Engaging at Events: What It Takes

Events are one of the best times to engage with your community. You’ve got anywhere from a few hundred to many thousands of your most passionate customers in one place at one time – what better time or place to form connections and get feedback?

For successful event engagement, you need a few key things. In no particular order, they are:

A goal. What does a “successful event” look like from an engagement standpoint? Are there specific things you’re trying to get feedback on? Is there a call to action you’re trying to communicate? What is it that will make you feel like the event was time and money well spent? The answer is going to be different for every group or company, but for best results you need to have one.

A place to talk. Having a booth is all well and good, but if there’s no place in that booth where you can sit down and talk, you’re missing out on an opportunity. If you don’t have the space for an actual seating area, at the very least, have furniture that people can gather around. Here’s a few examples, from bad to best:

No place to sit. Uninviting open space says "keep away"

No place to sit. Uninviting open space says "keep away"

Two different areas to engage - a step in the right direction

Two different areas to engage - a step in the right direction

Nice big booth. Lots of places to sit and chat!

Lots of places to sit and chat!

See what I mean?

The last thing you need is people whose job it is to engage. Our social and community teams do a lot of the heavy lifting here, but if you need extra hands to help, attitude is the most important thing. Someone with good listening skills and a willingness to engage with customers can be brought up to speed on the rest. If it’s a technical event, having someone with deep technical skill is necessary, but it’s OK to hand off people looking for more help than you can give them as long as it’s done with tact.

In the Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram / YouTube / etc etc era, it’s easy to forget about the value of face to face encounters. Make sure you keep some event engagement as part of your mix, because those personal connections are an incredibly powerful part of community building.

What are some other things you’ve learned about building community connection at events? Let me know in the comments.

Photo Credit: #1 and #2, me. #3: O─čuz Demirkap─▒

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