3 Pre-Event Strategies to Increase Engagement with your Customers

It’s fall again, which means events season is well underway. As marketers, we know how important it is to engage with our customers at events, and in fact 82% of enterprise marketers surveyed by Ion Interactive say engagement is their most important goal. But to get the most engagement out of your IRL (in real life) experiences, you must be proactive about warming up those relationships long before the conference doors open. (tweet this)

Let us show you with three tactile examples of how you can effectively cut through the noise and prime the online relationship with your customers prior to your event.

Social Listening

The most effective way to engage with customers is by being relevant. You need to show them that that you understand their business and what makes their customer journey unique. But how can you gain insights into their needs and pain points? By listening. Social listening gives you powerful insight into what’s top of mind for your audiences, so you can tailor your messaging and offerings to address their needs.

Social listening goes deeper than monitoring and responding to other attendees (although that’s important too) – it gives you insight into what is top of mind and an opportunity to position your brand as a credible, relevant resource. Over 25 billion social interactions take place on Twitter each day, so it offers a breadth of consumer, industry and cultural insights unlike anything else. Here’s an example from Sprout Social that shows how social listening can provide detailed, statistical insight into your brand.

As evidenced above, social listening allows you to break down the specifics of your social media audience in a way that teaches you something about them. Using social listening to break down the sentiment and conversations they have around the event is the first step towards building trust with them. After you establish trust, your engagements become that much more meaningful. When you do begin to engage, make sure you have something meaningful to offer, like a piece of research or a real-life use case that clearly demonstrates the value they’ll get from engaging with you. Ion Interactive’s research also shows that by 2020, customer experience and engagement will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator – so remember this when using social listening before your event. Engage first, build trust, then watch your event attendees turn into customers. (tweet this)

More insight into the dynamics and value of social listening can be found here.

Dynamic Content

Even if your content topics / themes are on point, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will get the attention or visibility it deserves. Help ensure your content stands out by creating dynamic content that drives interaction. Then, drip it out weeks or even months before the event. Developing high quality, dynamic content not only increases brand visibility, it shows that you are tuned into the concepts, people, and trends that will be showcased during the event. Examples of dynamic content include: interactive quizzes, GIFs, infographics, and sharable graphics (example below).

Paid Social Promotions

You might have a significant presence on social media, but it can be difficult to reach the right audience, especially at large scale events where there’s a lot of activity. After investing all that time and energy in developing compelling content – don’t leave it to chance! It’s important to get in front of event attendees so they’re familiar with your brand before meeting in person. This increases their receptivity and primes the stage for a successful interaction. Paid social campaigns are an effective way to target the attendees you want to reach and serve that content up to them directly. With paid functionalities, you can target your most interested attendees on Facebook, like Glassdoor did below:

This is a great example of effectively targeting the right people for your event with a clear and simple personalized message. There are other ways to use paid promotional content on social, too. Tap into your LinkedIn network to promote a business or professional event, create a Geofilter to engage Snapchat users, or use Twitter to deliver a high-impact image or dynamic piece of content to your target audience.

Go forth and engage

So there you have it: 3 simple yet effective ways to start engaging with your customers at events – before the event even starts! Remember: don’t just listen to the event attendees – engage! Make a plan to meet these people in real life at the event. Reach out with a personalized email or direct message on social media and let them know you’d love to connect.

We hope you find these helpful during this events (ahem, engagement) season and beyond.