Looking to run an online event, but want to stand out from the rest? The impact of the WFH movement can be felt everywhere and there is no doubt that more organizations are moving their events online.
Based on experience & proven data these are the 21 best ways to engage virtual attendees before and during an online events. Engaged attendees mean higher retention levels.
Why are retention levels important? Don’t just take it from us, The Harvard Business Review suggests: “increasing retention rate by 5% could mean increased profits in the region of 25% to 90%”. Yes! You read that right.
Interested in experiencing much the same results? Let's cover the methods that you can use in preparation and while holding your next virtual event.
1. Have A Game Plan
Like anything, you can’t just jump into it & expect a top tier performance. Here are some aspects that you should include in your plan to create an event people will remember.
2. Compelling Content
When you host a virtual event, there is added pressure for your content & event to pack a punch. Attention spans online are even lower than in person.
Many of us have sat in on virtual events where it’s solely the host & the speaker talking among themselves without any audience interaction.
An engaging event starts with a topic that your audience cares about. Compelling content is not about how hard you can sell your product, it's about how much value you can provide to your audience.
Brands that provide the most value, to their audience, will beat out their competitors the majority of the time.
Using an online studio, anyone can create rich and vivid content, including text, docs, images, video clips, augmented reality, whiteboard, animation, and much more all of which can be blended within the virtual event’s stream.
3. Production Quality
Moderating live events that have multiple speakers is key to the flow of the event. No one can pay attention to your content when people are speaking over each other & random noises come from participants who haven’t muted. To moderate these instances use VIP functions where the main speakers have a priority over others & non-VIPs have a request to speak button.
4. Live Polling
In virtual conferences, live polling has an amazing effect in engaging your audience. Using TeeVid, speakers can conduct live polls throughout the session. Polling incentivizes attendees to stay engaged and get involved. Live polls additionally provide added data to analyze post sessions.
5. Instant Group Chat
Do you notice those Instagram Live group chats with celebrities, athletes & brands? People love the chance to get their opinion out there and start a discussion. Active discussions where your attendees are engaged in critical thinking & conversation to increase your events engagement rate by 10%. Even if a couple of individuals are corresponding on the public forum, attendees who are not are reading/listening in; in other words, they are engaged in your event.
6. Allow Attendees To Hold Private Chats Within Conference
In a pre-COVID world, meeting new professionals & generating connections was a primary reason for attending a corporate event. Provide attendees the opportunity to build new connections & speak about topics tied to the event.
7. Live Q&A
Engage your attendees by asking them questions, use “hands up” features that the moderators can select to let attendees provide answers during the session. If the content of your sessions is interesting, attendees will have questions and want answers from you, the expert. Include Q&A time just like you would at an in-person events. In virtual events ensure that you establish a conversational demeanor.
8. Surveys and Knowledge Tests
Drive accountability in the attendees. Initiate surveys after each session, regardless of whether they’re live or on-demand, or give a knowledge test to see if attendees were paying attention. This is a great tool for educational content.
9. FAQs and Tips and Tricks for Virtual Events
With the new format, attendees will need to learn and by having information located centrally, they’ll know where to go. Create a guide for attendees with information on how to get the most out of the virtual event. Think beyond the normally written guide, produce and share a video instead.
10. Use Devices
No, not like your iPhone. Use virtual event devices to split up your event.
Event devices are mechanisms used consistently throughout events. For example, if you are a football fan & have watched ESPN you may be familiar with the “Come On Man” device.
These devices can apply humor & emotion to your events to make them memorable weeks after the session.
In-person events are all about networking. After all, everyone is in the same place. But virtual events can make the most of networking, too. A technique that can be organized through using a moderator is video happy hours, post events, for attendees to meet and provide questions or activities to help them make valuable connections.
12. Live Keynotes
Keynotes should be engaging, inspirational, and educational. And, when you’re virtual, it’s best to make them live to capture the full emotion of the segment.
If your event is made up of many sessions, try to have a live keynote session to build a sense of excitement and community.
Encourage participants to post their favorite quotes and thoughts to social media throughout. You can tie this in with gamification & set out rewards for those who received the most traction on their social post.
13. On-Demand Content
Record your virtual event so you can transform it into additional content pieces by repurposing & sharing across social media. If your event was “evergreen” you will consistently gain your online exposure to acquiring new audiences.
14. Be a Producer
There are few roles more important in live event production than the role of a producer. They are responsible for so much, essentially planning and coordinating all event activities. By taking advantage of TeeVid’s customizable storyboards, event producers can capture the moments & key points unlike any Zoom call.
15. Call Out Attendees by Name
While no one likes to be called out in the middle of class, it keeps you on your toes! Just like the classes of old or streaming workout classes, have agile speakers drop attendees' names into the session.
16. Be Wary of Event Length
Event planners are used to in-person events & many may think that virtual events need to be a similar length. There is a huge difference between sitting through a two-hour presentation at home compared to physically at an event. Sessions can feel longer & attendees can lose track of the speaker with a single notification. Keep sessions shorter than you normally would to keep attendees focused on the content.
17. Break things up
Building on being wary of the event length; break your virtual event up into segments. Segments that you can include are aspects suggested earlier in this article; ie. every 20 minutes or after a keynote have a Live Poll, knowledge test, gamification announcement, or networking session, where attendees can speak with each other one-on-one.
19. Livestream & Broadcast Across Channels
With the TeeVid platform event producers can stream their live events across social channels including branded sites, YouTube & Facebook. With these capabilities event organizers can reach their audiences at scale to communicate their value & messaging face to face.
20. Use Analytics
You can feel good about your event, but the real factor is, what did your audience think? Real-time & post-event analytics provide you with actionable insights into how to improve your next event. The key to any event is identifying if you accomplished your objectives or not.
21. Don’t Be Like Everyone Else
Use the suggestions outlined in this article to help you set yourself up for success & break away from the pack. Have a long-term approach to building a connection with your audience.
Look to engage, encourage & communicate as opposed to using classic sales tactics on your live events. Of course, you still need your call to action (towards your objective), but if your audience feels that you are providing more value than the price they pay, you’ll meet your conversion objectives.
At the end of the day we want our virtual events to be a success & it all starts with engaging content.
Think Outside the Box with Your Virtual Event
A virtual event doesn’t have to be a stripped-down version of an in-person event. While it can’t match an in-person event in many ways, engagement should still be a top priority. Going virtual just means that you have to think more creatively about how to keep attendees focused and inspired.
With virtual event platform; TeeVid’s online studio, the tools to create an engaging virtual event are all available at the click of a button. Using a first of its kind online broadcast studio, where event planners can produce content pre-event, engage 1000's of virtual attendees & create an event that will be remembered.
Additionally TeeVid provides you analytics enabling users to understand attendee behaviors, how your virtual event matched up to your objectives & areas where to improve for the following future events.