Leah Andrew
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Boost virtual event engagement with these 6 ideas

Figuring out Strategies for Virtual Event Engagement is Critical for Success

These days most conferences and events continue to be virtual. But, according to Bizzabo’s Evolution of Events Report, engagement and networking are still the top challenges that organizers face in the virtual world.

Bizzabo Evolution of Events Statistic

Having experienced a number of virtual workshops and conferences over the past year, I’ve seen this engagement challenge firsthand. Don’t get me wrong though. Some events have been great. They were full of interactive and engaging content, and delivered personalized touches. However, others floundered. They failed to heed the key virtual presentation tips required to make for an engaging event.

Virtual Event Engagement Tips

So, how do you create virtual event engagement that makes the grade? Try these 6 virtual event engagement ideas and you’ll be be able to put on an event that is fun, interesting and interactive:

1. Take the time to brainstorm fun icebreaker questions:

When we gather together during virtual conferences, there is always that initial welcome period. You know, that time when you’re trying to figure out if you’ll put your camera on and if people can hear you. This is especially true if the event involves smaller breakout sessions. To ease that transition and build online rapport, come up with a few fun ice breakers. The best ones are those that aren’t too serious, but also ones that people have clear yes/no answers to. For example, one of my favourites is: does pineapple belong on pizza?

These kinds of questions immediately get people feeling comfortable. Plus, they go a long way to engagement.  (and P.S. – the answer is YES)

Does pineapple belong on pizza?

#pineapple+pizzaforever or #nopineapplepizza? Tweet

2. Incorporate live surveys and trivia:

Everyone loves a little bit of fun competition. Kahoots is a great tool to gamify any topic. You can create polls, quizzes and voting options that participants answer using their phones. At a recent virtual workshop, it was used to test understanding and retention after key topics were discussed.

3. Combine swag with #WFH:

Remember those in person conferences when you couldn’t wait to taste the food and see what kind of swag you’d get? Not so much these days. The snack game for virtual workshops I attend from home is dismal. And swag is nonexistent. However, it doesn’t have to be that way!

Recently, a colleague attended a virtual HR event that took #WFH swag up a notch with a hand delivered conference package. It came complete with snacks personalized with positive messages, a nice touch. Plus, the 2021 swag of the moment – a mask.

#WFH Swag Virtual Event Engagement Ideas

4. Make it easy to be social:

Social engagement is a critical part of any event or workshop. Hashtags are a must, but what if you made it dead easy for people to share and promote their participation? Think ready made social media post templates. For example, an editable template with your event colours, hashtags and event name already listed. That way, participants can easily post quotes or insights with everything else already built in.

5. Develop customized virtual backgrounds:

Zoom custom background
Example Earth Day Custom Virtual Background made in Canva

Relieve stress for your participants with this tip. Instead of frantically cleaning up their home office, or using one of the common typical virtual backgrounds, why not give them a custom background specific to your event? This is a fresh way to reinforce engagement with your brand and have some fun!

6. Use digital collaboration tools:

A final way to encourage virtual event engagement and interaction is through online collaboration tools. A favourite I used recently to identify and create opportunities for innovation is Miro. It’s a digital whiteboard that’s perfect for brainstorming workshops and getting people engaged online.

I’ve seen these six virtual event engagement ideas have a positive impact on overall satisfaction within our new online reality.  What other virtual event engagement ideas have you used or seen over the past year?  Share them with us @andrewperrymktg

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