How to create a user conference that increases attendee networking?

Posted by Manoj Sundi on July 23, 2018

User conferences are an important component of marketing and promotional outreach for fortifying brand loyalty, market research, and engaging directly with consumers. Apart from these business goals, an important focus of a user conference is to encourage your customers and prospects to build connections that are centered around their relationship with your brand.

Why your users should talk to each other? For existing customers, user conferences give a chance to exchange ideas and help each other in addressing the features/efficiency issues they are facing. This is also a chance to build a network of fellow professionals and expand their connections within the industry. For prospects, user conferences give an opportunity to meet someone just like them (with similar product needs, business challenges etc.) who has already used the product or service and therefore can give valuable insight about its usefulness.

So, creating networking opportunities that encourage your clients, partners, and prospects to interact with each other should be a crucial component of your user conference planning. Here are three strategies that will help you achieve optimal attendee engagement and effective networking at your user conference -

  1. Encourage networking before the event
    Effective networking during the short period of the event can be a challenge for diverse group of clients meeting for the first time. Finding the right people to connect with at the venue, setting up meetings, having interactions within a short time period etc. can seriously limit the quality and quantity of connections that the attendees can build. So, exposing the attendees to each other and letting them get comfortable becomes crucial for creating an enabling environment that supports networking at the event venue. You can employ the smart networking options on event apps to help the users connect with networking prospects based on their profile and preference right from the moment they sign up.
  2. Use your event app to drive interaction
    Event Apps are an excellent option for facilitating pre and post-conference networking by creating an online channel for driving conversations and interactions. Apart from letting attendees find each other, event apps provide opportunities for the users to build connections with speakers, industry leaders, and prospects that are interested in your product/service. You can encourage attendees to use the event app features such as private messaging (one-on-one chats), scheduling (set up meetings at the conference), group chats, polls, contests, Q & A etc. to connect with each other. Additionally, integration of professional platforms like LinkedIn in the event app can encourage the users to bring focus and purpose to their networking efforts.
  3. Create opportunities for socializing
    Networking is not just about exchanging contacts, it is about building long-term relationships that are mutually beneficial. Having networking opportunities only in a formal setting often limits the extent of connections that your clients/users can build with each other. So, it is important to have opportunities for informal interactions where the attendees can let down their guard and really enjoy the company of each other. After-event mixers, gamification, and entertainment at the event venue, and group outings for exploring local attractions are some socializing ideas that appeal to your consumers. You can promote these opportunities beforehand during your marketing outreach in your emails, social media notifications, and the push notifications on your event app.

Networking is increasingly becoming central to ensuring event success in terms of attendee satisfaction - user conferences are no different to this. So, connecting the right clients with each other and providing them with a space (online and offline) for networking before, during and after the event should be a focus for your user conference.