Messaging is an increasingly popular trend. In fact, it’s been said that messaging apps are the “new social media”. So even though email is still the primary digital method for business communication, messaging is used by roughly 30-40% of the population, which makes it a solid option for boosting communication and engagement at any event or tradeshow.

You are probably familiar with texting as a form of messaging, such as on your smart phone. But the term messaging also refers to private messaging through social media apps such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as communication through dedicated messaging apps. Messaging is not only an effective form of boosting engagement and improving communication, it is also an effective tool for increasing conversions one on one, and with groups.

Here are a few of the more popular apps that take messaging beyond texting via your smart phone:

A cross-platform messaging system that people can use free (even with SMS – short message system)

This is a cross-platform system that is one of the most well-known and widely used messaging services which also allows you to make voice calls and video calls. No Ads.  No charges.  Computer-to-computer.  Great phone app.

Viper can be used from your desktop or any other device. You can also make phone calls and send photos and videos to other Viper users. Everyone must download the program and register to use it.

This is a separate app that you download outside your regular Facebook to message or call your facebook friends.

This free messaging app is available in a large number of countries, has a snap movie feature, as well as the ability for video and audio calls.

Group Messaging at Events

There are numerous apps designed to easily allow you to create “group” conversations, which are great for users at events since they can then stay in touch and receive information without having to wade through their emails or other social media posts to find the relevant information. Plus they don’t have to share their cell phone number with other users to communicate.

If you are the event coordinator or marketer, group messaging allows you to know that the recipients are getting their information immediately, because whatever platform they are using, such as a smartphone or iPad for instance, gives them a pop-up alert that a message has come in. If you are going to have attendees rely on their smartphones, you should include this information in your pre-event communications and provide them with a link so they can preload any needed software ahead of time. And it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have staff on site who are available to help the less technically-inclined attendees download and test the appropriate software. If you’d like to provide a higher-end service that doesn’t require attendees to use their smartphone data, you could provide them with iPads or other tablets that you’ve preloaded with your chosen messaging software and are already signed in to your trade show Internet.

Not only is group messaging an effective method for boosting engagement and increasing conversions, it is also a great way to improve the attendees’ experience, because they are able to stay more on top of information, not miss out on anything, instantly ask questions, and input their responses to different event happenings in real time.

Some of the ways you might use group messaging at events include:

  • streaming conversation of Q&As
  • instantly inform attendees where everyone is meeting up for dinner or other happenings
  • live streaming attendees’ thoughts about a meeting or presentation
  • live product feedback
  • behind-the-scenes staff interaction to reduce issues and problems
  • instant attendee input about the event

If you are not familiar with any group messaging apps, some of the well-known ones are:

Free. This is “like a private chat for your small group.”

This allows you to see when messages are delivered and seen.

This is a smartphone messenger with a built in browser.

For group messaging conversations; can also be used for up to 10 people for a live video chat.

Event Messaging Campaigns

Another way to use messaging at events is as a method for increasing sales or conversions, or to encourage specific behaviors, such as visiting a specific booth. To create messaging campaigns that are successful, you need to set up a system that gives you that perfect timing – you are aiming to combine what you know about the user with what action they are taking. A simple example of this would be when an attendee visits your event page for local restaurants; it triggers a message that is sent to them, which invites them to visit a specific booth for a restaurant discount coupon.  Some of the actions you might use as a trigger for a specific message could include:

  • registering for the event
  • downloading an app, document, or other event information
  • nearing or entering a specific booth or location (geo messaging)
  • digitally signing into a happening, presentation, or onto a webpage

You want to make sure your messages aren’t all about selling, or upselling, so some of the specific information contained in your messages could include:

  • tips and tricks for getting more out of the event
  • Useful resources, event-specific, as well as for the surrounding area (restaurants and gyms, for example)
  • encouraging them to take an additional action, such as logging in to get some free goodies or going to a specific location to receive that free bottle of water

The possibilities are nearly limitless and will only continue to grow as messaging apps continue to develop. But no matter which messaging app you decide to incorporate into your next event, you can use personalized, targeted messaging to get timely customer feedback, increase conversion, and boost engagement.