While some organizations are beginning their return to in-person events, there are many that will still take place in the virtual world. Organizers may be wondering how to increase virtual event audience engagement. What might be surprising is that virtual attendees tend to be more engaged. For example, 47% of attendees are more likely to ask a question at a virtual event. Also, virtual events attract up to 63% more people than in-person ones. This means virtual events offer a host of opportunities, including more effective networking. To make sure your next virtual event gets people talking, try one or more of these ideas.
Set clear expectations
It’s easier to get attendees to engage with your event when you provide clear expectations. Setting communication expectations gives attendees a sense of structure and can boost engagement because they know how and when they’re expected to engage.
Include clear expectations with your agenda. Help people navigate forums, explain breakout session topics, and let them know whether video and audio are encouraged throughout a session or only at the end for questions. Remember to include a support phone number or email address in case of technical issues. Email these instructions ahead of time and again when the event gets underway.
Almost 82% of organizers use polling to improve virtual event interaction. Poll your audience beforehand to help tailor messages and presentations to their needs. If people know that the content will be geared to their needs, they are more likely to attend. During the event, live polling keeps the audience involved. But make sure you share the poll results either during the session or soon after. Offer a small incentive to encourage people to respond to your poll. For example, a lip moisturizer keychain can help you gather more responses and boost virtual event audience engagement.
Make a game of it
Take a cue from a workplace survey that shows 71% of employees say gamification increases energy levels and can improve their engagement by 60%. Gamify your event with a scavenger hunt. Schedule a time for attendees to “collect” images, such as:
- Their window view
- A selfie with their computer
- Their favourite coffee mug
- The place where they do most of their work
Offer a prize, like a magnetic photo frame, for those who participate. Or send a virtual event gift to the people who attend the most booths in the virtual exhibition hall. A Smartphone Pouch Blocker and a convention tote are gifts your audience can use repeatedly.
Hold problem-solving breakout sessions
Breakout sessions help move people from passively listening to actively discussing. To get attendees involved, give them a problem to solve. What’s an issue your industry commonly faces? Did a speaker discuss a more efficient approach to current industry processes? Have attendees brainstorm additional solutions and ideas. Offer prizes for the group that comes up with the most or best ideas. Notebooks and pens work well as virtual event gifts.
Increase audience engagement
With ideas like live polling and gamification to help boost virtual event audience engagement, your attendees are more likely to feel energized by the new things they learned and the new people they met.