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Event Engagement Ideas for a Virtual and Hybrid Audience

Humans thrive on social interactions, no wonder the event industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds over the years. With digitization and remote workplaces becoming the new reality hybrid events are becoming the norm. Keeping your in-person and virtual audience engaged simultaneously isn’t a cakewalk. Investing in a virtual/hybrid event platform like Nunify can make ‘event engagement’ an easy task though. 

How to make an event engaging

Get creative, think outside the box, keep the content crisp, include interactive sessions, encourage audience participation, and bring in an element of personalization. Leverage technology (think virtual event platforms) to engage your audience.

Taking cues from the role an event management platform plays in keeping audiences engaged we have put together a list of event engagement ideas we think will continue to rule in 2022. Any event involves three stages:

  • Pre-event
  • During the event
  • Post-event

We have grouped the event engagement ideas accordingly. So, let’s dive in!

PRE-EVENT ENGAGEMENT

  1. Virtual welcome kits for attendees to use during the event: To generate excitement and awareness among attendees sending a welcome kit prior to the event containing merchandise to be used in activities is a good idea. This way you integrate the best of physical and virtual elements into an event. Another idea could be a virtual kit containing subscriptions to tools, discount vouchers for an app related to the event, 3D VR tools, etc. The possibilities are just endless. Welcome kits can be a powerful audience engagement tool and expand your pool of sponsors.
  2. Engage with audiences through social-media pre-event: A majority of your users are active on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and many more. Integrate these social media sites with your virtual event platform and create your own social media wall to interact with your audience. Release teasers, engage in conversation, and run pre-event polls to gauge attendees’ likes and dislikes. Create a buzz around your event. Apple for example generates hype around its events every year.
  3. Mobile Event Apps to make audience interaction easy: Event apps like Nunify are user-friendly and easy to navigate. With over more than 90 features the app can be customized and adapted as per your unique event needs. Nunify’s mobile app enables attendees to pre-register for the event. An event organizer can upload all event-related information (agenda, speaker profiles, photo, and video gallery) on the app. Targeted push notifications ensure audiences are reminded of the event at regular time intervals before the event.

DURING THE EVENT ENGAGEMENT

  1. Gamification to make an event more fun and engaging: The ‘Squid Game’ on Netflix became the most viewed show as it is based on gaming. Making gamification a part of your events is one of the most effective ways to keep your audience engaged. Organizing a treasure hunt – the activity-based challenge is a nice way to get attendees to interact with each other. Rewarding them as they clear each level will make sure they stay along till the end. 
  2. Quiz & live audience polls: Live polls are a structured and streamlined way of gathering audience opinions in real-time. Polling can be a multiple-choice format or something more simple like rating a session on a scale of 1 to 10. Conducting polls and quizzes in between sessions followed by rewards keeps your audience’s interest quotient high. It also is a valuable data pool for an event organizer to get an understanding of what kind of sessions generated interest and what did not. 
  3. Entertainment shows in between sessions: Including entertainment bites in between sessions breaks the monotony and brings spark and interest. However, make sure the performances resonate with your audience. Some ideas could be a song or dance performance, stand-up comedy, flash mob, a small play related to the industry for which an event is being done, a magic show, etc. Given the fact that most people have short attention spans, entertaining content provides a much-needed mental break. It can also be a common ground for attendees to strike up a conversation with each other.
  4. Guided conversation games: Platforms like ‘Icebreaker video’ enable participants to converse with each other by giving a topic to discuss. Participants can enter a group and chat with each other, address the whole group, pair up on one-to-one videos and do a lot more. Event organizers could conduct such sessions even pre-event with people from a similar background.
  5. Breakout rooms: Breakout rooms facilitate interaction between small groups of attendees by coming together and discussing specific event topics. One can create breakout rooms virtually or in person with the help of virtual event apps such as Nunify. Try to include as many breakout sessions throughout your event so as to increase virtual engagement among attendees. Swap breakout room attendees every time enabling attendees to network better. 
  6. Light-Speed presentations: Having too many sessions in a presentation or lecture format lasting for 30 minutes or more can be boring. Having rapid-fire or light-speed presentations like pechakucha.com (means chit-chat) in Japanese can be an interesting format to generate interest. One could do so by doing a short video using images and music in the background and conveying the message in a video lasting less than a minute. In short, keep bite-sized content pieces in between long ones.
  7. Different session formats: When it comes to virtual events, participants do not have the luxury to explore a venue like in-person events, interact someone in between sessions, etc. It makes sense to have a mix of session formats such as presentation, live-stream sessions, videos, Q&As, polls in between sessions instead of towards the end. Interactive games and ample breakout sessions.  

POST-EVENT ENGAGEMENT

  1. Live-stream and on-demand content: Creating an event filled with mixed format sessions such as live speakers and webinars makes an event lively and encourages audiences to engage better. However, do not undermine the importance of integrating on-demand content to your virtual/hybrid event for your audience to browse once an event is over.  At times it is not possible for attendees to watch or attend every presentation,  it could be a busy schedule or a short attention span. 
  2. Post-event engagement activities: A month-long mini Olympics that includes sports & games, quiz around the various topics covered at an event.
  3. Feedback: Collecting audience feedback once an event is over is important. Sending an email or a goodie box post an event with a thank you message can do a lot beyond your imagination. Also, do not forget to send an easy-to-fill feedback form or questionnaire along with the note. Some must include questions could be: 
    • Which session or speaker resonated with them? 
    • What could have been better?
    • How easy or tough was it to register and navigate through the event platform?

Keeping two groups of audiences engaged (in-person and virtual attendees) is not an easy feat. However, getting a virtual event management mobile app like Nunify on board can help you a great deal in keeping your disparate audience engaged. In-person attendees can use the mobile app to receive notifications, view maps, and interact with virtual guests by sending messages, participating in polls and Q&As, and creating their unique user profiles. The event app itself is the venue for virtual attendees which enables them to attend an event from their mobile or desktop. An event app makes sure your audience (in-person and virtual) can seamlessly interact with each other and consume useful content.

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