Involvement in the event Engagement is an important part of a successful event.
Retaining participants has always been a challenge, but in a virtual environment, it gets even more complex. In this article, we’ll show you the best ways to maximize engagement at your next event. Let’s Dive!
More than half (67.8%) of event marketers find it more difficult to keep attendees engaged during virtual event sessions. Virtual experiences are now the norm in space, and investing in the hybrid era will be the next big change in events. How can planners stimulate and strengthen public engagement within this new paradigm with the rapidly evolving industry?
Read best practices, tips, examples, and strategies to take advantage of opportunities!
Powerful ways to maximize event engagement
1. Define your statistics
Up to 80% of planners say KPI engagement and satisfaction are used to measure the success of virtual events. Before deciding what resources to provide, you need to define exactly what you want to measure. These allocation calculations must be agreed upon and communicated to the rest of the meeting team to ensure that everyone is working on these KPIs. After agreeing on these probability metrics, discuss ways to achieve your goals.
Some important engagement measures to consider for virtual, face-to-face, and hybrid events include:
• hearing retention (how many people did you start with compared to the number you ended with?);
• Participation in chats and ballot boxes (did participants ask questions during and/or after the sessions? Did they use the ballot boxes?);
• The number of downloads (how many participants would you have if you registered sessions to download resources?)
• Messages on social networks
2. Maximize Opportunity Request Acceptance
The majority (62%) of marketers believe that a mobile event app can increase engagement in the event. And in a hybrid future, event apps will be a valuable tool to bridge the gap between audiences.
For example, with the Bizzabo Meeting app, you can send push notifications to let visitors know when sessions are live. It also includes live polls, an interactive calendar, a community of events, and more – promotes and optimize visitors for visitors! In addition, the application and opportunity platform can be adapted, which simplifies the planning process.
To increase acceptance of opportunity requests:
• Make sure participants are familiar with the application as soon as they sign up.
• Send a special email explaining the different resources and tips to get the most out of your experience.
3. Create designated network spaces for participants
You want to provide space for informal contacts and in-depth discussions on specific topics. Be sure to provide networking communities for your visitors. Hybrid events should enable the best of both worlds, meaning attendees can interact with the in-person experience and the virtual component.
Bizzabo provides a community tool that allows you to create an environment for those who sign up to have the opportunity to interact with others in the industry. Participants exchange information with like-minded people across the community.
4. Create expectations in participants
Don’t expect a high level of involvement in events if attendees don’t know how to attend. It is essential to inform participants about the different forms of participation in the event.
Organizers can do this by launching a series of emails informing attendees about various engagement opportunities. For example, if you want attendees to join the chat, ask the presenters to ask questions and tell them to post their answers in the discussion! A great way to break the ice and engage participants is to ask everyone in the conversation what to do.
5. Brainstorm joint initiatives with sponsors
Remember that your event sponsors can provide additional opportunities to get involved before, during, and after the event. Brainstorm with sponsors about the different ways attendees can connect. Sponsors will be very interested in brand activation ideas that will show their branding to attendees before the event starts. Perhaps a social media competition or sponsored content can help attendees increase their engagement with the event and sponsors.
Below is an excellent example of virtual event sponsorship. Social Media Week, #SMWONE, offered sponsor Talkwalker the opportunity to speak at the event. The conversation during the event allowed the sponsor to speak directly to the attendees and demonstrate their leadership.
6. Virtual Tips
If attendees attended last year’s event, take the time to make suggestions. Learn about the event content, speaker setup, and even the food menu (for hybrid and live experiences). Sending a virtual proposal makes it easier for the visitor to know your opinion. The more contributions received during the pre-event phase, the more attendees will maintain a high level of engagement throughout the event.
Starbucks goes beyond our industry and asks customers to share their buying ideas. They wanted to put themselves in the customers’ shoes and hear what they wanted. The proposals gave birth to many ideas, especially Cake Pop and Pumpkin Spice Latte Via. What good ideas would you listen to?
7. Choose shorter sessions
Whether you’re planning a digital experience or a hybrid event, you want to shorten your sessions. The attention of a remote audience is less than what you were used to, and the webinar for virtual attendees is still growing. Keeping it short and action-oriented can keep your audience happy and engaged.
At our (almost) HYBRID Virtual Summit, we hold all sessions in under 30 minutes, including questions and answers, to maximize event engagement and avoid the session.
8. Remember that a virtual audience is not an afterthought
When we get back to hybrid, it’s important to remember your virtual audience. Hybrid options include the involvement of two different target groups. A common trap is making virtual attendees an afterthought and drawing attention to the people physically attending the event. Forgetting those who differ remotely doesn’t work in a post-COVID world, where virtual audiences are likely to be more than in-person visitors. The failure of some of your viewers will inevitably lead to a general failure of the event.
Set up multiple cameras and many angles for a high-quality experience. Don’t forget to include questions from the chat and virtual audience! Take advantage of the technological possibilities and find a hybrid solution that allows you to combine the two worlds.