For event managers considering hybrid, it’s essential that there is some added value for those wanting to attend online. Here are a few cost-effective ways to liven up events for virtual attendees to get a better experience and feel included in the conversation.
Matchmaking chat tools
Having a live chat function before and after a talk is all well and good, but what about offering opportunities for like-minded attendees to meet up and discuss? Adding the options of a ‘matchmaking’ function can enhance chat. It allows them to find and connect with people by offering virtual meeting requests between key stakeholders – speakers, attendees, and exhibitors/sponsors. Also, offer searchable event directories so that all the registered people attending the event can be found online.
Include a mixture of event formats
Mix up talks with in-studio discussions, shots of the physical event and interviews of people attending onsite to make those watching from their office or at home feel like they are joining in with the physical event.
Offer subtitles/audio translations in multiple languages
Attendees might be attending virtually as the venue is in a different country, and travel is an issue. To ensure good engagement, offer the option of watching talks in the language of their choice. Services like BoostLingo, Fliplingo and Interprefy all offer services to change subtitles and/or audio translate videos (even live ones!) for different languages.
Utilise voting and Q&A apps
The ability to ask questions and interact at events is a key way to ensure your audience stays engaged. Make sure you use an app that can work for both your virtual and physical attendees, as well as be easy for the chair or speakers to use. One of our favourites is Sli.do, it’s simple to use, offers a wide range of functionality at a relatively low cost.
Consider post-session breakout ‘zooms’
At an event, some attendees would often go to the side of the stage to chat with the speakers at the end of the session. How about using the same idea in a virtual space but having a simple unmanaged zoom that attendees and speakers can all join for a more informal chat. It doesn’t need to be managed by a technician, you can just launch the meeting and let those who attend manage how it works. Whether you get just three people, or thirty, it’s a great way to engage your attendees and enhance the networking for little additional cost.
Engage on social
Virtual attendees can connect with what’s happening and become part of the event’s community through regular posts on several social media channels. Often an audience will search on the event # and @ throughout the event, so encourage everyone – exhibitors, speakers and attendees to @ the events page and use the same hashtag to get the most engagement for the event.
Offer real-world perks
Physical conferences often offer networking drinks opportunities that virtual event attendees miss out on. Sending virtual attendees a few beers and snacks before a virtual networking evening could be an option to make them feel included. Or perhaps the organisers are planning an activity with the physical event attendees (i.e. a concert or a tour of the areas local to the venue). Could there be a way to include virtual participants – live-streaming the experience or send them some local souvenirs from the area? All these perks offer an element of inclusion.
Deliver outstanding talks
Another way to ensure a seamless event experience for virtual attendees is to better prepare your online speakers and their tech so that they can reach their talks prepared and confident. GoRemote provides speaker support services to assist with onboarding speakers and guide them through their talks. With our combination of technology, people and processes, we are a world-class service to help event managers more control, oversight and confidence over their production.