Virtual events have proven effective in boosting audience reach and attendance beyond geographic boundaries, and do so within highly affordable budgets. And the key to a successful virtual event? Keeping your audience engaged. It is a fact most people understand but is sometimes harder to implement.
When attention comes at a premium, how do you keep attendees engaged? We have seven ideas for how to keep attendees entertained at virtual events and prevent burnout.
1. Understand Your Audience
The first order of business in terms of identifying and attracting the right audience for your event should be focused on internal planning. Make sure your virtual event suits your niche audiences and would be able to engage them in a way that they would easily grasp.
Try to answer these simple questions about your audience:
1. How tech-savvy is my average audience?
2. What kind of format would they best engage in about an industry topic or discussion?
3. Would they be comfortable using the modern virtual event features?
2. Compelling Content
When you go virtual, your content needs to pack a punch. It is the driving force behind registrations and audience engagement. Understanding how to develop and deliver content for online purposes is key to creating a content strategy that will yield results in the short, medium, and long term.
The production quality of your virtual event, such as your set design, exhibition booths, and meeting room layout, is also important. Graphics and great video quality will keep attendees glued to the screen.
3. Live Q&A & Polling
Let your attendees interact with the speaker, and allow them to ask questions during the session. You can conduct live polls, gather opinions, or take the pulse of your audience. Live polls and live Q&A are embeddable, so you can leverage them on your own custom websites. These are simple, effective ways to get a conversation going with people watching your live events.
For individuals and job seekers, networking can be a means to further their careers. For business owners, it can be the method of searching for new partners, sponsors, or the next sale. Connect attendees based on common interests, random matchups, or shared event goals. Networking can be done by pairing attendees into virtual chat rooms, so they can strike up a quick conversation.
Almost everyone likes to play games. Use gamification in your virtual event platform to engage attendees in challenges for prizes. It is also a great opportunity to engage sponsors for the prizes!
A few gamification ideas include scavenger hunts, trivia questions, and awarding points for dedicated actions. Attendees will receive points for each completed challenge, and they can see where they are on a leaderboard. Real-time interaction between you and your audience means more eyeballs, more growth, and more impact.
6. Host Breakout Sessions
Breakouts are workshop-style groups geared toward discussion, collaboration, and problem-solving. Typically placed right after a big session, breakouts split your large audience into smaller, more manageable groups that are more conducive to conversation and participation.
If done right, breakout rooms give your attendees the chance to make all the connections and memories your marketing promises. In the virtual space, breakouts also double as a valuable engagement tool. Since attendees chat one-on-one, breakouts can replace the spontaneous coffee break and bathroom line conversations that get lost in a virtual event setting.
7. On-demand Content
The talks at a virtual event can be dense and technical, so that’s why attendees being able to watch them in their own time is helpful. On-demand sessions allow attendees to mix and match content and watch sessions at their own pace. If you want attendees to stick to an agenda, give them a little wiggle room and add time in for breaks.
Learn about Silversea Media Group’s virtual event solutions here.