A few weeks ago I was at a conference in San Francisco, settling in for the keynote presentation, when the event host reminded everyone that there was a free Conference app they could download with information and other links, and that a screen would be showing the conference Twitter feed all day. I looked at the people sitting to either side of me, and they were checking their text messages on their mobile phones, not their smartphones.
It reminded me that just 28% of all mobile phone users in the U.S. have smartphones and I wondered, again, why conference and event organizers focus on the new thing that reaches just 1 in 4 attendees, when they could create similar systems through event text messaging and reach virtually everyone.
Events, conferences and meetings are all about communication, and text messaging is a powerful way to improve that communication, expand participation, and talk to people with the technologies they are using. With that in mind, here are…
6 ways you can use text messaging for your next event, conference or meeting
1. Text Information Booth: Designate a line where event attendees can text for information about the agenda, expo booths, lodging, meals, or any other aspect of the event. Make sure that someone is responsible for responding promptly, and that you publicize this line in event literature.
2. Text Questions: Many conference organizers find it clumsy to run around the floor with a microphone for questions after a panel or speaker. Enabling attendees to text their questions will produce more questions for speakers to answer, and allow them to choose the best to respond to.
3. Text to screen: Empowering event or conference attendees to make their voices heard by displaying messages for everyone to see increases participation, expand the conversation and tells attendees that you value their contributions.
4. Text Message Polling: Want to take the pulse of your audience during a speaker or a break? Want to gauge interest in topics for the open sessions on the final day? Text messaging is the ideal way to get feedback from your entire audience.
5. Text Message Sponsorship: Text messaging is another way to get your sponsor’s names out there. With any of the tactics described in this post, your sponsor’s name can be included in the response text.
6. Text Message Follow Up: Establishing an interaction based on trust between organizers and attendees means that your outreach will be read, and that means you can follow up. Leveraging the text message relationships you built through your event at the point of experience.
And these ideas are just the beginning. If you want to talk about how to customize text messaging for your event, conference or meeting, we would love to talk with you.
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