So you’re having to rethink your 2020 event schedule, huh? What you planned to host in-person now has to be taken online. And while there are certainly many benefits of hosting an online event, the one downside is that online events are typically — just by nature alone — less interactive than in-person events.
But that’s not to say they can’t still be interactive! There are many tactics you can try and activities you can incorporate to better engage your online audience.
Below are just a few ideas…
Put out a call for questions in advance
This depends a little bit on the nature of your online event, but if it makes sense, leading up to the event, ask your registrants to submit questions they’d like answered on the webinar or livestream.
How does that make your event more interactive? Well not only is it a quick and easy way to involve your audience from the get-go, but it helps build anticipation; attendees will be on high alert listening out for their questions. (Plus, they’ll be appreciative you even took the time to ask!)
Allow for and encourage “chatting”
When selecting technology for your online event(s), it’s wise to choose a system with a chatbox feature. This allows attendees to not only engage with you or the presenter, but to engage with other attendees — a major benefit of in-person events.
In fact, you might actually see more chatting online than you do in person (or more chatting online from certain people than you do in person). Think about your introverted members for a second. Sometimes, in-person networking events can be challenging for them. But people typically feel more comfortable online, so this could actually be a great way for those members in particular to start getting more engaged.
If you’ve attended online webinars, you’ve likely seen these polls in action. At any point during your webinar (or at several points during your webinar), you can conduct polls to engage your audience in real time. And the benefits here are actually three-fold:
- They help your audience feel more engaged.
- They help you get to know your members better.
- They help your attendees see where they stand in relation to their peers.
Best of all, as long as you have the right technology in place, conducting live polls is easy. So don’t worry about this being too much extra work on your plate. (We know you have enough already!)
If your audience is active on Twitter, and you’d love it if they’d tweet about the event the same way they would if they were in person, make that 1) known, and 2) EASY.
Whenever you’re making a big point in your webinar (you know, those “ah ha” moments), consider inserting a slide that says “Tweetable” or that has the Twitter icon, followed by whatever that big takeaway is. Maybe it’s a shocking statistic. Or a Simon-Sinek-like quote. If it packs a punch, encourage your attendees to share it on social media.
We recently hosted a webinar with our good friend, Sarah Sladek, CEO of XYZ University, and below is an example of one of the tweetables she had in her presentation:
Easy AND engaging.
If you’re interested in hosting online events, but in need of technology that will allow for the tactics above, take a look at MC | LMS, MemberClicks’ full-scale learning management system. With MC | LMS in conjunction with a webinar provider such as TelSpan, your attendees can chat, participate in polls, ask questions in real time, etc.
And for a step-by-step guide regarding how to host a virtual event (particularly a virtual conference), download our free eBook below!