Eighty percent of marketing leaders consider virtual events as a tool to increase brand awareness. Large companies use virtual events as a way to generate leads.
To deliver a great ROI, you need a strong engagement strategy. It would help if you had a happy audience to generate leads or determine what kinds of participants will return to your event. It would help if you had a satisfied audience to refer to your business contacts. A happy audience is both entertained and engaged.
You don’t just want your virtual audience to watch and listen to your content. You want to inspire your audience, your participants to talk to each other and you. Participants are truly engaged when they can interact with each other and not simply listen and watch speakers. While this may seem counterintuitive, when well orchestrated, this allows your audience to remain engaged together through a sense of cultivated community, strengthening the memory and enjoyment of the event.
Here are several steps you can practice to get your audience engaged.
Know Your Audience
The first rule of communication is to know your audience. Place yourself in your audience’s shoes. Think about what they have to gain from your event. Consider the environment. Then, determine how you can bring your audience into the conversation and pull them away from distractions.
Focusing on your audience calms their nerves. Shift your viewpoint from what you’re apprehensive about, and focus on your purpose. You want to ensure your audience understands your message and content. Many communication professionals use this strategy to their advantage to maintain engagement and create a dialogue that lasts long after they leave the microphone.
Ask questions of your audience. Encourage a brief status update, add a piece of personal information, or focus on a challenge they’re facing.
For public speakers, create small chat groups, and use them to ask questions about your audience. Emailing the audience is also a good idea. If you want to do this in large groups, make sure you get a moderator to go through the responses so the speaker can focus on the material.
Virtual check-ins allow the audience to share positive updates or challenges. They help foster authentic engagement and support. This strategy helps the conversation feel more personal. It builds relationships and avoids your typical meeting or speaking engagement’s impersonal mentality, and with a little planning, takes very little time at all.
Make Room for Conversation
Making room for the conversation at your event goes by beyond 15 minutes of Q&A. Viewers feel more engaged the more they can interact with others and be a part of the conversation.
Having the ability to talk to you or the session’s leader will keep their attention and thus keep them engaged. Polling, live annotation, and chat functionality of your virtual event platform will enhance your engagement.
If you pre-record your content, consider adding 10 minutes in the middle of the session for viewers to have a conversation. Record several points of engagement. This data helps evolve your event experience creating a more profound sense of connection with the host and each other.
Virtual Hot Seats
For smaller meetings, you can get real-time feedback by placing someone in a virtual hot seat. To do this, select an individual or team to share a challenge or question. Provide real-time feedback as a presenter, or crowdsource solutions with the whole group. This tool can create tremendous, positive, and strong engagement with your audience.
Companies report increased success by adding a game element to their virtual events. Companies can do this strategy in many different ways. One effective method is to add a points system or other incentive structure for the different ways your audience engages.
The point is that people get rewarded for engaging in the conversation. This strategy inspires more discussion and more engagement and helps keep the ball rolling.
Try Panel Discussions and Interviews
Panel discussions and interviews usage can dynamically deliver content. Audiences can submit questions. Panels give your speakers a chance to interact with their audience.
This feature gives your audience more reasons to participate. Get your speakers together, initiate conversations between them that are timely, relevant, and maybe even controversial.
Panels and interviews put some spontaneous elements into your virtual event. They will make your virtual event feel more like the event is lively and accessible–instead of just a tutorial.
Reward Your Participants
You want your participants to feel like your virtual event is worth their time. Providing rewards will likely increase your event’s ROI. These rewards should align with the participants’ objectives.
Consider sharing data insights that are relevant to their interests or journey. This data can help viewers learn more about themselves.
You could also send your participants critical points of each session. If you don’t send them this information directly, share it on social media or another platform which enables you to diversify your avenues of engagement and increase your mindshare. Consider creating incentives for participation in your virtual sessions. Consider certificates that attendees can add to their social channels.
Having the technology to live stream an event and still keep your attendees engaged is absolutely more complicated than an in-person event. Things like internet connection, live streaming, meeting software, and sound are a project in and of themselves.
That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced event production company for your virtual and hybrid events. No matter the event you have in mind, Live Events Media Group has you covered. From concept to production, we have the technology and expertise to make your event memorable. Contact us today, and let’s chat about your event!