Using mobile to engage attendees at events is a no-brainer. Smartphones are on the rise, with 77 percent of Americans owning a smartphone -- a huge increase over the last several years considering that in 2011, only 35 percent of Americans owned a smartphone. People are using their mobiles for a variety of activities including texting, looking at apps and videos, making purchases, and more.
Event coordinators who wish to stimulate participation in their event's activities and presentations can use mobile to their advantage by including an agenda that attendees can personalize, polling their audience to find out which topics are most popular and sharing videos of the event.
Here's how and why planners should be using mobile at their events:
Share videos on social media
Video is big and getting bigger. Just look at the statistics: In the last five years, the number of shared videos has increased by a staggering 2,084 percent. Today, 46 percent of all video content watched by Millennials is on mobile and a Cisco study reveals that by 2020, 77 percent of all video content watched in the U.S. will be on mobile devices.
When it's something that people clearly respond to, why not incorporate video into your event? Take videos of speakers or Q&As or other presentations and share on social media. Those who weren't able to participate in the event can benefit from it and those who did can share with contacts who would like to receive such information.
Optimize your website for mobile
If you're not using a mobile app, one thing you must do before your event is to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. A lot of participants will be accessing the information about the event such as schedule, directions, etc. through their mobile device.
If your page isn't optimized for mobile, you're doing a disservice to your attendees who may not be able to access the information they're seeking in order to participate in your event.
Text messaging is a great events tool for several reasons. First of all, nearly 100 percent of SMS messages are opened and 91 percent of those are opened within three minutes of being sent, meaning that you can be sure that your participants are going to get your message.
SMS is also one of the most no-frills forms of communication -- it doesn't require Internet connection or even a smartphone to work, so you'll be achieving pretty much universal reach by using it. You can use texting during an event to:
• Announce upcoming speakers or activities. Enhance attendance at activities by keeping attendees informed with texts.
• Poll your attendees. Find out what topics people want to hear about and pass on the information to the presenters so they can tailor their talk to be relevant to the participating audience. This will help run a more successful presentation by giving the audience a better, more personalized experience.
• Say thank you. Send a message afterwards thanking attendees for their participation. It's a nice way to close an event and leave things on a positive note.
Use a mobile app
Mobile apps work well to engage your attendees. Instead of accessing social media and SMS, mobile apps concentrate all communication for the event in one centralized location. With a mobile app you can:
• Create an activity feed. Allows attendees to communicate with each other, coordinating rides and networking through the app. It also allows event coordinators to post important information and stimulate interest both before and during the event itself.
• Create an agenda. Make sure everyone knows the event's schedule by posting an agenda. Rather than having to access a website or print an agenda, an app is an easy way for people to plan which presentations or activities they wish to participate in. They can even bookmark certain events and make a personalized event schedule through the app.
• Send push notifications. Using information you've collected about participants, you can send push notifications to help them have a better experience at the event. For example, if someone expressed interest in seeing a certain presentation, you can send a push notification letting them know that the event will start in 15 minutes or include a quote by the speaker to help stimulate their interest and enrich their experience.
Get people to participate more by adding a games element to your event. People love free stuff, so offering a prize to the participant who gets the most responses to their event-related Facebook post or who shares the most photos or who participates in the most activities or who is the first to respond to an SMS poll can all stimulate participation.
Creating a mobile strategy for your event can help you stimulate participation, personalize the event to meet the interests of participants and increase event success. Go mobile at your next event!
Alexa Lemzy is the customer support expert and content manager at AssignYourWriter and text messaging service TextMagic. She is passionate about mobile solutions for marketing and business, and she is always searching for new ways to boost productivity.