According to an Eventbrite survey, 69% of millennials believe attending live events and experiences make them more connected to other people, the community, and the world. But how can you foster that sense of connection?

Don’t just rely on big-name entertainment or a cool venue to wow your attendees. You need to create moments of connection.

Here are some ways you can create those special moments that make attendees identify with your event — moments that encourage them to come back each year and bring their friends. 

1. Offer more ways to share ideas and build community

Events aren’t just about networking, seeing a big-name speaker, or tasting the most recent food trend. Events are a way to share ideas and build community.

Here are some ways to get the creative vibes flowing at your event.

  • Make it experiential. In 2018, Dell used experiential marketing at SXSW to build awareness of the brand — and to bring attendees together. Through its “Are You Smarter Than a Mathlete” competition, middle school students competed against adults in a battle of the brain. Winners won Dell laptops and a donation to a charity of their choice, paid for by Dell. Through the competition, Dell found a creative way to engage the attendees and build a community.
  • Offer more ways to meet the experts. Your attendees crave a chance to meet the people behind the scenes, but static booths and stages can create little to no interaction between attendees and other experts. Let’s say you’re hosting a flower expo. Rather than having sales reps at the booths, arrange for the florists themselves to provide onsite flower arrangement demos.
  • Extend the learning after the event. Create a Facebook group where attendees can continue to connect and share ideas year-round. To keep the conversation going, you can create prompts to spark engagement.

2. Create a mobile app that connects attendees

Feature-rich mobile event apps aren’t only a replacement for printed handouts. When done right, they help your event attendees network with like-minded individuals, interact with experts, and become active participants in the event experience.

If you’re new to event apps or haven’t seen much success with yours in the past, here are three ways you can drive meaningful engagement.

  • Connect attendees with each other in real life. Let attendees build a personalized schedule for your event and share it with their friends. Then, create meetup spots and send messages through your app to encourage attendees to get together in real life.
  • Gamify your event. The New York Comic Con uses a mobile app to generate hype with exclusive contests to win NYCC swag. Create contests at your event for attendees who check out all your vendor booths and “check in” on your app. Make it a game so each time they check in, they win something from your vendor, like a coupon or free swag.

3. Use influencers to build relationships

Influencers can help you connect — and stay connected — with fans. Because they already have a relationship with loyal fans, associating with influencers will make those people fans of your event too. And they’re gifted at turning those fans into attendees. In fact, 92% of consumers trust an influencer more than an advertisement or national celebrity endorsement.

Use these tips to use influencers to connect with your ideal audience.

  • Get attendees excited through contests. Contests are a cheap way to keep your attendees — and influencers — engaged. Contests don’t have to cost you anything. Give away tickets onsite for a lucky attendee to meet your influencer in the VIP tent. Your influencer is already there, and your attendee will love the prize.
  • Partner up on social media. Another way to connect your attendees and influencers is through social media. Partner with a sponsor to offer some type of promotion that gets both the influencer and the attendee involved on social media. Then, ask your influencer to repost some of your attendees’ posts. For the attendees that are highlighted, that will be something they brag about to their friends. And for everyone else, it keeps them engaged with your event.

4. Invest in RFID so attendees can focus on the fun

When your event is equipped with radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, everything from entry to payments gets people talking — in a good way. Not only does it speed up entry, but RFID technology also provides more opportunities for event-goers to connect with your event and with each other.

If you’re already using RFID or are considering it for your next event, here are two ways the technology can engage your event attendees.

  • Make onsite payment a breeze. Recent Square research found that 37% of buyers say their top pain point is slow lines. And if your payment processing is slow, you won’t just frustrate attendees — they’ll buy less merchandise. Use cashless payments, via either phone or RFID technology, to make spending easy for your attendees. Keep them happy — and coming back for more purchases.
  • Make your event interactive. For example, RFID-enabled photo booths allow event attendees to automatically email their pictures to themselves with a swipe. Make it easy for them to share these photos with their friends and drive FOMO for anyone who isn’t already at your event.

Make the most of each interaction at your event

Looking for new ways to wow your event attendees, sponsors, and vendors? Discover tips to set the stage for meaningful experiences in How to Create Moments of Connection at Your Event.