7 best practices to engage event attendees online

7 best practices to engage event attendees online

let’s go back to march 2020, that first three weeks of being locked down in the uk, where the realms of online meetings and events were so unknown; we were all waiting for someone else to take that first step to organise a virtual event.

now a year on, the situation has reversed, online events are the new normal, and at sevenevents we’ve successfully pivoted our offering becoming a virtual events agency to enable our clients to stay consistent with their calendar of events. we have our own online conference platform, hub7 and have been running online team building activities almost daily.

to host a successful virtual event, it’s important to think about the attendee experience, and how different it is to sit at home watching a screen becoming a passive viewer, rather than in a face to face environment and engaging your audience online is a very different ball game. as virtual event planners we’ve got some tips for how to do this.

  1. live q&a

engaging your audience and making them feel involved is even more important when taking your event online. live q&a allowing attendees to ask questions on your content and answering in real time will ensure that delegates feel part of your event as they would face to face.

  1. networking

a common theme we regularly hear about is the lack of networking at a virtual event.  at in-person events, it’s natural to network with other attendees, at coffee or lunch breaks, or even just by sitting next to someone new during a plenary session or breakout.  providing virtual breakout sessions with smaller groups of people can help with this, as well as directing attendees to the delegate list during breaks – our virtual event platform hub7 for example offers a connect page, allowing attendees to chat with each other and organise one on one meetings.

  1. swag

sending attendees something in the post can carry a lot of weight for a virtual event – whether it’s a gift, a branded item or even a coffee to have during their break, brings a sense of togetherness – reminding the delegate that they are part of a bigger group of people and not just watching on their own.

  1. content is key

when you go virtual, there is a lot more pressure on both content but also the delivery of that content.  it is far too easy for an attendee to become distracted and go from an active to passive viewer, so it is important to keep them engaged. if a delegate has got as far as clicking in to watch the event, then it’s up to you to keep them there!

  1. production quality

the production quality of your virtual event is like your set design, meeting room layout, and trade show floor combined. but, with less square footage to make an impact, you have to look to video best practices to make your mark. with high class equipment, such as camera and mics, as well as using led or green screen software, this can keep attendees better engaged.  first impressions are important, and technology glitches are likely to put an attendee off staying in the event.

  1. be wary of meeting length

you might think that because attendees are sitting at in-person events and virtual events, that session length shouldn’t change. but, there’s a huge difference between sitting in a room with the presenters and other attendees compared to in your house by yourself.  it is far easier to get distracted when you are surrounded by others not watching the event with you, and so its important to have shorter sessions with more breaks.  screen time is tiring on the eyes and can be draining, so allowing attendees more opportunity to have a break will mean its less likely that they wander off mid content.

  1. gamification

use gamification in your event app or platform to engage attendees in various challenges for either prizes or take it to the next level and have virtual team building with a competitive element to encourage both networking and give delegates a break from the hard content. sponsors or exhibitors could reach out to attendees or vice versa via gamification.

as a virtual events agency, viewing every event in the eyes of the attendee is just another part of our role; we are here to deliver a smooth event and to ensure your attendees get the most that they can from attending.

contact us here to start organising your virtual event today.