Engaging attendees with event content is a critical objective for any event planner. Even more so when it comes to virtual events. Virtual events run a high risk of having passive rather active attendees.
Virtual events require creative techniques to drive remote attendees’ focus and keep them engaged with the content.
Active vs. Passive Attendees
Events with remote attendees require a thoughtful engagement strategy to ensure attendees are active participants rather than passive viewers.
Active attendees engage with the event, they vote in live polls, they ask questions, they take part in challenges and they give helpful feedback. They get the most value from the event content and are more likely to attend future events.
At the other side of the spectrum, we have passive attendees. These are the people who attend a session whilst not really engaging with the content. The risk of passive attendees is much higher in a remote environment. It’s much easier for attendees to leave the session space, get distracted or have the session as a background to work or domestic tasks.
At a virtual event passive attendees may feel like they’re not really ‘attending’ the event at all.
Turning passive attendees into active attendees is vital. Providing attendees with more than an extended video conference will help attendees connect with each other and the event content,
Look for a virtual event solution that offers a variety of ways to engage attendees, throughout the event. Ideally, the solution should incorporate every element into a single platform so it’s easy to use for both attendees and planners.
Here are some essential and effective features provided by our VirtualCrowd solution:
Live polls guarantee a boost in audience engagement at any event. However, they are an absolute must-have for virtual events.
Consider using live polls at the beginning of a virtual session to warm-up the audience and get them comfortable with using the virtual platform. This will kick off session the on a fun and positive note, whilst getting remote attendees involved with content from the get go.
Live polls allow attendees to give their perspective on whatever issue or question the speaker chooses to raise. Results update in real time, meaning attendees can immediately see how their fellow delegates are voting. This will help to create a sense of community in your sessions as attendees will feel more connected to one another.
Live polls are also useful for your speakers as they can provide insight into the audience’s opinions. Speakers can often feel disconnected from their audience at a virtual event, polling opens up a two-sided dialogue during streamed sessions that fosters a connection between the speaker and audience.
Gamification is great way to get your more competitive attendees involved with a virtual event.
Set challenges for attendees, these could be quiz questions based on content, virtual scavenger hunts or networking challenges. Attendees can then win points for each challenge they successfully complete, these points will move them up the leader board.
Boost engagement by creating challenges based on content. For example, ask speakers to include a secret code word in each of their sessions, only the attendees who are really listening will earn those points! Add quiz questions based on the information discussed during each session, this will help your audience engage more with educational content.
The virtual event platform’s leader board will update in real time and the top three point-scorers will earn pride of place at the top of the page. This alone will help to encourage attendees to take part. Why not up the ante and offer prizes to the top scorers? Ask sponsors to provide some great prizes that are relevant to the audience. In turn, this offers sponsors excellent exposure and opportunity to connect with attendees.
Offering attendees the opportunity to ask a question is a sure fire way to boost audience engagement. Similar to live polls, Q&A gives attendees the chance to have a voice during live streamed sessions.
Using the Q&A feature on the VirtualCrowd event platform, attendees can submit their questions to speakers in real time. Attendees can then up-vote the questions that mean the most to them.
Offering Q&A to attendees empowers them to make the most out of a session’s content. Just because the audience cannot attend the event in person, it doesn’t mean they will miss out on key experiences. Using Q&A during streamed sessions also helps speakers by giving them more talking points and inspiration for future session topics.
The chat feature our virtual event platform allows attendees to message one another and exchange information.
Encourage attendees to fill out their profiles, perhaps by awarding points for uploading a profile picture etc. A completed profile means that attendees will maximise their networking opportunities. Attendees will be able to search for key words to see who they would like to chat with.
Attendees will also be able to message any sponsor’s company representatives through the virtual event platform. This is great for boosting networking opportunities for attendees and ROI for sponsors.
Consider adding a couple of virtual coffee breaks to the agenda. This will give attendees a break from streamed sessions and a chance to network with their fellow delegates.
Audience engagement strategies for virtual events differ from in-person events. Planners should focus on investing in engagement strategies specific to virtual events to make sure attendees actively connect with the content.
Want to discuss how to maximise your event attendees’ virtual experience? CrowdComms has helped many planners run successful virtual events. Get in touch now to find out more or request a demo.