As an event organizer, you know that event networking is critical to the attendee experience. Therefore, it’s also critical to your event’s success. Event engagement is a key driver of ROI, as well.
But that’s not surprising. What is surprising is how often event organizers don’t create networking opportunities for their attendees — especially because prioritizing event networking is one of the easiest ways planners can help their exhibitors nurture leads into prospects.
By prioritizing event networking, event organizers do far more than improve attendee experience — they also improve ROI for their exhibitors and sponsors. So how can you improve the event networking experience among your trade show attendees? Here are four ideas.
1. Help attendees connect with experts
Give your attendees the chance to personally connect with the experts they came to see. This is a strong event marketing play that event organizers should take more advantage of.
There are two easy ways to accomplish this. First, pick an event app that allows you to create speaker profiles and cross-link them with other in-app content. This helps your attendees and speakers make personal connections before, during and after the event.
Second, encourage interaction through social media channels during your trade show. Speakers love this because it helps promote their brand. Attendees, meanwhile, get the chance to join in, making them feel part of the conversation.
All that buzz creates free social activity pointing right back to your trade show, too.
2. Amplify attendee networking with technology
Networking is a key part of optimizing the event experience. Seize the opportunity by picking an event app that doubles as a robust networking app. Look for features that not only encourage networking but also make it fun and easy.
Some digital event networking features to consider when shopping for an app include:
- Personalized attendee profiles that act as digital business cards
- Direct and group messaging so attendees can nurture new relationships
- Smart recommendations that help attendees find each other
3. Leverage gamification to make networking fun
Event gamification is one of the strongest ways event organizers can spark networking. They can also use it to drive booth visits, encouraging interaction between exhibitors and attendees.
How? By giving attendees challenges and awarding them points through an event app. That could mean:
- Awarding points for every new connection attendees make
- Sending attendees to a sponsor’s booth for a special code
- Creating scavenger hunts that increase foot traffic
To make the most of event gamification at your trade show, give attendees a leaderboard that shows who’s winning. Event apps can accomplish this, but if you can make the leaderboard even more visual (e.g., putting it on a Live Display), you’ll stoke more competition and drive more engagement.
4. Get feedback on the networking experience
This last event networking tip is one of the most important, and it happens after the event. When you get feedback on your networking efforts, you learn how to make your next trade show even better.
Not sure what post-event survey questions to ask? Polling and survey tools such as Typeform and Slido have great resources for this. Plus, if you use an event app, you can integrate tools like these to make gathering feedback a seamless part of the event experience.
Making event networking a priority for your trade show may seem tricky. But with a bit of planning (and investment in the right event technology), you can leverage networking to create a better experience for your attendees and a more ROI-positive experience for your sponsors and exhibitors.