Creative audience interaction is central to making a successful event. Ensuring audience engagement at events keeps people interested in your brand. Without proper audience interaction techniques, your guests will forget the experience you worked so hard to provide them.
Audience interaction is the involvement of the audience in your event. Throwing information and marketing at guests through speakers and staff isn’t good enough. Including your guests in activities, handouts, and volunteer experiences is proper and effective audience interaction.
Check out the tips on interacting with audience below to win at your next event.
1. Play a game.
One of the most effective audience interaction tools is gameplay. Scavenger hunts, trivia, and tournaments are all fun audience interaction ideas. Make sure the game is appropriate for the time and atmosphere of the event.
2. Host a live poll or survey.
A live poll or survey will make the audience feel important. As long as your guests bring their smartphones (or tablets or laptops), you can use a variety of software to host an interactive live questionnaire. Consider hosting a poll about how they enjoyed the event to gain raw feedback.
3. Give free handouts.
Handouts can range from free merchandise to catering. Handouts are natural when you offer rewards for competitions at your event. However, to maximize audience interaction you should give handouts, big or small, to every single one of your attendees.
4. Ask for volunteers.
No matter what type of event you hold, you can always find a way to include a volunteer from the audience. For example, product launch events provide the perfect opportunity to ask a guest volunteer to test out your new product:
5. Offer rewards.
Rewards, such as from a drawing or contest, can include merchandise, gift cards, or discounts. Not only do rewards enhance audience engagement but they also are great promotion tools for your event. If you host regular events, you can even consider a punchcard for regular attendees.
6. Facilitate networking.
To maximize live audience interaction, set up a networking activity at your event. For example, you could assign guests to get to know their neighbor or to find three other business professionals in their industry. In fact, events can be entirely organized around networking:
7. Host an interactive live stream.
Audience interaction at events can be multiplied with a live stream. You can collect a larger audience by live streaming your event. To make the experience even more interactive, project the live stream at your event so guests can acknowledge viewers’ comments.
8. Don’t talk down.
Audience interaction at events is crushed when you have a rude staff or your speaker talks down to the audience. Before your next event, make sure you have a friendly, respectful team. Remember the importance of developing a positive relationship with the guests.
9. Create a contest.
Contests can bring together attendees from a variety of backgrounds. Try to make your contest tailored to your type of event. If you are hosting a dog trainers’ convention, attendees could send in pictures of their dogs in costumes. Judge the pictures at the event and have the audience vote for the entries. Be sure to offer a reward for the winner!
10. Interact with influencers.
Influencers can drive a lot of traffic to your event. If you have social influencers attending your event, focus attention on them as well as your other attendees. By increasing your interacting with influencers, they will see the value in your event and your brand, and so will their followers.
11. Hand out worksheets.
Worksheets are intended to guide your attendees through the event. They give your audience a common ground to refer to. Audience interaction at events can surround your worksheets if they are properly designed and distributed.
12. Connect on social media.
Create a Facebook page for your event. Come up with a Twitter or Instagram event hashtag. Choose a social network for your event live stream. Social media improves event audience engagement before and after your event, but you can also use it during your event to connect with the audience.
13. Send out alerts.
Before your event, set up text alerts to your attendees. You can collect your guests’ phone numbers at registration or at the beginning of your event. The alerts you send out can remind guests to share event videos and pictures or tell them what’s next on the agenda.
14. Provide catering.
Food, snacks, and drinks provide guests with the perfect opportunity for socialization and interaction. Especially if your event is hours long, catering is a must to guarantee audience interaction. You can even do some research (e.g., polls on social media) to determine what food your target market likes best.
15. Booths, booths, booths.
Any event can have lots of booths. You can set up sponsors and merchandisers to set up their own booths at your event. You could also staff a few of your own booths. For the most part, booths enable some sort of promotional activity. For example, virtual reality booths, spin-the-wheel booths, and merchandise sales booths.
16. Go outside.
Taking your guests on a trip outside for an activity or a special speaking engagement will inject the energy right back into a bored audience. If the weather permits, consider hosting your event partially or completely outside for some stimulating fresh air.
17. Ask questions.
Encourage your speaker or presenter to ask questions every couple of minutes to increase audience interaction. (This is also a great way to obtain raw market research.) Tell guests to shout out their answers, raise their hands and come on stage, or answer on a live survey on their smartphones.
The best way to come up with audience engagement ideas is to do market research then brainstorm appropriately. Event marketing is all about collecting raw, targeted data to know how to promote to your consumers further.
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