Networking – The Path to Event Success

Written by Kristi Brown , Vice President of Marketing at Hio

Remember the old saying “your network is your net worth?” That has been proven true, time and time again. Today, networking has become much more than a buzzword! It is a powerful tool that can make or break your business, event and even career.

Because of this, a majority of your attendees will want to network as part of your event. In fact, the ability to network is the primary reason people attend events!

Even though much of your energy will be focused on giving your attendees a memorable experience through immersive event technology, engaging content, and entertaining speakers, you should also give importance to creating opportunities that allow attendees to connect with one another. 

3 Reasons Networking is the Path to Event Success

Whether your event is in-person, virtual or hybrid, you can provide the opportunity for your attendees to network and make meaningful connections with each other. 

  1. Networking is What Attendees Want Most

When surveyed those attending corporate events, 82% of attendees said that networking is their top priority! That means that while your topic, content and speakers might be what attracts people to your event, their main goal is to connect with others in attendance. 

If you cultivate an environment that allows for meaningful interactions, you will immediately give your events a high quality and professional feel.

Since we know this is a high priority for your attendees, we can assume that after the event is over, they will be asking themselves: “How many meaningful connections did I make?” The answer to this will often affect whether they will be attending your future events.

  1. Adding Networking to Event Increases Retention 

Attendees are more likely to come to your next event if they know some of the people that will be there, and if they are aware of the ways that your event helps them to make even more connections. By facilitating networking, your events can become a mutual meeting ground for people that enjoy connecting with others. Often, they will share your event with others that also appreciate networking, which can aid in both promotion and event growth!   

  1. Networking can Increase the opportunity for Profit

One way to create buzz around your event, generate sponsor interest and boost ticket prices is by building a reputation regarding the networking opportunities you offer attendees. If your attendees  know they will be able to make successful business connections at your events, they will be more likely to refer others, growing the overall attendance, which allows you to secure more sponsors’ interest.  Plus, as the interest in your event grows, you can begin to charge more for tickets to attend. 

How to Encourage Successful Networking at Your Events

If you’re ready to incorporate networking into your events, the next step is figuring out how to make networking opportunities successful, easy, and fun. 

Show Them How

Keep in mind that while many of your attendees want to have networking opportunities at your event, they may not know exactly how to make the most out  of them. Plan to take some time to explain the networking opportunities and show them how to take advantage.

If you’re hosting a virtual or hybrid event, show them how to fill out their profile, or use the text and video chat features of the platform. Demonstrate how they can share their contact details with other event attendees, and explain how attendees can interact with and message each other. 

Send all of this information to event registrants before the event, and  take the time to refer to them at the start of the event. If you have how-to videos or guides with written instructions, allow attendees to have easy access to reference them during the event, in case they have questions. 

Explain the Benefits of Virtual Chats

If your event is a virtual or hybrid event, you will want to remind attendees of the many benefits to a virtual event.

For example, since each attendee will have created a profile, those connecting with them will be able to determine what things they might have in common, where they are from, and what business they are in. This allows for more meaningful connections to be made, contact information to be exchanged, and follow-ups to happen seamlessly. 

Create a Community Around Your Event 

Create a community where attendees can connect with each other, before, during and after the event. This allows them to create long term, beneficial connections with attendees, and keeps the conversation going, so that others may join in as well. A community can kick-start thought-provoking conversations and provide engaging content that will further intrigue your attendees.

When you create a community before your event, then by the time the event is live, many attendees will have had the chance to connect with each other, or have a good idea (or even a plan) about whom they want to connect with during the event.

Plus, when you keep attendees engaged and connecting between events, you can grow overall interest in your events, glean an understanding of what topics might interest them, attract more sponsors as your community grows, and even use the community to encourage past attendees to invite others to join the community and future events! 

Kristi Brown is the Vice President of Marketing at Hio. Prior to joining the Hio team, Kristi started, grew, and sold her own content marketing agency, which consisted of a team of over 27 people and over 140 clients. Before starting her own company, she was on the core team that started, funded and launched Living Social in over 67 US cities. Her expertise is in event and content marketing, pay-per-click ads, lead generation, and media buying. She believes that pizza is a food group, Drunk History is educational television, and Pluto is a planet.

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