a woman watching a virtual event

Driving Industry Stimulation Through Virtual Engagement

Keeping your audience engaged is clearly important, no matter what type of event you host. But when it comes to virtual events, audience engagement can be the deciding factor in your success or lack thereof. It’s not just a question of finding interesting content and engaging speakers, you also must compete with the countless distractions virtual viewers are faced with, both online and at their home or viewing space. So, what is the solution? 

Read on to learn how live streaming event organizers are inspiring audience members to perk up, chime in, and stay tuned until the very end. 

Looking to keep your clients engaged in a virtual world? Van Wagner can help you design a virtual or hybrid event that will showcase your business or products!

Hire Professionals for the Engagement

No matter how big or small your virtual event is, hiring professionals who know how to keep your audience entertained is well worth the investment. There are countless options to entertain your attendees during breaks and virtual gatherings, from musicians to mixologists to magicians. 

If you really want to ramp up your event, why not throw an online dance party? There is a pool of talented DJs who have taken their gigs online, offering eclectic packages that will bring your guests a beat-mixing, booty-shaking energy they won’t soon forget! 

You can even find ways to add some color to heavier topics by hiring live sketch artists. Live sketching produces creative visual interpretations of discussion content in real-time. This not only adds a unique, interesting dynamic, it also provides material that can be shared across social channels to generate even more engagement that extends beyond event attendees. 

Related: How To Produce The Perfect Hybrid Event

Virtual Event Gamification

Gamification is your go-to for engaging viewers, especially when there are valuable prizes or solid perks involved.

One way to generate engagement for your sponsors is to incorporate gaming into your virtual exhibition hall. Just like at a live event, you can dedicate a space on your event platform where sponsors can set up virtual booths to promote their products and services. You can then give participants points for each booth they visit, for example, and handout prizes at the end of the event. You can change up when you present the polls or make the sessions specific to keep your audience on their toes. 

Placing calls to action to share in exchange for value, reward, or opportunity for recognition will get your audience moving and shaking in the share world. It’s amazing how you can simply ask your audience to please pull out their phone and do a specific action. “Okay everyone that likes this on our page will have the opportunity to receive a free event design session with our consultant. Everyone that shares will have the opportunity to win something relevant and worthwhile.”

Scavenger hunts are another effective tool to actively engage participants while highlighting important areas of your event. You can provide participants with a list of tasks to complete in a day or over the course of the event, throwing in sponsor information, speaker engagement opportunities, and networking incentives.

a computer showing a virtual event

Provide Interaction Opportunities

Reading your audience through a screen is clearly a challenge with virtual events, which is why it’s critical to create plenty of opportunities for participants to interact with each other and your presenters.

First, you want to recruit a moderator who can easily engage with speakers and participants, jumping in to encourage interactive discussion or using chats to ask questions to elicit comments. They can also host live Q&A sessions to allow participants to connect with speakers in real-time. To encourage deeper and more meaningful discussion around specific topics, integrate a good number of one-on-one meetings and breakout sessions into your event. You can use apps that match participants based on interests to ensure compatibility and fruitful conversations.  

You can also organize virtual happy hours to encourage networking, allowing time for attendees to browse participant lists and connect with new people and opportunities. 

User-Selected Presentations

Letting your audience choose what content or subject matter will be presented during a session is a savvy tactic for attracting and holding your audience’s attention.  Letting participants steer the session agenda will ensure that the content is relevant and useful so you not only increase engagement among participants, but you also up the odds that people will stick around until the end. 

You can utilize polls and survey features on your social media channels to solicit ideas and topics from your audience while also revving up excitement about the speaker and promoting the event. Pre-event polling makes your audience feel that the content presented at the virtual event will be tailored to their needs. This approach might be tricky for larger keynote speakers or pre-recorded presentations, so you need to gauge what will work best for format, topic, and individual speaker’s preference. 

Related: 7 Mind-Blowing Hybrid Events & Why They’re Successful

Create Expert Quizzes

Running a virtual quiz is another playful tool to inspire participation. And who doesn’t love a little friendly competition and a chance to win a prize? 

There are various quiz platforms to choose from, like Contest Factory, Slido or TriviaHub, that have different format options to choose from. It’s best to mix up the types of quiz questions to keep things interesting, switching between multiple choice, true or false, etc. 

As far as your questions go, your options are endless. You can pick a random topic to switch things up or align your questions with your event theme. Every company has a common history, so you can always tap into the internal knowledge, fun facts, and entertaining stories to ramp up engagement.  You can even include a category to quiz your teams on their sales stats and performance goals.  And don’t forget to give extra points for answers that get a group laugh!

two men monitoring computers for a virtual event

Make Live Streaming Extras

Part of the allure of live events is the chance to meet like-minded people during breaks and share common interests. So, how can that feeling be created in a digital medium? An effective way to do this is by offering behind-the-scenes extras. For example, doing personal interviews or fun activities with key speakers in between sessions is a great way to keep the energy up. 

You can also recruit event ambassadors- people in the know who can capture event highlights and share their unique perspectives with other event attendees as well as their social following. 

Offering breakout rooms on specific topics can also facilitate discussion between attendees. This also takes away some of the social anxiety folks have in live events. It’s easier to talk from behind the screen than it is in real life. You may find you have more engagement in a breakout room than you think.

Experiment With These Strategies

Keeping your virtual audience on the edge of their seats isn’t always easy, but it doesn’t have to be complicated either.  Experiment with these strategies to give your event a fun vibe that will keep your attendees entertained and have you joining in on the fun as well.

And when you’re ready to have a professional consult on your next event, reach out to the professionals at Van Wagner. With decades of professional sports and entertainment production, this team has their pulse on cutting edge technology paired with out-of-this-world content and engagement innovation.

Are you searching for the right company that can help you host a virtual or hybrid event? The experienced team at Van Wagner has plenty of options to help you create a memorable experience for your clients and employees.

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