Answers from Your Event Attendees

Feedback is one of the most important aspects of any event—be it a sale, a wine tasting, an open house, a conference, or another gathering– because it can tell you if all your efforts were worth it from your attendees’ perspective. Staying on top of what those people are saying before, during, and after your event will ensure that your future gatherings will help you continue your momentum. The good news is that social media makes it easier than ever to have a feel for what your attendees are saying

Following are 7 ways you can gather feedback, before your next event, while your event is still taking place and after it’s all over.

Pre- Event

· Conduct a Pre-Poll: Find out what your attendees are expecting from your event. This helps you plan accordingly and gauge how well you’ve done at meeting those expectations.

During the Event

· Be sure attendees can check in: Set up a Foursquare venue for your event if it doesn’t exist already, and let your attendees know.You and your attendees can “check in” and see who else is already at the event.

· Create a Twitter hashtag: Make sure everyone knows the hashtag by placing it on invites, registration forms, and on signs throughout the venue. Then encourage attendees to use it whenever they tweet about your event. This allows you to search for the hashtag and follow the conversation easily.

· Collect Twitter handles: Make this part of the registration process so you can create a Twitter list of event attendees to monitor during (and after) the event. Use attendees’ Twitter handles on name tags to encourage people to connect with each other and tweet about the event.

· Encourage photo sharing: When attendees post pictures (to Twitter, Facebook, or a site like Flickr), you know what it is they are enjoying about your event. In addition to feedback, you’ll get some great shots that will help you document what’s taking place.

Post- Event

· Send a survey: Within days of your event, send a survey that asks attendees if their expectations were met, how rewarding the event was for them, and any other questions you may have. You can also use what feedback you learned on social media during the event and follow up with a question or two to see how widespread the thoughts are.

· Say “thank you”: Be sure to thank attendees who posted to social media about the event. This could spur more feedback you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise, and will encourage those people to keep interacting with you in the future.

Any of these methods gets the ball rolling for you to see what your registrants thought about your event and how things went from their perspective. Once you have gathered information, you can see if you want to contact anyone for additional details (if they’ve agreed to be contacted), use the data to improve upcoming events, or get more ideas. No matter what option you choose, any feedback that you receive will help improve your next event.

Gina Watkins is a leading expert on e-marketing for small business – and has a real passion for helping businesses to succeed. Her ongoing series of dynamic lectures are filled with real-world examples, humor and results-driven wisdom garnered from more than two decades of sales, business development and marketing experience. In addition to owning her own business, she is an award-winning direct marketer, has been featured on WUSA Channel 9’s Mind Over Money show, Dr. Gayle Carson’s Women In Business radio show, Morgan State’s Briefcase Radio program, and in numerous other media. In her role as Constant Contact Regional Development Director, she’s presented to more than ten thousand seminar attendees about the keys to success with easy, affordable, highly effective technology tools that grow trusted business relationships.