Virtual events have so many benefits. They are cheaper than physical events. They have a truly global reach. They require less time in setup and attendance. They are easy to measure and collect data. They have little to no carbon footprint and in the current climate they are now a necessity. Yet one of the biggest challenges event organizers face when hosting a virtual event is how to create an ‘event experience’ for attendees.
Creating high-quality content is imperative to the success of virtual events, however being able to engage the audience and give them an unforgettable experience, is also key. Thankfully there are tools available to ensure attendees get the most from their virtual experiences and come away from the event feeling like it’s been engaging and interactive.
Many people feel confused about the best practices for networking at virtual events and wonder if the elements of face-to-face interactions, handshakes, and bumping into people they know can be replicated virtually. Networking can actually work well virtually and provide some great opportunities. We suggest promoting one-to-one calls or online chat functionality with other attendees, sponsors, or exhibitors. All attendees can be given a personal profile with the ability to add a photo, biography, and personal information about themselves making the event more of an online community sphere than just a video stream or webinar.
Live exhibitions are obviously great places to interact with customers and learn new things, yet this can be successfully replicated online with virtual events. Sponsors and exhibitors can be given a profile, where they can be visible in terms of adding company details like a logo, website and contact information along with brochures or documents. Exhibitors and sponsors can include videos on their profiles and have their delegates listed, making it easy to video call them directly through the platform.
Having the possibility to chat or video call them directly from the platform makes it easy for the attendees to talk to the exhibitors and lowers the barriers to get in touch. It’s possible to showcase and demonstrate rich content in the form of video or presentation while communicating and having a one-to-one conversation.
Live polling and surveys are great tools for encouraging interaction and sharing thoughts and opinions at virtual events. Research has found that event attendees are more comfortable taking part in these activities virtually, where they can be anonymous if they wish and don’t have to put their hand up in front of a group of people.
We have found that it’s a lot easier for speakers to direct their message toward the feedback they receive from the attendees, with live engagement tools making it more of a two-way dialogue with input from the attendees instead of them only listening to the speaker. Surveys are a powerful feedback tool, with the possibility to star rate and comment on each session, giving the speakers and the organizers direct feedback on the session they attended.
Other engagement tools
For event organizers looking to take their virtual event to new heights, gamification is great for engagement and creating an ‘event experience’ for attendees. Prizes for participants that take part in challenges and quizzes can be a really simple, yet effective gamification tool to give attendees an extra boost and visibility.
Organizers can hand out specific points to participants and they will unlock these points when engaging or doing a specific task, such as adding a picture on their profile or completing a Q&A. A leaderboard can be displayed in the platform, ranking the participants with the highest scores.