Virtual and hybrid events have skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic. Although available pre- coronavirus, virtual events were often just a live stream set within an aesthetically pleasing web view. Things are different now, and as virtual events remain to be popular even as we ease lockdowns, the level at which virtual events must be hitting is so much higher. We have shortlisted the top features of a hybrid/virtual event to include to ensure the value and experience for your audience is maximised.
1. Content is king
Education and knowledge sharing is one of the main reasons people attend events and virtual events make no exception. It is vital your content is both educational and entertaining even in an in-person event. Attendees will have a shorter attention span in virtual and hybrid events, so this becomes a factor even more important to consider. Try to deliver your content in small, bite-sized chunks in engaging videos or presentations that make it easy to digest. Try to provide your audience with varying types of content, too, so that they are getting the knowledge they need whilst avoiding seminar fatigue.
2. Keep the energy up with quizzes, Q&A’s and live polls
This is a great way to enhance your content and keep your virtual audience engaged in the content they are absorbing, and the event as a whole. Scattering quizzes and live polls within keynote sessions and amongst dynamic content keep attendees alert and it is also a useful tool to understand your audience’s attention levels. To make sure your audience feels like they are part of the conversation, regular Q&A breakouts can also really help. These features also provide you with some useful insights, which you can draw upon to continuously improve your events.
3. Offer your audience on-demand content
Every attendee who joins a virtual event does so with their ideas and goals in mind, which makes it important to provide as personalized an experience as possible. A digital library gives your attendees instant access to the content that interests them on demand. This might include pre-recorded sessions from past events, as well as other useful content like tips and guides. A well-built event platform or multi-event app will let you build up this hub of knowledge, and keep your event relevant long after the event has occurred.
4. Include your audience with personalised push notifications
Event apps have long offered the feature of push notifications to remind delegates when sessions are starting, or to advertise competitions and other events. During a virtual or hybrid event, the urgency around these physical instances is far lower. This doesn’t mean that push notifications become less important. In fact, we believe they become more important. Having an event app that allows you to send personalised push notifications to your delegates will be a perfect way to maintain high communication and engagement levels. Whether it be a request for feedback after a session they just watched on-demand, a personalised reminder of a session they had signed up for, or a release of a study certificate – the possibilities are endless in ways to include your audience and make them feel part of the wider event.
5. Use Gamification to Increase Engagement
6. Setup Dedicated Social Media Channels
To promote your event, as well as encourage networking before, during, and after it, you should set up dedicated social media channels on all the platforms that are popular with your attendees. For example, you can set up dedicated LinkedIn groups, Facebook pages, or Microsoft teams channels based on specific topics covered by your event. This will allow attendees to connect over shared interests long after your event too. Depending on the event app you choose, you can set up activity and media walls which is akin to a private social feed designed especially for your event.
7. Mix things up
It is important to offer a mix of live keynotes and pre-recorded sessions. Even if your events offer the best virtual engagement features, attendees probably won’t want to sit through a full conference day consisting solely of live sessions. Be sure to record everything so that your audience can choose when to absorb your content. It’s also important to shake up the mini-breaks and breakouts you scatter through the sessions – this helps to prevent screen-time fatigue and encourage networking. Why not try mini yoga sessions, team-driven activities or even some virtual happy hour ideas?
8. Encourage Networking
Many people join events for networking and social opportunities, and virtual events should not be any different. Aside from push notifications, a dedicated mobile event app is the key to successful networking. With integrated social media elements, such as instant messaging and live activity feeds, you can start connecting people early. Ideally, attendees should have access to your mobile app as soon as they register, so they can scroll through profiles and reach out to others who share their interests with virtual ice breakers. Your event platform and event app should facilitate one-to-one conversations, allowing attendees to connect with each other and with subject matter experts in between sessions.
9. Select the Right Virtual Event Platform
Finally, the most important thing of all is to choose the right platform for hosting, managing, and promoting your event. Many platforms still don’t cater well to virtual and hybrid events, so it’s important to choose an integrated solution that offers all the features we’ve covered above. At the very least, you’ll need a platform that supports private video calls, one-to-one meeting scheduling, and virtual networking between sessions.
Get in touch for a demo of the Insight Mobile Event app and conference platform to take your virtual events to the next level.