Engaging an Online Event Audience

So, you have managed to get attendees to log on and watch your online event. You have done all the hard work, congratulations! But don’t celebrate too soon. Engaging an online event audience is not as easy as you think.

Over the previous two years, we’ve helped manage several virtual events and learnt a lot about how to keep our audiences engaged. This blog post will show you how to keep your audience engaged in the most effective way possible.

We are very confident to say that: online audience members who engage will be more likely to attend the next event. Being able to do anything to encourage an increase in take-up is event GOLD.

Engagement should start a week or so before the event

We recommend inviting attendees to log in to the platform a week before the event, this allows the user to familiarise themselves and get used to all the benefits and features. This includes offering a short ‘tour’/user guide. In addition to this, we encouraged the attendees to interact with a poll which asked what they hope to learn from the event. This can be achieved through a live chat function or a live poll. 

So, even before the event we recommend: 

  • Inviting the attendees to log on and see the platform
  • An active chat 
  • Interactive LIVE poll

Engagement isn’t just emailing people or posting comments, it is important that you find the time to engage. It’s important to remain responsive during the lead up and at the event, responding anybody’s queries and comments. A simple hello and welcome the event is sufficient. This initial, pre-event engagement, really helps with engaging an online event audience. 

Engage the audience as soon as the event starts

Here are our tips for engaging an online event audience when your event starts:

1.Have an online host and make sure they are brilliant

Your host should be the first face they see on screen and their most important job, first and foremost, is to welcome the online audience.

2. Act as one of the audiences, not as the curator or gatekeeper

We made the mistake of trying to be the gatekeeper during our first online summit. Once we allowed the audience free reign, the engagement blossomed. Our team feels from the events we have run, we receive more honest and helpful engagement when we freed ourselves from our gatekeeper role.

Encourage your speakers to go live 

One of the biggest advantages of live video is something that’s crucial in the world of virtual events: It’s vastly more engaging than pre-recorded video.

People love watching events unfold in real time, much more than they do watching something that’s already happened. When they react and comment, they feel like they’re part of the event—part of the larger conversation. Simply put, if you want to drive high engagement figures, live video is the way to go.

Encourage your audience to engage with your speakers

If your powers of persuasion have worked and you have a speaker joining you online, make it easy for your attendees to ask your speakers questions and for them to be able to respond.

This adds a lot of value: allowing the audience to be able to delve down into some of the content is vital if you are going to encourage interaction.

Thank the audience for their engagement

As your event draws to a close and your audience starts to head off, it is a great idea to thank everyone as they leave. On a good platform, you will have an idea of the number of attendees you have online. If users are using the chat room to say their farewells, make sure you respond on the chat.

The point is to say thank you for spending that extra effort to engage with the event.

Follow up with an e-shot campaign to all your attendees, with supporting event materials, and any recorded content, where the attendees can relive the moments of the virtual event.

After the event has finished, ask the attendees to fill out a questionnaire

After every event, you should have a feedback form. It’s simple with an online event and is easy to develop. It eradicates the need for any printing and collecting feedback individually. Simply send (and resend) a link to the attendees to ensure feedback. You will learn what was valuable to the attendees and how to improve for next time.