When you host a meeting or event, you want people to engage with you, right? Especially online. You’re likely posting on social media, and so you want your attendees to post as well.
But the question is, how? How do you get your attendees to actually post about their conference experience?
Give them something to post about - picture-worthy moments. Here are a few ideas:
1. Fun food
People love posting pictures of food. In fact, there are Instagram accounts dedicated to food pics only. But there’s a trick here: In order to get people to take pictures of food, the food needs to be fun, unique, and maybe a part of a cute set-up.
Here are a few ideas that might land you a few tweets/tags:
- A candy bar (if it’s set up nicely)
- A carnival stand (popcorn, soft pretzels, and condiments)
- A beef jerky bar (because that’s just plain cool - and unique!)
A popsicle/wine bar (picture this: popsicles dipped in wine; if you have enough of them - and they’re all different colors, this can photograph really well; below is an example from the Ohio Society of Association Executives’ Annual Conference)
2. Something unique to the host city
When people travel for work - especially when they go somewhere “cool” - they want people to know. Give your attendees that opportunity! If your event is in Texas, consider incorporating cowboy hats and/or boots (even if it’s just in the form of a sign and/or sticker). Another idea: If your event is in California, could you have surf boards propped up somewhere? The more you assist with these photo ops, the more likely your attendees are to actually pursue them.
Below is a picture from ASAE’s 2015 Annual Meeting & Exposition in Detroit. The Opening Ceremony was held at a museum where the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile was housed, and to play off that, there was a giant stuffed hotdog couch - which we clearly took a picture with!
3. A backdrop
You’ve seen people take pictures in front of backdrops before, right? You may have even taken a picture in front of a backdrop before. But the point is, they work.
Put some time and thought into this though. What’s something your attendees would want to have their picture taken in front of? The skyline of the city you’re in? Something that represents the city you’re in (going back to point #2). If the city you’re in is known for graffiti, could you have a graffiti wall to pay homage to that? This is worth some consideration.
4. Inspiring quotes
People love quotes. Period. And even better than that, people love sharing quotes.
Since your event is likely educational in nature, can you pull quotes into the mix? Maybe from your speakers (your keynote speakers, in particular), or perhaps even from your staff and/or members.
Note: You may have to reach out to people in advance for these (so you can figure out how and where you’re going to project them - on a sign, in lights, on a projector, etc.), but if you can find some good, inspiring messages, this could be a route worth taking.
5. Floor art (even if it’s outside the venue)
Believe it or not, floor art is becoming more and more popular (particularly at restaurants). Usually, these are just quick words or phrases etched into the floor somewhere, but they often elicit social media shares. (Below is an example from a local Atlanta restaurant, The Southern Gentleman. They have “Belles” written on the floor, and as you can see, people LOVE taking their picture by it.)
Now you obviously wouldn’t be able to etch anything into the floor at your conference, but could you place something outside - maybe in sidewalk chalk? Or get creative with floor decals? If your message is compelling enough (and visually appealing), people might just snap a quick pic.
6. Photo props
Last, but not least, there’s photo props. Now there’s a time and a place for these, so just be mindful of 1) what type of event you’re having, and 2) whether or not your attendees would be receptive to such props.
You could have a photo booth, for example, with props related to your host city. Go back to the Texas example. Props could include a cowboy hat, a mustache, suspenders, an “Everything’s better in Texas” sign - you get the picture.
Or, instead of having a full-on booth, you could have one prop, in particular. For example, an Instagram frame. We had one of these at ASAE’s 2016 Annual Meeting & Exposition (in Salt Lake City), and it was a great way to engage the crowd. (See below.)
Want more tips for planning an event your members will LOVE? Check out our complete guide to association event planning below!