Event activation is a crucial part of the event planning process. It involves creating a memorable experience for attendees that will keep them returning year after year. Effective event activation is vital to success, whether you’re planning a trade show, a concert, or a community festival.
In this article, we’ll examine what event activation is and explore some of the best strategies for maximizing attendance and engagement at your events.
What is event activation?
Event activation refers to the tactics and strategies used to create a memorable experience for attendees. This can include anything from interactive installations and engaging social media campaigns to on-site activities and live performances.
Event activation gives you that extra ‘Wow’ factor. Your attendees will come out of the room impressed and engaged. They will talk about what they experienced among themselves, to others, and over social media channels. Indeed, that is a good outcome for any event organizer.
What are the benefits of event activation?
There are many benefits to incorporating event activation into your event planning process. Here are a few:
- Increased engagement: Effective event activation can keep attendees engaged and invested in your event, increasing the likelihood that they’ll return in the future.
- Improved brand recognition: By creating a memorable experience, you can help to build your brand and increase recognition among attendees.
- Boosted revenue: When you create an engaging experience, you can increase the money people are willing to spend at your event.
The best event activation ideas
Here are some of the best strategies for maximizing event attendance and engagement.
1. Incorporate interactive technology to enhance the attendee’s experience
Interactive technology, such as social walls for events, touch screens, and digital kiosks, can help make your event more engaging and interactive for attendees. Consider incorporating these technologies into your event to create a more memorable and enjoyable experience for attendees.
Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are powerful tools for event activation. You can build a solid social media reputation by humanizing your event and engaging with your audience. One way to do this is by starting a hashtag campaign where people can post their experiences and feedback. It’s a great way to collect social proof from happy attendees.
⭐Related: Hashtag Campaign Guide for Marketers
Once you have a hashtag and people start posting content on social media using it, make sure you collect all that content and showcase it on a live social media wall. Displaying attendee content on a social wall is a fantastic event activation idea. You can reap multiple benefits by displaying real-time content from various social media platforms, including increased audience engagement, credibility, and brand advocacy.
Start tracking user-generated content published with your hashtag.
4. Make participation easy by using QR codes
QR codes provide a cost-effective and engaging solution for event activation. They allow event organizers to offer attendees an interactive experience while collecting data and tracking attendance. Here are a few ideas for using QR codes for event activation:
QR codes to break the ice: Create funny polls on your event display and enable attendees to participate easily and in real time by scanning a QR code. Wondering what to ask? Here are 54 fun and inspiring poll question ideas to ask your audience and break the ice.
QR codes to collect UGC: Have a QR code that leads attendees to a dialogue that allows them to post a message or a photo on your social wall display. It’s an easy and engaging way to collect user-generated content from your attendees.
QR codes to collect feedback: Simplifying the feedback process for your attendees is crucial. By incorporating QR codes, you can make the process quick and hassle-free by sending attendees directly to a poll on your social wall resulting in more accurate, timely, and helpful feedback.
5. Use live streaming
Live streaming has become a game-changer for events. Whether hosting a conference, concert, or product launch, live streaming can enhance your audience reach and engagement while providing an immersive experience. However, to succeed with live streaming for event activation, you need a well-planned strategy and execution.
Engaging with your viewers is crucial for a successful live stream. Encourage viewers to participate in live chat and Q&A sessions. In addition, consider including interactive elements such as social walls and polls to keep viewers engaged.
Google often sets up a live stream for their events. And they make a social wall part of the live stream, often showing it in the breaks between the individual agenda items.
A live stream, especially when it shows the social wall, is a great way to make an event accessible for everyone and make people feel included, even when they can’t attend the event in person.
It’s also great for people who want to come together for a viewing party to experience the event.
6. Incorporate gamification
Infusing your event with interactive elements through gamification transforms attendees from passive listeners to more actively engaged participants, making your sessions and discussions more productive for everyone.
You can organize a UGC hashtag contest, asking attendees to post a photo from the event on social media using your hashtag. You can then use Live Polls to pick the winner. Next, you can ask people to like the best submission on a social wall via Reactions. Then choose the finalists, and add their names to a poll. Your audience will then vote for their favorite!
If you don’t want your audience to choose the winner, you can still involve them in a giveaway by letting them decide on the prize. Add a few options in a poll and invite them to vote.
7. Offer giveaways and prizes
Offering giveaways and prizes is a great way to create excitement and engagement at your event. Consider offering attendees the chance to win prizes for participating in activities, such as games, demonstrations, and other interactive experiences. This can help keep attendees engaged and motivated throughout the event.
Here’s a great example by Airmeet, who ran a selfie contest called “Snap and Win” during “Events to Experiences,” one of their virtual summits for event professionals using a Walls.io and Snapbar integration. In response, they received dozens of selfies and positive feedback from their attendees. To keep the audience engagement high throughout the 3-hour event, Airmeet also incorporated an interactive session in between talks. During it, a moderator from Walls.io went through the selfies on the social wall and encouraged people to vote for their favorites using the Reactions feature.
8. Offer interactive workshops
An interactive workshop is a learning experience focusing on engagement and participation. Unlike traditional presentations, interactive workshops involve participants in activities that require them to collaborate, problem-solve, and create.
Workshops are fun and engaging, allowing participants to explore new ideas and perspectives. Participants are more likely to be invested in the learning experience when they are actively involved in the process. By incorporating these workshops into your event, you can provide value for your attendees and leave a lasting impression.
9. Explore the Metaverse
For a good reason, virtual and augmented reality technologies are becoming increasingly popular. These technologies allow attendees to experience the event more immersively, making them feel like they are a part of the action.
The metaverse is the future of events, offering limitless possibilities for virtual events of any size. Setting up a virtual booth and incorporating gamification into your event can significantly increase audience engagement and create a more immersive experience.
Consider using VR and AR technologies to create interactive experiences for attendees, such as virtual tours, simulations, and games.
10. Offer networking opportunities
Networking is all about building relationships, and event networking opportunities allow individuals to make new connections. These relationships can lead to partnerships, collaborations, and new business opportunities. In addition, by building a strong network of professionals, individuals can increase their visibility and influence within their industry.
Whether it’s a standalone event or a dedicated area at a conference or seminar, having a networking space that fosters conversation is essential. By designing a relaxing and enjoyable space, you can encourage attendees to connect and engage with one another.
One effective strategy is to incorporate lounge seating that supports mixing and mingling. Additionally, consider providing a unique chill-out area that creates a relaxed and casual environment. You can even designate a section of your bar space to speaker meet and greets, allowing participants to rub elbows with their favorite presenters. But no matter what you choose, use signage, comfortable seating, and extras like catering or drinks to create the ultimate networking space.
11. Offer exclusive access to VIPs
Crafting a VIP event experience can be an excellent approach to promoting your event and offering distinct opportunities to those willing to pay for them. VIPs are always in demand, and offering exclusive access to these individuals can help drive interest and engagement at your event. For example, consider offering a VIP lounge or exclusive access to certain event areas. This makes VIPs feel special and creates a sense of exclusivity that can make the event more appealing to attendees.
To create a remarkable VIP event experience, you must delve deeper into your guests’ interests and preferences. For instance, if your VIPs are sports enthusiasts, you could provide exclusive access to a private viewing area, offer meet-and-greet opportunities with professional athletes, or organize a VIP-only sports activity. If they are wine connoisseurs, you could provide a guided winery tour or offer a private wine tasting with a sommelier.
12. Collaborate with influencers and brand ambassadors
You can tap into their networks and reach new audiences by partnering with influencers and brand ambassadors. These individuals can promote your event on social media and create buzz around the event, which helps drive attendance and engagement.
In a way, influencers recommending an event are just an extended version of a “personal” recommendation that reaches a broader audience. Using influencers helps you create authenticity for your brand and event.
Don’t just choose any person with a following. Influencers must fit with your event and your industry by having a relevant audience or opening up a new audience segment for you.
⭐Related: Turn Attendees Into Content Creators
13. Incorporate entertainment
Live performances and entertainment can make your event more memorable and enjoyable for attendees. Consider booking a popular band, DJ, or other performers to keep attendees engaged and entertained. Consider offering live demonstrations, such as cooking or craft demonstrations, to keep attendees engaged.
A corporate-friendly drag queen could be the ideal emcee or host for your next virtual or in-person event if your brand focuses on diversity and inclusion.
Drag queens are known for their wit and humor, making them the ideal person to break the ice with attendees at corporate events. Think of them as the missing piece for an engaging event!
If you happen to go with this idea, people will want to post about it on social media. So, remind everyone of the event hashtag to collect all the content on a social wall and reuse it for promoting future events.
14. Create an event app
An event app can help you streamline your event and provide attendees an easy and convenient way to access information and connect with others. Consider creating an event app that includes features such as a schedule of events, a map of the event area, and offers provided by sponsors.
A feature that you can easily add to your event app is a social wall. It can help attendees stay informed and connected, making the event more enjoyable and memorable.
Melanie Geiss, the Director of Integrated Social Media Strategies at Creative Center of America, shared an exciting event social wall implementation that they created for the Mental Health Kansas City conference. Apart from social media displays, they also integrated a social feed into the event app, which was a success.
FAQs about event activation
What is the role of event activation in the event planning process?
Event activation is a crucial part of the event planning process. It involves creating a memorable experience for attendees that will keep them engaged and returning for more.
How can event activation help to increase attendance?
By creating a memorable and engaging experience for attendees, event activation can increase the number of people who attend your event.
What are some of the best strategies for maximizing engagement at events?
Strategies for maximizing engagement at events include creating interactive installations, using social media, offering on-site activities, and incorporating live performances.
Event activation is an essential part of the event planning process. Creating a memorable experience for attendees can increase attendance, engagement, brand recognition, and revenue. Use the strategies outlined in this article to maximize the impact of your event activation efforts and ensure a successful event. Effective event activation is the key to success, whether planning a trade show, a concert, or a community festival.