Virtual events: 3 steps to engage your audience
Even the most experienced event organizers may face difficulties in hosting a virtual event and dealing with one of the main challenges - delivering an experience comparable to the real event. Imagine a typical attendee who participates in an online event while sitting at home and being surrounded by so many different distractions. Without a doubt, if a virtual event isn’t valuable and engaging enough, this attendee would quickly switch to checking the social media, working with a computer or playing with kids. The question is, how to win the competition for the audience’s attention and keep the audience focused and engaged during an online event?
1. Focus on the content
First things first, make sure that the content you want to deliver is informative, well-designed and structured. Include infographics and video content, highlight key points and practical advice. Otherwise, if the content doesn’t deliver value, doesn’t seem to be carefully crafted and isn’t framed in an understandable format, it would be simply impossible to have the attention of the participants.
Tip: Come up with an event agenda that illustrates an attendee’s path through the event. Identify several stages or steps from the content that you want to deliver and let the listeners know what was already covered, at what stage are you are now and what is coming up. This trick creates a consequence of small achievements step by step that would motivate listeners to continue their active participation in an online event. In case of a business event, also don’t forget to schedule short breaks for discussions and networking.
2. Make it interactive
The study on video production and audience engagement conducted by Philip J. Guo revealed that audience’s attention falls down after about 6-9 minutes of a video lecture. In practice, it means that if you organize a webinar that relies on a speaker’s monologue, be ready that in 6-9 minutes event attendees are likely to lose their attention by shifting their focus to something else.
Interactive tools are a great solution to reinforce audience engagement for the whole duration of a virtual event. The most common examples are Q&A sessions, real-time feedback, polls and chats.
Tip: From the very beginning it’s essential to set up a tone that would encourage the audience participation. The simplest way is to ask attendees questions about almost anything but it doesn’t always work effectively. The speaker should be creative and ask unexpected questions that would instantly draw the attendees’ attention. He/she should also appreciate the active participation in the discussions to make the audience understand that their opinion matters and brings value to others.
Gamification is another way to make an online event interactive due to the involvement of the elements of a game or competition. For example, arranging a small prize for the best question or the most innovative solution might encourage listeners to think out of the box and come up with exciting ideas.
3. Choose the right speaker and the right platform
The best offline speaker can be not as good when presenting online because the way of delivering information differs. Try to find speakers that have already proven their exciting performance online and don’t try to rely on their real-life successes. Discuss with the speakers how you can make an event more inspirational and memorable, how to apply interactive tools mentioned above and so on. As a rule, improvisation doesn’t work, so carefully check with each speaker everything from content to technical issues. Read our previous blog post to get to know what else should you consider when organizing a virtual event.
Finally, it’s time to choose a platform for your online event. Are you looking for a platform that serves your specific needs, offers diverse tools for interaction and engagement as well as takes care of the video and streaming matters. Then Liveto platform for virtual events and live streaming is a great solution. Apart from offering the platform that allows you to easily create, stream and sell your event, it has monetization tools to maximize your profit by selling tickets, merchandise and anything you want to offer before, during and after the event.
Summing up, why should you actually care about audience engagement? The ability to manage the attendees’ attention helps to expand the audience furthermore, increase profit and create a positive event experience that, all in all, is beneficial for an event organizer. Try the tips that we discussed here and the results wouldn’t wait. Even if virtual events are a new thing for you, don’t ignore their competitive advantages. They are an excellent way to reach more people all over the world who aren’t likely to attend your real event otherwise. Use this opportunity and make the best out of the situation.
Liveto's customer success team will help you to achieve that. Our mission is to help your events succeed!