We’ve seen virtual events take over the industry in the last few weeks, and as you may have guessed, virtual events are here to stay. Now you may be asking yourself “How do you make sure your virtual stands out from the rest?” and “How do I keep my audiences engaged?”. Well, we’re giving you some tips and tricks to keep the attention of your audience, without them getting distracted by other variables when spending their time online.
A great event begins before the day even starts. Grab the attention of your audience by giving them pre-event engagement opportunities. This can mean giving them tutorials on how to interact through the online platform, filling out surveys, or posting and interacting on social media. If your guests have the ability to submit questions prior to the event, it gives them reassurance that their voices will be heard, while also showing you your audience’s main interests. This is also great information to give any speakers or presenters, as they can incorporate the questions into their presentations.
If you have a smaller group, a great way to create an engaging environment is to host a virtual coffee room that opens before the event begins. This can be a video room where attendees can enter to mingle and network with the other guests before the event gets rolling. This will help them feel as though they are in a real community environment, that would otherwise be lacking due to the event being online.
Live Engagement During Events
When your event begins, it’s important to involve your audience as soon as possible. Begin the session with live polling, or share information from a survey they participated in prior to the event. Think about having your moderator welcome guests by name to give a personal touch that forces them to interact and stay engaged.
Throughout the event make sure to consistently ask your audience to participate in quizzes or polls that encourage them to stay engaged while also feeling important. Using live information will give your guests the feeling of having in-person conversations. Take requests and suggestions from your audiences continuously, and always ask for feedback at the end of each session or event to keep them engaged from beginning to end. You can also use push notifications to keep your guests engaged with updates, facts, competitions, and reminders. Don’t forget, social Media is your friend! Ask audiences to post on social media throughout the event, and have a moderator share these posts in the event in real time.
Connect Your Audience Members With Each Other
A major part of in-person events is the social aspect of networking and meeting new people. Consider break out rooms or sessions that will give your attendees a place to network and connect with each other throughout the day. In between sessions or events, try hosting a 5-minute meditation or an easy activity to get them out of their chairs and engaged. People tend to get distracted when staring at a computer all day, so giving the option of going to another “room” or participating in a fun and unique activity will help to keep them focused on your event.
Utilize your platform chat tools to allow guests to talk to each other, and connect them with themed breakout rooms. Similar to the pre-event coffee room, create a virtual happy hour where guests can relax, grab their drink of choice and “hangout” with other attendees to chat about the experience.
Gamification and Competitions
Competition and games are one of the best ways to get your attendees to participate throughout your event. People love to have a bit of fun while also having the opportunity to win some fun prizes! Social media challenges, like awarding the best instagram picture of your guests attending the event, or commenting on your events social posts, are fun challenges that in turn give you free marketing. Announcing winners during your event is the perfect way to ensure anyone who enters stays engaged. Creative prize ideas can be anything from winning a one-on-one session with one of your presenters or with your brand, to winning event swag, or online discounts. Think about showing the winners in a short video at the end of the event for fun extra engagement.
Speaking of swag, you may not be able to give it out in real time, but you can arrange to have swag sent to your attendees before or after your event. Consider sending attendees, or VIP registrants, a curated swag bag that corresponds with your event. Virtual swag bags are also an amazing way to engage your audience before, during, or after your event. This could include online sessions, codes for free downloads, and so much more!
At the end of the day, it’s all about keeping your attendees engaged, excited, and involved. The world of virtual events is growing each day, and to stay relevant you’ll need to get involved!
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