While there are certainly many benefits of hosting a virtual event, the one downside is that they are typically — just by nature alone — less interactive than in-person events.
But that’s not to say they can’t still be interactive! There are many tactics you can try and activities you can incorporate to better engage your online audience.
Below are just a few ideas…
Put out a call for questions in advance
This depends a little bit on the nature of your online event, but if it makes sense, leading up to the event day, ask your attendees to submit questions they’d like answered on the webinar or livestream.
How does that make your event more interactive? Well not only is it a quick and easy way to involve your audience from the get-go, but it helps build anticipation; attendees will be on high alert listening out for their questions. (Plus, they’ll be appreciative you even took the time to ask!)
To take it a step further: compile a list of those questions and their answers and provide a whitepaper in any attendee follow-up. That’ll also help cover any questions that may not have been answered live.
Allow for and encourage “chatting”
When selecting technology for your virtual event(s), it’s wise to choose a system with a chat box feature, or that’ll allow you to integrate one. This helps attendees to not only engage with you or the presenter, but to engage with other attendees — a major benefit of in-person events.
In fact, you might actually see more chatting online than you do in person (or more chatting online from certain people than you do in person). Think about your introverted attendees for a second. Sometimes, in-person events can be challenging for them. But people typically feel more comfortable online, so this could actually be a great way for those attendees in particular to be more engaged.
If you’ve attended online webinars, you’ve likely seen these polls in action. At any point during your webinar (or at several points during your webinar), you can conduct polls to engage your audience in real time. And the benefits here are actually three-fold:
- They help your audience feel more engaged.
- They help you get to know your audience better.
- They help your attendees see where they stand in relation to their peers.
Best of all, as long as you have the right technology in place, conducting live polls is easy. So don’t worry about this being too much extra work on your plate. (We know you have enough already!)
If your audience is active on Twitter, and you’d love it if they’d tweet about the event the same way they would if they were in person, make that 1) known, and 2) EASY.
Whenever you’re making a big point in your webinar (you know, those “ah ha” moments), consider inserting a slide that says “Tweetable” or that has the Twitter icon, followed by whatever that big takeaway is. Maybe it’s a shocking statistic. Or a Simon-Sinek-like quote. If it packs a punch, encourage your attendees to share it on social media.
If you’re interested in hosting virtual events, but in need of technology that will allow for the tactics above, take a look at ePly. With our virtual event solutions, your attendees can chat, participate in polls, ask questions in real time, etc.
And for more tips on how to keep attendees engaged, download our free eBook below!