Increase Attendee Engagement with Visual Content at Events
“A picture is worth a thousand words.” That phrase is over 100 years old. It came to prominence in a “Printer’s Ink” article about the effectiveness of graphics in advertising. Just because it has become a cliché, does not mean that it is wrong.
The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. When we read or hear information, we are more likely to recall if an image accompanies the text or audio. It’s a condition known as the picture superiority effect. Without an image, people generally remember only 10 percent of the information three days later. With an image, the retention rate jumps to 65 percent.
Even just taking a picture can help retention. When you concentrate on the exact shot you wish to capture, it helps reinforce the moment in your memory. A study that had students look at 15 objects in a museum and photograph 15 others found that when the students zoomed in on specified areas, they could remember details that weren’t even in their photos.
Events are inherently a visual medium. By being thoughtful with the images you pair with your printed and spoken content, you can ensure that the most important information sticks with attendees long after they’ve left your venue.
Additionally, you are creating content that will help extend the reach of your brand and event. Properly utilized, you will find that the information you generate will help you convert your event from a once-a-year occurrence into a year-long conversation.
Don’t Skimp on the First Thing People See
The importance of your initial promotional social media posts and website banner ads cannot be overstated. This is the first glimpse that many potential attendees will have of your event. They need to be striking, eye-catching, and effective.
How can you utilize the graphics to highlight your upcoming event to attendees? Can you find a single image that conveys the full weight of what your speakers and planned activities have to offer? How can you encourage attendance with just these few posts and ads?
Choosing the right graphics to pair with your messaging will dramatically increase the probability of your messaging being remembered and shared. The right visual content is also more likely to promoted by the algorithms of various platforms.
Promote Your Social Media Walls
Research has shown that 96 percent of event attendees use a mobile device while they are on the show floor. Having a social media wall at your event is a great way to benefit from this fact and encourage attendees to post about your event in real-time. However, the social media wall can only showcase the social media posts that utilize your event’s hashtag. Unfortunately, attendees who are caught up in the excitement of the event often forget to use this tag when they post.
To help your attendees remember, you should have signage spread throughout your venue reminding attendees about your event’s hashtag. These signs should be bright, lively, and memorable. How do you make them memorable? You’ll want to utilize catchy, event-appropriate images. Of course, the event hashtag also needs to be catchy and relate exclusively to your expo.
Be sure to encourage attendees to post pictures they have taken throughout the event. The benefit for attendees is that they get a chance to see themselves on the big screen, which is a huge draw for most in your audience. The benefit for you is that the more people who post, the better chance that news of your event will trend beyond your brand’s regular followers.
By creating an effective hashtag, utilizing eye-catching images in your hashtag reminder signage, and encouraging attendees to post pictures to appear on the social media wall, you have created a plethora of engaging content to strengthen your brand and event. This increase in social media traffic will also enable you to promote the successful reach of your event to sponsors.
Livestream to Increase Your Content Coverage
Livestreaming significant portions of your event will help spread your message (and branding) to anyone who was not able to attend in person.
Often, event planners worry that offering livestreaming will lead to a decrease in physical attendance. Initially, there is practically no overlap between the people who want to attend an event and those who join it virtually. However, it turns out that people who engage in a livestream are much more likely to attend a future event.
It is possible to livestream any significant event experience: featured speakers, opening and closing ceremonies, special sessions, experiential activations, special announcements, product launches, and more. However, just because you can livestream it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. You will likely discover that some sessions are more appropriate for livestreaming than others.
This is especially true if you are new to livestreaming. It may be tempting to try and show your event from start to finish, but livestreaming just a few keynote presentations will help your organization become accustomed to the process. The goal is to deliver impactful value to your online audience, not oversaturate them.
Be sure that all presenters all on-camera personnel are prepared to perform. Livestreamed content cannot be edited, and there are no second takes. You will want this footage to be as professional as possible. All of this content can be saved and utilized to market upcoming events.
Continue the Conversation
Livestream content is not the only opportunity you have to keep your event’s conversation flowing. Once the doors close, reach out to attendees through social media while the event is still fresh in their memory.
Choose the social media platform and messaging that will best appeal to your demographic. Each platform has its own unique quirks, strengths, and weaknesses. Finding the one that is right for your brand will likely require a bit of trial and error. Ultimately, you may not want to stick to one or two platforms exclusively, anyway.
There are a few methods that take advantage of each platform strengths, including:
Monitoring the Twitter feeds of sponsors and attendees, liking and retweeting relevant content while occasionally commenting to remain in the conversation. Be sure to use your event’s hashtag.
Speaking of your event’s hashtag, continue using it across all platforms even once the event is over. You’ll find that keeping it active will help to encourage attendees to post and share their thoughts about the show.
Frequently sharing Instagram stories to showcase highlights from the event (or the run-up to the next show).
Utilizing Facebook Live to promote milestones, such as speaker reveals, the first day tickets go on sale, and special advertising campaigns.
Scheduling meetups between you and your speakers for post-event Twitter chats.
You can also use those recorded keynote speeches and sessions to create a series of educational posts. The more value you can provide to your audience, the more likely you are to retain attendees year after year.
Another opportunity to repurpose your content is to create infographics about your event. Because infographics are visually and content-rich, they are the ideal tool to share bits of information and promote your brand. Also, infographics work well on most social media platforms, making them extremely shareable.
There is a wealth of content that is generated for and by your event. By carefully creating, utilizing, and repurposing this content, you will help to keep your event top-of-mind throughout the year.