know that you are here and have made a mark. It is also a virtual reminder that you are part of a community and that your presence is an essential component of the event.
Acknowledging personal growth
Everyone wants to leave an event a little more educated than they were when they arrived. This is in large part due to the content that is provided throughout your event.
However, even the biggest epiphany can become dulled as time and the daily grind wears on it. That’s where the psychology of checking-in comes to play. By placing a pin on the moment, that person has given themselves a reminder of your event and the knowledge they gained there. It is a subtle, but potentially powerful, reminder of what they learned and how it can benefit their life and career moving forward.
For more hints on getting attendees to actively engage with your event, give Event Architecture a call at 972-323-9433.