Opinion: Your app doesn’t need to die after the conference

Rebecca McDougall, customer support manager for EventMobi, explains how event and conference organisers can increase attendee engagement and loyalty by using an app to build an event community.

A few weeks ago, a client emailed the support team at EventMobi with a question that really struck me: “How long do my attendees have access to my app after the event?” 

The reason that this really jumped out at me is because often our clients focus on the app as a tool to drive attendee engagement and community during the event, but don’t recognise the power of the technology as a tool year-round.

Do you face a similar problem with your event attendees? If so, using your event app as a tool to build community and connections among your attendees is an easy way to start.

Your event app is your best weapon to increase loyalty among your attendees and hopefully drive registration the following year. Here are some easy ways you can build community within your event technology.


Knowledge sharing beyond the event


If you are using an app for your event, it’s likely that you have interactive features such as direct messaging, group discussions, forums, or activity feeds. These are typically used onsite to create discussion around specific content, like topics discussed within a session. They usually become more inactive after your event draws to a close.

This is why the framing of these discussions is important. While you can definitely set topics to be event-specific, thinking of themes that transcend the event itself and things your attendees will be wanting discuss year-round is a great way to set yourself up for success and attendee engagement. Think of topics where, if an attendee had a question, they would be inclined to turn to their online network, but instead could turn to your app to reach out to their event peers. Setting up topics in this forum helps set expectations that this tool can be leveraged after they had gone back home.

Some great examples we’ve seen are where attendees are looking to form mentor-mentee relationships, virtual ‘coffee shops’ where people can discuss industry specific news, and a hub for key takeaways from the event.


Concrete connections to increase attendee engagement

We all know that connections at events can be fleeting. You sit with someone at breakfast only to miss exchanging information and not see them again. The reality of events is that they are fast paced. We should be helping our attendees to form concrete connections so that they last well beyond the event and help forge your event community.

Within your event app, attendees can send messages and connect with each other. We are often asked, ‘when do these messages disappear?’. The good news is that they don’t! This means that attendees can access them after the event to maintain those connections.

Having these conversations within the app and driving attendees back to access them means they are likely to access other content within the app, so make sure to keep your content updated and engaging.


Use a multi-event app

Do you plan multiple events throughout the year? If this is the case, turning your attendees into participants is likely a key objective. After all, you want them to continue attending your events!

Using a multi-event app in your overall event strategy is a great way to let attendees know of other opportunities for them to meet their new network in person. By leveraging an event calendar or using individual apps for each event within your multi-event app, you can give attendees easy access to register, see who else is attending, and start participating before they even walk in the door.


Building community starts on Day Zero

While creating an event community is something that is usually perceived as a continuation of the event, the tone is really set the day you launch your technology.

Ensure you have group discussions ready to go, are using alerts to send updates and have content on the app that is current and will keep your attendees engaged. Remember that attendee engagement is key. By showing that the app is an integral part of the pre-event experience, that expectation will remain during and post event too.

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