How many times have you heard about a really cool thing from a friend and instantly wanted to try it yourself? The power of word-of-mouth buzz about something – no matter what it is – isn’t something you want to underestimate if you’re planning an event. Whether you’re hoping to get people chatting about the event before it even happens or you’re hoping they won’t be able to stop talking about it for months to come, there are a few tricks you can have up your sleeve. Follow these five tips plus our bonus one, and you’ll be well on your way to having an event attendees want to tell all their friends about.
Address every little complaint
While it’s impossible to keep everybody happy down to the smallest details, one thing you can do to smooth over any bumps is to address every little complaint. Even if it’s about something you think is small or silly, take the time to make the person complaining feel like you’ve genuinely heard them and care about what they have to say. And, of course, do your best to deal with the complaint and fix it if at all possible.
Have you ever had a customer service experience where you were initially cross about the problem…and then ended up happier than ever with the company after their team went above and beyond to fix your issue? I know I’ve had it happen, and it’s only made me say great things about the company afterwards! Issues inevitably come up and you can’t control that. What you can control is your response, and it’s an excellent opportunity to give attendees something fantastic about your event.
Not sure how to respond to a complaint? This blog has some very helpful and practical tips for how to deal with negative feedback about your event.
Surround yourself with like-minded people
One of the best things about attending events is that it gives you the chance to meet people who are just like you, whether that’s somebody who shares your passion for a certain hobby or who does a similar sort of thing to you. Usually, your chances are pretty decent of at least meeting a few new people who you have some common ground with. That’s the first step to making new friends or professional connections – and that’s the sort of thing that people love to talk about!
If you can help get your event attendees connecting with a bunch of new and interesting people, you’ve put yourself in a strong position to get people chatting about your event. This is especially good if it’s an event you want to repeat monthly.
Say you have a monthly meet up for startup types. If your guests have a good time and meet lots of useful people to help them with their startup’s goals, some of them will definitely start talking about your event. Maybe there are a few other people at their startup who could benefit too, or perhaps they’ve got some friends who are also interested in getting involved in the startup community.
Next month, these people may show up with a handful of new attendees who are excited to come because they’ve heard great things.
Schedule several breaks where people can connect
It’s all well and good having a bunch of like-minded people together in the same place. But…you should also do a bit of preparation to make sure they’ll actually have time to meet each other! It’s no use just having them sitting next to each other listening to a series of presentations.
Down-time is always much appreciated at an event, particularly if it’s a long one, as it gives people a chance to both relax and to meet other attendees. Maybe have a quick drinks break ⅔ of the way through your event, or plan out something more organised like an icebreaker that gets people chatting to each other. You could even ask people to introduce themselves directly (say something like “everybody turn to the left and introduce yourself to the person sitting there”).
Name tags are often a helpful tool to have on hand for these sorts of things. Not only do they clue your guests into the idea that you want them to meet new people, but they also make it easier for people to walk up and introduce themselves.
Use matchmaking apps
And, no, we definitely don’t mean Tinder! We’re talking about professional matchmaking apps here. There are all sorts of apps that will pair up your event attendees to get them talking (trust us, just do a quick Google search). These apps can be a really simple and easy way to take some of the stress out of getting people to introduce themselves. They’re often similar to Tinder where users get presented with a profile they might find interesting (er, interesting in different way than on Tinder!) and can swipe right if they like what they see.
Here’s a new piece about Grip, which claims to the be the first one of these apps on the scene, if you’re interested in learning more about how these apps work. They’ve had over a million swipes, so they must be doing something right!
Keep in mind that one issue you might have is getting people to download the app in the first place. If you really want to use one of these apps at your event, tell your guests about it multiple times before the event happens. If it’s a pay-for app, you may want to see if you can offer a special discount on it or even splash out for the costs yourself. Talk to the company behind the app and see what you can do. They might offer you a special discount or offer to give you access for free in exchange for bringing in a certain amount of users. It doesn’t hurt to ask!
Consider a pop-up location
A pop-up location just means a temporary location; it “pops up” for your event and then goes away afterwards. The idea comes from shops who would create a short-term experience for their customers that they could only get for a limited amount of time. Brands have used all sorts of locations for these pop-up shops, from boats to temporarily vacant stores to even one held underwater. These spots might be a store for a day or two, and then a swanky cocktail party the next.
These types of locations can also work really well for hosting events. They give your attendees access to something they wouldn’t be able to get otherwise, and that they know they can only get there. If you create a really cool location, they’ll probably want to talk about it just because of how unusual or special it is. If you have a photogenic one, it’s even better – you can make a big splash on social media if a few key people start tweeting or Instagramming pictures.
BONUS TIP: Look at what everyone else is doing – and see if you can do something different
Often times, one of the best ways to get people talking about your event is just to do something different. Don’t be afraid to play with the rules a little bit and really go for it. If you have a idea for something unusual but that you think will be a big hit, why not try it out? There are lots of tried-and-true things you can do to make your event a success, but there are also times when you should do your own thing, no matter what the rulebook says.
Stepping outside of the box isn’t a surefire hit, but if you pull it off, it can create a lot of great buzz about your brand. People love to talk about new, creative stuff they’ve seen!
With these six tips, you’ve got a solid basis for creating an event that people are going to want to talk about. Having people spread the word about your brand is the gold standard of marketing. If you can manage to get some positive word-of-mouth out about your event, give yourself a pat on the back – that’s a sure sign that you’ve had a successful event!