For Engage Comms’ clients like not-for-profit membership organisation Money Advice Liaison Group (MALG) whose core proposition was face-to-face events, the Covid-19 lockdown could have created an existential crisis. But, like many others, we were able to help them quickly adapt to a virtual model (thanks to our partnership approach with the brilliant Heidi Oliver at Absolutely Admin and also to the fact we had already laid a strong digital communications platform pre-pandemic).
It’s been an experimental few years since, transitioning to a hybrid model and dealing with a long period of uncertainty around the re-introduction of face-to-face events, which meant that, although the attendance was still fairly good at the MALG Conference 2021 (even if some speakers did have to be zoomed in on the big screen at the last minute!), we saw a drop in online engagement. It seemed that, while people were happy to be ‘back in the room’, they couldn’t cope with being both physically and virtually there, after such a long time in isolation.
The reason online engagement from conference delegates, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, and organisers is so important is that it extends the reach of the conference way beyond the day itself. It creates a captive audience to sell tickets to in future and builds the brand’s reach and influence to cross-sell other services and help to achieve wider organisational objectives beyond ticket/exhibition stand/sponsorship package sales.
Having recently completed analysis and even entered an award for it, we are very proud to report that the MALG Conference 2022 was not only one of it’s most successful yet in its physical form, but also saw MALG’s online engagement reaching an all-time high. During the month of the event alone, MALG gained a raft of new followers, received over 2k profile visits, as well as 20k impressions on LinkedIn and Twitter – all from a highly relevant, sector-specific audience!
What we have been most pleased to see with MALG’s social media presence over the last year is the almost 30% increase in engagement (which is key for any membership organisation), and the influx of user-generated posts shared by Members and other key stakeholders. Industry leaders and influencers have been proudly supporting and shouting about their involvement with MALG unprompted, extending its reach to their whole networks with third-party endorsement. As an organisation whose brand we have been building in a whole host of ways over the long-term since 2017, this is a really clear indication that we’ve achieved what we set out to do. And with further growth both online and off continuing, it seems the only way is up!
We’ve seen similar trends with other clients’ events post-pandemic: If the content is strong enough and the proposition is unique/compelling enough, when people do step away from the workplace or home office for a face-to-face session, they are more engaged than ever. As with everything in B2B branding and marketing, quality over quantity is vital – but if you can effectively utilise online channels, you can achieve both value and volume.