The New Seekers once sang I’d like to teach the world to sing. It’s a lovely song and a lovely sentiment. And in our own, smaller way, that’s what we’re going to do today. We’re going to share our tactics for engaging virtual attendees.
We’ve honed down our solution to a two-pronged attack. The first method is to give your attendees the tools to be heard, or in other words, the technology.
The second part is to build an environment where they’re comfortable and inspired to use the tools you’ve provided for them. Now then, let’s get to it!
The sad truth is, virtual attendees frequently feel like passive viewers. After all, it is difficult to make participants feel like they’re in anything other than a lecture setting where they’re just being talked at. Because, far too often, that’s exactly what’s happening. When they are not physically part of the landscape, they are at risk of becoming alienated from it.
Don’t just take our word for it. The data shows that the no-show rate for virtual events is 35%. That’s why you’re here—because connecting with virtual attendees is the most common challenge for event planners today.
It’s no use ignoring this problem, either, because all the research shows that virtual events will be a regular fixture of events even long after Covid has gone. But you’re here, reading this, so we know you’re serious about doing something about it. So read on and let us help you out!
The world of event technology is booming. As we illustrated earlier, there’s a significant demand for quality event tech tools geared toward virtual attendee engagement. And as we all know, competition breeds innovation.
And the marvellous thing is, you can have it how you like it. You don’t have to overpay or buy services you don’t need. Most event technology providers will offer customised packages as well as a full-service experience.
For example, just by solution, we can offer Registration Software, a Virtual Hybrid Event Platform, and our Mobile Event App.
Alternatively, you can focus on capabilities. In this case, it would be Engagement Capabilities. Here we can offer a package focusing on on-demand and live streaming solutions, polling, appointment scheduling, gamification, social media and forums, and exhibitor networking styles.
So whatever you’re looking for, you can book a custom demo with us to suit your own precise needs. For the time being, let’s break down some of our top tips to boost virtual attendee engagement.
We mentioned polling was a part of our engagement capabilities. Polling should be a crucial part of any event. Why? Because when someone feels heard, they feel respected. And that respect will be reciprocated.
Secondly, it allows you to adapt to your guest’s needs during the event if you understand what they think of as it happens. Thirdly, it can provide rich and unique data that you can use to make your next event even better.
And finally, it gives people a voice who might not want to be heard. Not everyone wants to speak to a crowd. Live polling allows people to be heard anonymously. That’s one of the beauties of event tech: it lets wallflowers be wallflowers.
As for how to do polling effectively, there are no hard and fast rules. However, if you follow these basic principles, you can’t go wrong:
We also mentioned gamification as part of our engagement capabilities. The event industry has so much faith in it as it’s known to improve attendee engagement by 44%.
Gamification is a fun way to disseminate key messages to attendees during your virtual event. It turns passive listeners who have to concentrate on absorbing information into active actors, genuinely immersed in the content. What’s more, it’s fun; everyone wins with gamification.
At the end of the day, it engages virtual attendees just by giving them something to do. Its function is versatile as well. You can make it outcome-specific or more exciting by introducing competition, or maybe even prizes?
To build rapport, kick off festivities with some creative ice-breakers. More often than not, these things feel forced and uninspiring. However, our friends at Spacehuntr may be able to help you out here.
They’ve made a guide to creative ice-breakers for networking. Firstly, they’re just enjoyable. And secondly, they’re really effective at introducing strangers and making people feel comfortable.
One of the hottest trends in the event industry has been micro-events and micro-experiences. The premise is simple; if you put people into smaller groups, they’ll be more confident in communicating and build more sincere connections.
These concentrated events-within-events experiences are versatile too. You can host anything you fancy, from workshops, networking sessions, Q&As, gaming experiences, and more.
Our final tip for today is swag bags. Because who doesn’t like free stuff? Who doesn’t love the quiet thrill of a delivery to your door?
Swag bags are a classy move to foster goodwill with your attendees. This positive association will leave them with feelings of excitement for your organization and your event.
As for what’s in the bag, it can be anything from branded merch, unique content, vouchers, and more. It doesn’t even need to be event-related. Alternatively, you could send them virtual swag bags with discount codes, free trials, or maybe even UberEats vouchers for their lunch breaks.
So there you have it – our guide on how to give your virtual attendees a voice. Boosting virtual attendee engagement is one of the biggest problems event planners face today. The fact that you’ve read this far shows you’re serious about tackling it.
And to recap before you go, we’ve introduced to you our two-pronged attack. First, you proved attendees the appropriate tools to foster their engagement. And secondly, you need to build an inviting occasion that makes them feel incentivised to use them.
This article was contributed by Harry Prince, Creative Content Manager at Spacehuntr.