Virtual events have upgraded the way organizations are able to communicate with clients, customers, and association members, and as the world continues to emerge from the pandemic of 2020, it has become even clearer that virtual events are here to stay.
Cracking the code to hosting events online can be challenging. There are so many questions: What type of platform do you need? What technology or applications should you include? What are the benefits? Can you even customize an online event to suit your needs? And how can you make it all work? What can you do to help keep everyone engaged and fully active in what is going on during the event?
Cut all these worries down by making sure key solutions are put in place before the launch date of your event.
Organizations can host several types of events online, be it a marketplace and trade show for products and services, college fairs, or even training sessions and recruitment and interview preparation for prospective employees.
No matter the type of event, it is important to ensure the event is also a memorable and enjoyable experience. Don’t leave it up to chance with the hope that memorable experiences will evolve on their own. Create those moments as part of your event!
Use engaging videos and polls to get attendees talking. Post interesting event facts on virtual display boards and in chat rooms. No one likes to miss out on a good thing, so include exclusive event perks and giveaways. Use the positives of FOMO (fear of missing out) to your organization's advantage - limit the availability of a few key giveaways and display a countdown clock during your online event so attendees feel even more motivated to claim a particular freebie before they're all gone!
Learning and development remains a powerful feature for any event. Incorporate visual and informative material that event attendees can access and download for future use. Creating memorable experiences also comes from setting the stage for your entire event. Host your event on a virtual events platform that will allow you to create customized and interactive virtual spaces that attendees can explore. See what a customized virtual environment looks like for yourself!
Creating opportunities for engagement and networking during an online event is important. But what can sometimes be overlooked is giving a boost to engagement and networking opportunities by including a little fun.
Host your virtual event on a platform that will allow integration with your preferred social media networks. Not only can you use social media to generate conversations around your organization, you can also use your social media network to generate excitement for your virtual event; feeding audiences’ interest in the event topics, as well as in the event host and invited speakers. By skillfully using social media networks, you can put in the necessary groundwork that will help you to build a community around your virtual event before the event launch date.
Once you have integrated your social media networks with the virtual events platform, you can keep the conversation going on social media networks by leveraging your event community during the virtual event! Create event hashtags, and unique event gifs and images so attendees can get involved in the social media conversation by sharing event gifs and images and by using your event hashtags to tag what they have shared. Include polls and roundups about popular moments and sessions when sharing live content from your event. Post shout-outs to highlight sponsors and do the same for attendees who have won quizzes and prizes. And most definitely, re-share relevant content from event attendees.
Combined, these tips will allow your event community to connect and engage in event conversations across multiple online spaces, while allowing you to tap into ways to amplify key conversations around your online event!
Here is another major point to consider: it can become challenging for attendees to maintain focus during virtual events, especially after a few hours. Infusing dashes of fun into your virtual event is an important way to combat event fatigue and is something you absolutely need to plan for. Event gamification is an excellent way to revive attendees and keep them engaged throughout your event, so be sure to host your event on a virtual events platform that has capabilities for gamification.
To maintain interest during your virtual event, you could include interactive moments for question-and-answer sessions where attendees can talk to each other and to event speakers. Q&A sessions could even include event trivia questions displayed on a score board and exclusive event prizes for attendees who answer questions correctly.
Attendee avatars is another engaging feature of event gamification. In addition to allowing attendees to choose and refine the look of their avatars for the event, you can also allow attendees to level-up and customize their avatars even further by winning event prizes, or by gaining bonus features as rewards for purchasing certain items if you intend to include retail opportunities as part of the event. To encourage more engagement, you can go the extra step by making avatar photos available to attendees so they can share the images on social media!
There are other things you can do to bring the fun to engagement and networking. Create customized spaces for meet-and-greets and professional networking. These spaces could be a virtual café, a cocktail lounge, or any virtual environment you choose. You could also allow attendees to create or upload digital business cards that they can exchange with ease in a virtual world. Again, you will need to ensure you find a virtual events platform that will make it possible for you to customize the virtual spaces for your event and allow you to really enhance opportunities for networking and engagement.
Ultimately, by incorporating the right tools and strategies to include fun and counteract event fatigue, you will be able to facilitate two key things for your event: opportunities where attendees can expand discussions on topics they have just learned; and openings for breaks and chats to enable online attendees to fuel their interest and stay motivated for the next session.
Virtual events are a treasure trove for content! From evergreen content, blogs, whitepapers and social media posts, the end of your virtual event is where new content begins. Use your past events as an inspiration for creating future content.
Popular event sessions and attendee feedback about those sessions are good sources for topics for blogs and social media posts. A comparative review of your most successful event with one that was not quite as successful could become an interesting blog or whitepaper. Sharing reviews from event speakers and select attendees can be another layer of content that offers further insight into the overall event experience.
Producing content based on past events will extend the conversation around those events and will also help to generate audience interest in events to come. Furthermore, creating feature content of this nature is ideal for organizations seeking to position themselves as thought-leaders in their field.
No matter which type of content you decide to create, or the format you choose to use, always make sure your content is relevant to your audience.
Virtual events are a fantastic way to make your events accessible to your audience. Develop your ideas from start to finish and put your plans into action. We can always use more inspiration, so here are 10 effective ideas to improve audience engagement during a virtual event.
Remember, when facing the challenge of hosting a virtual event in the best way possible, break everything down into achievable goals. Motivate your audience with memorable experiences. Bring in the fun! And draw your inspiration from the lessons your have learned. Breaking it down this way will help your organization with its strategy to win with virtual events.