6 Ways to Use Technology to Entertain and Engage Your Audience By @DanCarthy2
The key to any successful event is creating engagement. As the organizer, make every effort to make the guests part of the event rather than just being passive observers.
With technology now widespread and commonplace, make use of the latest gadgetry for creating an interactive event that will have attendees tweeting during and well after the event.
1. Video Mapping
First impressions are everything, and video mapping is a handy way of creating visual aesthetics that will wow your audience the minute they step into the venue. Video mapping is basically the process of using an irregularly shaped object as a projector screen for displaying images, slides, and videos. Just about any object can be used as the screen, such as a building exterior wall, a monument, or even a stationary person.
Think about how you might use this type of technology. Here’s one way: when guests are lined up outside the venue waiting to register and enter, why not use the venue’s front entrance as a video mapping screen for showing a welcoming video?
2. Event Apps
Event apps help streamline the planning process and also provide your guests with a convenient way to check on the event’s schedule and interact with other attendees and staff. Event apps, though, come in a huge assortment of varieties and can also be custom made specifically for your event. Personalized options often come with a high price tag but is worth the investment if your budget allows for it.
So what do you need to consider for an event app? For starters, they should have the following as their core features:
- Event schedule that can be updated in real time should changes occur during the event
- Guide and slide uploads as companion material for a lecture
- Map layout of the facility
- Directions to nearby hotels, restaurants, and other attractions
- Bus and shuttle schedules
- Company bio with FAQ section
- Sponsor bio with FAQ section
- Video snippets of last year’s event
GuideBook is one paid service that makes it easy for companies to build, personalize, and publish their own event app.
Keep in mind that even in this day and age, not everyone owns a smartphone. Accommodate those who lack a mobile by having a few printed copies covering the information above.
3. Use Social Media
You don’t have to be lectured about the power of social media. However, while there are countless guides on how to leverage social media for event marketing, most only cover the subject during the event planning phase. Most neglect to mention that social networks can and should be used during the event.
Remember, it’s all about engagement, so get people posting during the event. Encourage comments and tweets with an event hashtag about what a great time they’re having. You can also encourage selfies with staff members, other guests, and speakers.
To encourage tweeting among the guests, install a few digital signage displays that show the latest postings as they are sent in real time. The tweets can also be shown via video mapping mentioned earlier. In this manner, the tweets also serve as eye candy that creates a visually stunning backdrop. Whatever is used as the screen, just be sure the tweets are still readable.
4. Wearable Technology
Wearable gadgets like the Apple Watch and Google Glass won’t be fully in swing for a few more years. However, why not show your guests that you are ahead of the times by making the conference event-friendly for those who already have these items?
Event apps can be customized for compatibility with these gadgets. Like with a smartphone, Apple Watch and Google Glass users will be able to use their hands-free devices to acquire event info, take images, and watch videos. These items can also be used by staffers for tracking guests and acquiring real-time analytics. Those with wearable tech will surly have nothing but good to say if your event goes out of the way to accommodate their devices.
5. Digital Icebreakers
How can you incorporate technology into an icebreaker? Here’s one: have everyone introduce themselves to at least one other person. Once the handshakes and introductions are out of the way, have the members take a selfie with their new friend along with a comment including the event hashtag. You can actually do several rounds of these. You can also, for example, have attendees get in groups of three or four and then find a staff member to take a group selfie with.
An icebreaker like this serves a twofold purpose. First, it creates network and engagement among the attendees who may otherwise choose to stick to their own circle. Second, this helps to generate more social media buzz; plus, the selfies and accompanying comments also serve as material that can be used to promote next year’s event.
6. Interactive Kiosks
Images courtesy of Alexander Morris
It’s been stressed multiple times already, but it’s worth repeating again: it’s all about consumer engagement. One other way of achieving this is through some form of interactive kiosk. This is where you can really get creative and come up with multiple interactive games and features. Aside from the interactive elements, the kiosk should also serve a promotional purpose.
Here are some interactive kiosk ideas.
Photo booths remain popular to this day even with the convenience of smartphones. Create a booth where attendees can customize their own backgrounds. All backdrops, though, will contain the company logo in some form or another.
Include multiple choice questions related to your industry. If they pass the quiz, the kiosk will print out a ticket or receipt that can be redeemed for a promotional item.
This will essentially contain all the things that were included in your event app and is intended for those who do not have a smartphone. Use screen-touch features that allow users to acquire a map of the facility, acquire event information, an event schedule, and so forth.
Watch this video for more inspiration on what is possible with an interactive kiosk.
Get With the Times
The digital era is here and isn’t going to go anywhere anytime soon. Show your guests that your company is tech-savvy by incorporating the latest in interactive digital media. This will lead to increased engagement as well as have attendees tweeting about your event and why it rocks.