These days many of our activities are happening online. And so do our events. As a result, we are witnessing various kinds of events happening online daily. But this was not the case a few years ago. Before the pandemic, digital events were not as popular. And most of the people only attended online meetings, and that too rarely. Most of our events usually took place in the physical world. So nobody thought that one day they would see the digital versions of these events.
However, things really changed in 2020, when hosting a physical event was not practical, especially from the health perspective. It meant that people would either have to wait for things to get better. Or need to find a solution that would not risk the lives of the people. And the best available solution was Online events.
Since many parts of the world were observing strict lockdowns, many people started working from home. And this made the virtual events much more ideal. But before we move ahead, first, let’s look at how virtual events work.
Online Events – Concept and Technology
Online events are also known as virtual/digital events. These events are organised in the digital or online world. And the event organisers and participants can connect virtually with the help of the internet or any other network. The aim here is to replicate the experience of a live event in the digital world.
To host a virtual event, you would need a virtual event platform or virtual event software. These platforms or software use an interface that is interactive and mesmerising. Also, these platforms offer a wide range of features for audience engagement. And tools for promoting networking.
So that the audience can have the best experience. And the networking tools try to compensate for the face-to-face communication that is missing from the virtual events.
Categories of Online events
Online/virtual events are a broad category of events. And every day thousands of events are organised around the world belonging to this category. The reason for this is the flexibility of virtual/online event technology. It allows the event organisers to host almost any event online. So if you ever wonder, can you host your event online? Then the answer will be yes in the majority of cases.
To provide you with a reference, here is the list of the most common virtual events.
- Virtual conferences
- Virtual product launches
- virtual trade shows
- Virtual award shows
- Virtual exhibitions
- Virtual career/job fairs
- Virtual fests
- Virtual AGMs
- Virtual Town halls
And so on. You can see a new entry in this list every time you look at it. All this indicates one thing, and that is the flexibility of virtual event technology.
Nowadays, everyone is eyeing virtual events. But many people don’t know how to make your virtual event successful. However, one of the most significant ways to make your online event successful is by engaging the audience at your event. But how can one engage with the audience at the event? Let’s look into it.
7 Ideas to Engage the Audience at Online Events
I don’t think there is any other technique to engage the audience that is as popular as gamification is. But what is gamification? As the name suggests, it deals with the games. In an online event, you can provide games to entertain the attendees at the event. However, it boils down to one’s preference and creativity when it comes to gamifying an event. You can have an option to play games online from the platform. Or you can come up with your own games. Either way, it is valuable, especially when the attendee is waiting for the event to begin. Or while switching from one online session to another.
The social wall displays all the posts, photos and videos that the attendees post about the event on social media. It is one of the most effective ways to promote interaction among the attendees of the event. Also, it serves as a tool for promoting the event. When the attendees look at the social wall, many will aspire to post something about the event. And the more posts on social media platforms about your event, the higher chances of your event trending on social media. Also, it will keep the energy at the event high.
Pollings and surveys
Another effective way to engage with the audience at your event is by conducting pollings or surveys. With this method, you will be directly engaging with the audience. Also, pollings and surveys help us to understand the audiences’ preference and mood.
Polling usually contains one or two questions. The audience is provided with few options. And they have to pick one of them. Whereas the Surveys contain more questions. Also, they contain more open-ended questions. Now it depends upon the person whether to ask multiple-choice questions or subjective questions. However, both of them work fine. Another difference is that surveys provide you with deeper insights into the audience at your event.
Polls work best to create excitement in the event. One can conduct multiple polls at regular intervals to maintain the hype in the event.
You can use live chats to engage the audience. Also, with the help of live chats, you can promote networking and interaction in the event. To enable this, you can either provide an in-built chatting feature. Or you can provide support for third-party apps like WhatsApp and Zoom.
Apart from the audience interaction, attendees can use this option to interact with the exhibitors, speakers and guests at the event. You can add options like 1:1 or group chats. And the text, audio and video-based chatting option.
Often people at the event have queries, and these queries should be addressed at the earliest. So you can provide a feature of live Q&A. This will help you to engage the audience. Also, the audience will be able to clear their doubts, hence, can have a smooth experience.
You can answer the attendees’ question yourself. Or else can hire a staff dedicated to answering the queries of the attendees. It will make the process fast and efficient. Also, the audience members won’t have to wait to get the answers to their questions.
If you don’t want to hire too many people for answering the questions, you can use chatbots. A chatbot is software that automatically answers the questions asked by people. Chatbots are much faster than humans and can interact with multiple people at the same time without taking breaks. And can work continuously.
AR photobooth is an AR (Augmented Reality) based tool. This tool lets an attendee use the background of the event in their photos. Attendees don’t need anything extra like a green screen or software. It enables the attendees to get a picture with the online event background. This photo can be shared by the attendee on social media. It will attract other attendees, motivating them to get their pictures. Also, it will help in promoting the vent on social media.
You can also host a competition or giveaway to engage the audience in the event. It is one of the effective techniques. And will allow you to interact with the audience directly. Also, if your sponsors are willing to sponsor the reward, you can use the competition/giveaway to promote your sponsors. In this way, you will be able to create excitement in your event. Also, you can use this competition/giveaway to promote your event. Hence, making it one of the most useful techniques.
These are some of the most effective audience engagement ideas for online event organisers. So tell us which idea is liked most? And what are your thoughts on engaging the audience in online events.