Successful events don’t really end with the final session. Or shouldn’t, anyway.
As your attendees drive away from or turn their computers off after the final session, you don’t want them to be saying, “Event? What event?” Not only does that indicate the event wasn’t that memorable but that they are unlikely to register for one of your future events. Plus, at the heart of your role as an event planner, you’re trying to create and strengthen community. If your event becomes something more than “a nice three days out of the office,” you’ve really succeeded.
The event prof attendees of our September 28 Untethered explained this when they shared with us their best practices on how to engage an event audience from long before the event to well after it. Our Community Connection Chapter summarizes their most insightful comments. Peak inside the chapter now, as we share some of our Untethered attendees’ favorite ways of keeping community going even after your event.
The short of it is, community doesn’t just happen. No matter how incredible your event was, if you want to continue to build on the community your event created or rejuvenated, you will need to keep doing, not just wishing. But don’t sweat it. After the event, you have more resources than you had going in.
- Engage your attendees to develop and lead community-driven formats.
- Invite a popular speaker from the main event to lead a follow-up workshop.
- Use audience demographic data (e.g., professional roles, personal interests, geography) to create networking sessions and fun micro events to bring like minds together again.
If you record and no one watches, did you record?
You probably recorded, video and/or audio, much or all of your event for your digital audience and for posterity. You can also use those recordings to reconnect all your attendees after the fact. No one could attend all the sessions live, so send links to different groups, suggesting they check out the recording of this session or that one.
Sharing is caring.
Your sponsors, speakers, and influencers are part of your community too, and they’d love to be more involved in it. They’ve got relevant content? Leverage it. They’ve got cool experiences and games? Share ’em. They’ve got sexy tech? Use it—and get more mileage from your budget. Get the big-wig content developers who presented at your event to stay invested in your event, and they (and their followers!) will be more likely to become your followers as well.
Debate into action.
Pose a thought-provoking or provocative question or challenge from your event on social media. With a single post, you can stir up interaction, involve lots of people, and position yourself as a thought leader.
Remember, community is as valuable as content. Consider how much happens in the live chat during a session. Your attendees started forming their community with every interaction during the event; now, be smart and forward-thinking by strengthening that community after your event…and on into your next. Learn more by downloading our Big Ideas ebook and checking out the Community Connection Chapter.