Virtual events are awesome! The convenience. The low overhead costs. The countless ways to connect with people across continents. But if you’ve ever sat through a painfully long video call, you know that a livestream, if not executed properly, can cause Zoom fatigue.
So, how do you make a virtual session engaging? By providing your audience with things to do. To engage your audience, you need to come up with unique ideas that are weaved carefully between sessions. Provide interactive elements so that your audience feels involved in your event. Wondering what are some virtual event ideas to keep your attendees hooked during a livestream? Here’s a list.
1. Use emojis for audience engagement
Expressing yourself is easier when you do it through emojis, right?
As millennials and Gen Z influence the cultural conversation, people are changing the way they communicate. The language used to convey emotions is more visual than ever before. And emojis are leading the way. The Oxford University Press even awarded the "😂" emoji as the Oxford Dictionaries 2015 word of the year.
Use the power of visuals and let your attendees react through emojis in a virtual chat window, alongside the session livestream. This enhances the event experience by adding a splash of color, liveliness, and enjoyment to the session. At Hubilo, you can provide a range of emojis for your attendees to react or to even upvote a comment or question. Want to applaud a speaker? Use 👏🏻. Want to show excitement? Use 💃.
2. Allow time to rest and network
Very much like an in-person event, virtual attendees need time to stretch their legs, use the restroom and grab a bite. And most importantly, network and look around. Schedule breaks between sessions, even if they’re only five minutes long. Let your attendees engage with ongoing contests on the Event Feed during this time.
During longer breaks, tell attendees what you want them to do. Whether that’s virtual networking with peers in the Networking Lounge, visiting sponsor booths, or entering an Ask Me Anything (AMA) breakout room.
What happens in an AMA session?
AMA sessions are short meetings where speakers open the floor to any questions from the attendees. They are a great way to open a two-way communication channel, which is often not possible during an ongoing live stream.
3. Keep the Q&As coming
An open Q&A section alongside your session window changes the dynamic between the speaker and your audience. It makes the audience feel a part of your session.
A Q&A section also enables people to ask questions anonymously. Because of no fear of judgment, your audience will feel liberated to ask questions.
To make virtual experiences better, Hubilo’s platform gives attendees an option to vote on the submitted questions. By letting people upvote their favorites, you can compile a list of priority questions to take up during the session.
4. Conduct polls and surveys
If your audiences merely sit and watch a virtual livestream, there is a high chance of them getting distracted. In that case, your session content can soon become background noise.
Giving audiences an outlet for their opinions through polls and surveys not only gives them the chance to interact with you in a virtual space but also makes them feel valued and involved. Polls can also spark a live debate and bring to light opinions you may have otherwise not thought about.
Additionally, poll results and survey insights can be helpful for your future marketing efforts. They can help you curate your next event program based on attendees´ interests.
5. Drop push notifications
Your attendees are always looking for concrete reasons to stay put at your virtual session. Push notifications are a great way to keep them in the know with the most up-to-date information.
Greet your attendees and remind them when and where your event will kick off. Inform them about any changes in the schedule. This gives them things to look forward to and shows that you value their time and presence.
You can also use push notifications to highlight your event sponsors, booths, and partners. If there is a contest nearing an end, send out a push notification announcing a countdown. Once your event is over, continue sending notifications to keep users engaged. Remind them to complete post-event survey forms and announce the availability of on-demand videos.
6. Get a virtual event moderator onboard
Virtual event moderators use their charisma, talent, and speaking skills to ensure that attendees, as well as speakers, get the most out of the virtual sessions. As the designated master of the ceremony, virtual event moderators sprinkle engagement between sessions by introducing speakers, ensuring adherence to timelines, moderating Q&As, and keeping the session energy high.
If you want to take engagement a notch higher, you can work with your event performers to intermingle their performances and gigs with the main moderator. At Events. Reimagined., Hubilo’s in-house event, we had the Drag Taste as a part of our sessions with their quips and witty humor. The audience engagement? It soared and how!
The sessions are over, what next?
Once you wrap up the sessions, don’t just walk away. Check back with your attendees on their feedback through an email blast. Provide them with quality post-event networking opportunities. It will remind them of the value your event provided.
The best events are planned to empower attendees to stay as involved as possible. Carefully curated sessions, well-placed breakout rooms, and smartly used engagement tools are what make an average virtual event excellent. Want to host engaging virtual sessions at your next event? Take a demo of the Hubilo platform today.