Online events have grown in popularity since the emergence of sites like Facebook and Twitter. A recent industry report revealed that only 1% of those attending live events were ‘born digital.’ The vast majority of people still participate in physical events instead of virtual ones.
However, as more users become accustomed to the communication capabilities of the Internet, this may change dramatically.
Ensuring that your online event doesn’t fall flat or fail to meet its objectives is vital. A successful online event will engage its participants by creating an interactive and entertaining environment.
Attendees should be encouraged to share their opinions. Doing so helps them feel connected even when they are thousands of miles apart. Here are a few of the best virtual event ideas that you may consider to engage your audience.
Live Streaming Event
Live streaming events are perfect for an online community that thrives on real-time events and engaging content. A live panel discussion will allow participants from different time zones to tune in at an agreed time. This can be useful if some of your attendees work irregular hours or commute.
You might even record the session for those who cannot make it during the live broadcast. Some benefits of live streaming events include:
Sharing experiences: Feedback is shared among members of a cohesive community. It is integral to sharing their knowledge, creating new networks, and learning together. Offering several ways to experience your live stream gives them an increased choice. This will encourage them to engage more actively with one another.
Operational efficiency: Assuming your panel session is of interest to the majority of your attendees, it is likely that there are several time zones where members of your online community reside. Live streaming events allow everyone across different geographic boundaries to join in simultaneously, helping you save on operational costs.
Attracting new audiences: Online communities typically thrive on real-time events and engaging content. Live streaming allows new viewers tuning into your broadcast for the first time to remain engaged throughout.
This ensures that they do not lose interest or feel alienated due to their lack of prior knowledge about your event. Thus, they are more likely to continue participating in all other online activities related to your brand.
Forum events allow you to connect directly with your online community and answer their questions in real-time. The best feature about this particular type of virtual event is that it will enable members within the community to share feedback even when your team is not around at a certain time. Some benefits of forum events include:
Knowledge sharing: Forums encourage discussion among like-minded individuals. Questions and answers can be shared easily when someone is readily available to respond when required.
This promotes knowledge sharing within the group, strengthening community members’ ties. It helps build trust because everyone shares common interests, goals, and objectives.
Networking opportunities: An online event that offers a way for participants to network with one another is likely to encourage higher engagement within the community. One of the best features of this event is that it invites users to engage in conversation even if they are not physically present.
This helps them interact with other members in different time zones without compromising their schedule or travelling long distances.
Social Media Event
Social media events allow your existing audience and potential customers to share their opinions through various social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. This will ensure that you gain an insight into your online community’s interests and preferences. Some benefits of social media events include:
Engagement: Your participants’ interests and preferences are shared through active engagement, enabling you to engage them more effectively. This helps deepen your customer relationships.
It also provides depth to your insights about the community, giving you a better understanding of what they want from your brand to increase their satisfaction level.
Collaboration: Since users interact in real-time, they have a shared experience. They can share different ideas or interact with one another across different time zones without compromising their schedule.
This assists them when it comes to problem-solving together because everyone contributes towards finding a solution from their own perspective. It also encourages creativity.
Interactive lectures are similar to panel sessions, except they are conducted by an industry expert with knowledge about a topic or extensive experience within a particular field. Some benefits of interactive lectures include:
Panellists: The main advantage of interactive lectures is that you can invite experienced and influential speakers as your panellists, which will provide the chance for your audience to listen and interact with them directly.
On average, online events deliver 75% higher engagement rates than face-to-face events simply because it is easier to engage participants via digital channels such as live streaming. Participants also enjoy sharing their thoughts and insights on such forums due to their non-confrontational nature.
An event app is an excellent way of engaging your community by providing them with relevant and valuable information via their mobile devices. Some benefits of event apps include:
Updates: This assists you in staying up-to-date on any changes or updates which occur within the online event, such as schedule changes. This ensures that all participants remain informed about what is happening at every stage of the virtual event, minimising confusion and improving overall engagement rates.
Interactive features: Event apps provide interactive features such as live polls and surveys, enabling you to ask your audience questions and obtain feedback about their experience even after the online event has ended. It also provides an instant connection between organisers and participants, which helps in strengthening relationships.
Crowdsourcing involves asking your audience for their opinions, feedback, or ideas to find the best solution. Some benefits of crowdsourcing include:
Collective Intelligence: This allows you to tap into the collective wisdom of all your participants using social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, etc., which is useful when it comes to problem-solving because everyone brings something unique and different to the table.
Using this resource, anyone can come up with a single idea that might not have occurred to them otherwise.
Engagement: Crowdsourcing utilises an open-dialogue approach that invites active engagement from your online community, particularly on Quora, Reddit, etc. This enables you to better understand their problems and what they want from your brand to increase customer satisfaction.
It also encourages transparency among brands and participants by initiating a mutually beneficial relationship.
An expert Q&A involves inviting guest speakers of well-recognized industry experts within specific fields or subject areas. Some benefits of expert question-answers include:
Inspirational quotes: Through video, audio, or written answers, each participant can gain knowledge and inspiration from industry experts.
Expert advice: This enables participants to obtain valuable information about a particular topic or subject to further develop their skills, knowledge, or understanding.