Live, in-person events will always play a role in trade publication promotion, but unless you can see just how well you’re engaging your audiences at these events, you have no way of knowing what kind of impact they’re making. Fortunately, just as the Internet has added a whole new dimension to the publishing world, modern apps provide you with a world of new opportunities for measuring engagement and encouraging interaction. Let’s look at four of them.
If you’ve ever been to a major media or technology event such as SXSW, you’ve seen the furious flurries of tweeting, Facebook updating, YouTube posting and Pinterest pinning that goes on seemingly every minute. LiveWall enables you to engage your audience even as they engage each other by grabbing up selected comments and conversations from up to 20 different social media channels and displaying them on a screen (and also as a live stream on your own Livewall URL).
The plug-and-play system not only shows your attendees the big picture of their interactions, but it also gives you valuable metrics and statistics about topics, active users, language, hashtags, et cetera.
Want to take a live, real-time poll right in the middle of your PowerPoint presentation? ParticiPoll allows you to do exactly that. This cloud-based program works in conjunction with a PowerPoint add-in that you install on your PC. When you display the slide showing your poll choices (while in PowerPoint’s live presentation mode), select the numbers of answers you want to accept and then insert the poll into your slide.
Now your attendees are ready to vote! You’ll have a voting web address that you direct your audience toward; this is where they cast their votes via their mobile devices. After the numbers are tabulated, the final results are right there on the big screen for all to see.
Q & A sessions are about as interactive it gets between event presenters and audience members, and a modern app like Sli.do makes this interaction easier and more entertaining than ever. Audience members use an event code to gain access to your event’s dedicated area on the Sli.do website, and from there they can ask questions or leave comments for instant viewing.
“Upvoting” a particularly compelling question bumps it up the priority list so your presenters and moderators can make sure it gets addressed. (This is a great way to get the audience expressing their opinions and preferences during the session.) Approved questions and comments are then posted on your presentation screen, either anonymously or with the questioners’ names listed above them.
Audience engagement isn’t always about live interaction on the spur of the moment — it’s also about the buildup to the event and the follow-through afterward. Good old email is still a fantastic way to make this happen, and thanks to the development of the popular service known as MailChimp, it can be largely automated for addressing even the largest attendee lists (although you’ll have to pay a fee for the other-wise free service once you exceed 2,000 email subscribers or 12,000 total emails).
MailChimp lets you create an email that populates personalized fields from a master spreadsheet list of attendees. You can schedule the email to go out whenever your attendees are most likely to see it. Confirm attendance, issue instructions, or keep up your correspondence with attendees long after the event is over.
Try putting some of these (and other) helpful apps to work in your upcoming live events. You’ll love seeing that confusing mass of strangers transform into measurable individuals and clear, informative conversations. The more easily your audience interacts with you, the more they want to know about your publication — and that’s the most eventful development of all!