While many organizations have successfully made the shift to virtual events, there's one challenge to them that's proven difficult to overcome: virtual events 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 and activities you can incorporate to better engage your online audience. 

Here 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. 

Not only is it a quick and easy way to involve your audience from the get-go, but it helps build anticipation as attendees will be on high alert listening out for their questions. (Plus, they’ll be appreciative you even took the time to ask!) 

If you want to take it a step further, compile a list of those questions and their answers and provide a whitepaper in any attendee follow-up. This will also help cover any questions that may not have been answered live.

Allow for and encourage “chatting”

When selecting technology for your virtual events, it’s wise to choose a system with a chat box feature, or that allows you to integrate one. This helps recreate the "in-person" feel of events by allowing your attendees to not only engage with the presenter, but the other attendees as well.

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. Sometimes, in-person events can be challenging for them, especially when it comes to speaking up and asking questions. People typically feel more comfortable online, so this could actually be a great way for those attendees in particular to be more engaged. 

Incorporate polling 

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. The benefits of these are three-fold:

  1. They help your audience feel more engaged.
  2. They help you get to know your audience better. 
  3. 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!

Insert “tweetables” 

If your audience is active on Twitter and would likely Tweet about your event if it were in-person, make it easy for them to do so even when it's virtual!

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. 

For more tips on how to keep attendees engaged, download our free eBook below!

This post was initially published in September 2020. It has been revised and updated for clarity.

ePly How to Engage Your Event Attendees