Virtual events are a fantastic way to bring together an audience who will be receptive to your message. However, according to the latest data, 27% of organisations cite lack of engagement as the key concern they have before hosting an event. They worry that they won’t implement the right mix of strategies to keep audiences interested and virtual event more Engaging until the final call to action (CTA).
The good news is that with the right platform features and advice from an expert, you can host incredible virtual events that are engaging, interactive and effective. Here are our top ten easy engagement strategies, according to our virtual event experts.
1. Embrace Virtual Event Technology
Virtual events can be a great way to engage an audience, but you have to be prepared to adapt your thinking to embrace new technology. We’ve seen too many organisations try to stream virtual events using outdated platforms, or with a limited understanding of how to use all the amazing platform features that could take their event to the next level.
To ensure your virtual event is engaging and interactive, work with an established virtual event provider who can help you navigate the technology, manage your event and even provide you with a virtual event platform packed with features. A good virtual event platform should include the following engagement features:
Managed Q&A sessions
Live polling and voting
Live chat (public and private)
On-screen participant list
Editable screen layouts
2. Be Creative With Live Polls
Live polling during a virtual event is the easiest way to involve your audience, and can be used for many purposes. As well as being a great way to gather data on audience opinions, you can use polls in a light-hearted way to spark conversation or to warm up your audience.
Why not start your event with a fun and controversial question, like ‘does pineapple belong on pizza’ to help break the ice? You can also ask your speakers to come up with a poll question relating to their topic for the end of their session. The results can be discussed by the next speaker, or make a great topic of discussion on your event’s social media channels. Poll answers could also be used to build your topic for your next online event.
3. Create a Social Media Page to Keep The Conversation Going
This takes us to our next great strategy for making your virtual event engaging and interactive. Before you hold your virtual event, create a social media page and encourage attendees to join it during the registration process. This is a great way to keep the conversation going throughout your virtual event as well as creating a perfect channel to advertise your next event through.
Post talking points in the channel as they come up. You can use ‘tweetable’ quotes from your speakers, results from your live polls, or find great questions to answer in your Q&A sessions, while allowing for networking opportunities for your guests.
4. Keep Virtual Event Sessions Succinct and Your Agenda Varied
Your audience is more likely to engage and interact with your speakers if the sessions are short and varied. If the theme of your event is a little on the dry side, keep things interesting by mixing up your content delivery methods. Working with an experienced virtual event manager who understands how audiences behave will help you to create a varied agenda. They will also advise you on the right mix of engagement features to keep energy levels high.
For example, your speakers should move between using visual slides, polling your audience and breaking up sessions with Q&A sessions. Another great engagement strategy is to finish longer sessions with a quick recap of the key points that were covered in their talk. This will help the audience absorb the information and encourage more questions.
5. Choose an Experienced Host For Your Virtual Event
It’s important that your virtual event feels professional, polished and engaging to your audience. One of the easiest ways to ensure this is to choose an experienced host that will help keep your agenda running smoothly. A good virtual event provider will have event managers who can host your event or moderate Q&A sessions for you. Moderators aren’t just the face of your event, they work behind the scenes to vet and queue upcoming questions, keep in contact with you through a private chat channel and monitor your event for any technology and connectivity issues.
6. Use Your Registration Process to Kickstart Audience Engagement
A good virtual event provider will offer to create and manage your registration process for you. This will not only free up your time and take away the hassle of what can be a painstaking process, but they’ll help you understand how to leverage the guest registration process to encourage engagement and interactivity.
Consider setting up an automated email that will go out to all attendees after they register with a downloadable ‘welcome pack’ that includes a virtual agenda, information on your speakers, FAQ’s and detailed instructions on how to join your virtual event. This is especially important, as some of your attendees may have limited digital skills and will require step-by-step instructions on how to join.
7. Award Prizes for Answering Questions
Encourage shy participants to speak up by offering a prize for the best question in each Q&A session. Digital prizes that can be emailed to the winner work best, such as movie tickets and gift vouchers. These are easy to organise and some companies offer discounts if you buy in bulk. You can also consider gifting branded merchandise from your company or sponsors.
8. Encourage Attendees to Use The Live Chat Feature
While structured Q&A sessions are a fantastic way to encourage interactivity between attendees and speakers because they are limited by time and the questions are likely to be vetted by your event moderator, not every attendee will be able to have their questions answered. By enabling a platform’s ‘live chat’ feature, attendees can chat to both – the event hosts and each other – in a more fluid and organic manner.
9. Have an Audio Option for Attendees With Video Meeting Fatigue
With many of us participating in endless video meetings since COVID-19, it can be a refreshing change for some to tune in via audio rather than join another video chat. One of the great benefits of working with a provider like Express Virtual Meetings for your next virtual event is that they own their own audio conferencing technology that allows attendees to dial in to a virtual event if their internet drops out or they simply prefer to join in this way.
10. Find the Right Virtual Event Manager for Your Virtual Event
Engaging the help of a highly experienced virtual event manager is your best strategy for creating a virtual event that is fun, interactive, effective and professional. Express Virtual Meetings is a long-established provider that helps leading Australian businesses create engaging professional events through cutting-edge technology. The EVM team of virtual event managers walk with you every step of the way to create a custom virtual event based around your needs.
Platforms like Zoom and MS Teams have made connecting with each other online relatively simple. However, if you want to host an online event, things can get a little trickier. To ensure that your online event is effective, secure and pain-free, we recommend that you reach out to a virtual event manager who can be there by your side throughout the process.
Get in touch for an obligation-free demo and Q&A session with one of EVM’s virtual event experts. You will experience all the engagement features that come with this purpose-built virtual event platform and your questions about the service and how you can host your most engaging virtual event yet will be answered.