A few years ago, I attended a conference hosted by an important organization. I won’t name the organization, but I will tell you that--prior to attending the conference--it was an organization I admired. One that I respected and considered to be a leader in my industry.
When I got to the conference, all that changed.
The conference relied heavily on technology for the logistics of the event. But this strategy backfired—big time. The event organizers used about six different platforms—Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and several industry-specific websites—to notify attendees of event information. So if you didn’t check every single platform on an hourly basis, you’d risk missing important info. The organizers also hosted live conversations on Twitter, but the convos—thanks to Twitter’s faulty structuring-- were too disjointed to follow. Even worse, the conference had speakers via video calls…which failed miserably. As I sat watching a room full of hundreds of people shift uncomfortably in their seats as an important speaker’s call dropped for the 4th time, I wondered if this was an organization I really wanted to be a part of.
The worst thing was, that because all this mismatched and disjointed technology was the primary tool used to connect event attendees, I felt isolated for the entire weekend. I’m a little shy and I, like so many others, have a hard time introducing myself to people at conferences. I could have used a little technology to help me connect with the rest of the group.
All in all, the weekend was confusing, stressful, and isolating for everyone involved.
Needless to say, I think of that organization differently now. I’m no longer a member, and when my colleagues mention it as being a good resource, I admit to them how disappointed I was by the whole experience.
Whether you’re hosting a conference, a festival, a conference, or a neighborhood BBQ, technology can be an incredible tool for making an event run smoothly. But the key to using it successfully is to incorporate it so seamlessly into the event that people hardly notice it. Attendees should be thinking about the event, not the technology. The technology aspect should feel simple, inviting, and non-distracting.
How can you do this effectively? Here are some tips:
1. Choose ONE platform, and stick with it.
Find a platform that does everything, and use it for everything. Don’t mix and match. Too many platforms will confuse attendees, and will also make your job as the host more complicated. When the event gets rolling, the last thing you want is to have to worry about updating crucial information to multiple platforms.
uSync is a great for events because it gives you every tool you need, all in one place. From registration, to check-in, to the post-conference surveys—every step of the conference can be done on uSync.
2. Give people a way to interact
Deciding on a single platform allows attendees to get comfortable using it. Instead of having to awkwardly navigate a multitude of apps, people will feel increasingly confident on your platform as the event goes on.
Giving people a way to interact is huge. It breaks the ice, lets people connect names to faces, and helps them feel like they are a part of the event.
A great way to do this is to start a Collection on uSync that all event attendees can add to. Some people love taking pictures and sharing them online. Other people enjoy writing about their experiences. Those who are a little bit shy online might feel more comfortable adding relevant articles and blog posts to the Collection.
This multi-media feature can be used as a moving, breathing scrapbook for the event. It can also be archived and used as a resource going forward.
3. Use GPS check-ins to help people navigate the event.
uSync allows users to opt-in for location share. Users can share their location with a particular group for a set duration of time. So if an event attendee chooses, they can use uSync’s GPS tools to keep other attendees in the loop.
Imagine finishing the last conference seminar of the day, and then being able to see on uSync that a group of people from the conference are back at the hotel bar. You can send them a message telling them you are headed there, too, and all of a sudden you’ve got an opportunity to make a few friends.
Or picture a festival. How many times have you exchanged countless calls and texts with a group of friends to find them at a crowded event? uSync’s location share can minimize this chaos.
A speaker at an event can also use this tool to make sure everyone has arrived at their presentation before they begin. There’s no longer a need to play the “let’s wait five more minutes just in case” game.
4. Promote your event and sell tickets at the same time.
Promoting your event on social media is crucial. More often than not, people look to social media to figure out what fun events are going on around them. Even people who aren’t registered on uSync will be able to view your event information.
Because people tend to make quick decisions, it’s important to be able to offer them a ticket right then and there. People can see your event, and immediately purchase their ticket on the same uSync event page. Minimizing extra steps increases ticket sales.
5. Give speakers/participants a way to get feedback.
I hear it all the time: A colleague works for months on a presentation, only to attend a conference and receive zero feedback. It’s disappointing…but it also doesn’t give the speaker a chance to grow or improve. When someone presents their work, they want to have a conversation about their research and ideas.
uSync has an awesome survey tool that allows event attendees to get critical feedback on their presentation/performance. This can keep the dialogue going long after the event has ended.
This can also be a great way for you, the host, to get feedback on the conference. Not only can you learn how to improve for next year, you can use the positive feedback as testimonials to help you promote next time around. Awesome survey results can be made into infographics than can easily show people what a blast your event is.
6. Simple tools go a long way when they are all in one place.
uSync also covers the basics. Messaging and calendaring are majorly helpful when planning an event. If you’re working with a team, you can keep everyone in the loop and organized for each step of the planning process. Synch calendars, and easily message your teammates about the important info everyone needs easy access to. Having all these tools connected straight to your event planning system makes your team effective and efficient.
So much working goes into planning an event! The last thing you want is for misused technology complicate your event—or worse, embarrass your organization. Find a platform you can trust every step of the way.
Whether you’ve spent the entire year organizing a conference, or just the afternoon organizing a backyard BBQ…uSync will make your event fun and stress-free.