Head of Marketing and Communications, Never.no
Put your hand up if you’re bored of virtual events! Most of you are sitting at your home desk with your hands held high. As restrictions slowly ease we’re seeing plans for more in-person and hybrid events in place for Q4, particularly with IBC and NAB on the move, and we’re all hoping that we’ll get to walk through the gates of a conference centre as soon as it’s safe to do so.
But things will never be the same. Whether it’s in-person, fully virtual or a mix, it’s important to engage and activate your attendees and delegates wherever they’re located. There are many opportunities to motivate participation and make a tradeshow or simple networking session an enjoyable experience. With plans in motion for virtual and hybrid events, let’s take a look at how organisers can connect with attendees more than ever before.
In the build up to your event arouse interest by asking attendees to send in and share their questions or comments aimed at a scheduled session or particular delegate. Use your social channels for the call to action and share responses live, or feature during the event to build engagement. Polls are a fantastic way to gauge opinion; run them on a particular topic and see if opinion changes following your live content - it will create a great debate and arm hosts with topical conversation.
Create multiple touchpoints
WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or similar, are excellent platforms to create a two-way conversation. Implement automated responses featuring sponsor links, promotions and supplemental information. Also, some attendees love to share their opinion publicly and can do that via public social channels, or live event platforms, but there’s a lot of value to cater for those that prefer a more intimate interaction. Cater for everyone across multiple platforms - you can even include that content during the event.
Share the experience
Include images, videos and reactions from your audience, and drive questions and topical points to your host’s display or tablet, so they can discuss. Your audience’s generated content overlayed into the live feed will enhance reactions and influence the conversation.
Voting and polls
The best way to make anyone interact and get involved is a vote or poll. People love influencing a live vote and impacting on the final result, generally offering opinion of a hot topic, or impacting on the direction of the narrative. Using a social engagement tool, you can run multiple polls across social and aggregate that data into a consolidated live result.
Fill the gap
There can be a lot of downtime during a conference, particularly in between sessions, so use that as an opportunity to share attendees live feedback sourced from social, or run clipped highlights for an immediate catch up. It will keep the conversation flowing and entice others to get involved.
Seeing is believing
It’s important to produce and deliver a broadcast-standard event. We’re all used to watching 4k, high production value content every day of our lives, so don't fall short with your event - your audience WILL switch off. Feature dynamic graphic overlays and live content, info and audience interaction, in the form of tickers, full-screen and L-graphics, to keep them captivated – just because it isn’t broadcast doesn’t mean you can’t recreate that standard and enhance live sessions.
Use cloud-based production and engagement tools like Bee-On to source social content, including polls and 3rd-party data and redisplay with your live overlays to create an active community that will organically enhance the overall experience for those involved. Feature your audience’s interaction live on your feed throughout and let them influence the narrative to make them feel part of your event. There’s a reason why engagement rates are so important for influencer and brand campaigns - a more engaged and active audience is more likely to buy into the value of your content, boosting revenue, retention, feedback and opportunities for event sponsors.
We’re seeing more virtual and hybrid events produced with cloud-based production and delivery tools to enhance the experience both for those attending in person and situated in remote locations. Event organisers have seen the power of virtual production techniques and tools that will boost participation and create more touchpoints to connect and interact with other members, delegates and hosts.
Our clients working within events see there’s a huge opportunity to feature attendees in the content and complement the narrative, creating topical discussion, impacting live debate, and sharing real-time experience. Looking ahead, we see hybrid, remotely produced events being the norm - creating more sponsorship opportunities, ticket sales, and capturing quality content for use beyond the event.
Not only is it more cost effective, but using a simple, yet effective end-to-end audience engagement strategy, featuring polls, competitions, personalised messaging, and putting the audience at the heart of the content, will create more opportunities for organisers to deliver a fantastic experience and even enhance revenue.