Unique and Creative Strategies for Virtual Attendee Engagement

As a production company, we get a lot of questions about virtual attendee engagement. Arguably one of the biggest pain points for planners, driving engagement isn’t quite as hard as one might think. And while we’ve discussed this topic before, we wanted to tackle it again. Because after producing dozens of successful virtual events over the past few months, we’ve learned a lot! Especially about how to come up with strategies that make attendees happy and eager for more, both during and after the fact.

In the past, we discussed the importance of paying attention to virtual attendee engagement every step of the way. And today, we keep the conversation going, but in an even more exciting direction. Keep reading to find out the most creative and unique strategies to drive virtual attendee engagement!

Push It!
Back before virtual events were the norm, planners already dabbled in event apps. And one of the great things about this particular piece of event tech is push notifications. Much like the notifications that you receive from other apps on your phone – from Facebook to meditation reminders – these kept attendees up to speed.

With virtual events, they become an even bigger ally, particularly where virtual attendee engagement is concerned. Think about it like this: one of the biggest perils associated with virtual events is distractions. Because audiences are participating from home, it’s easy to get sidetracked by the dog or the mailman. But if they receive push notifications about exciting sessions or enjoyment sessions, they’ll be reminded to come back and stay tuned. It’s like constantly planting a little seed on your attendees ‘ minds that will keep growing with each part of the event that they participate in. Plus, with the advent of personalization, you can send each set of attendees different reminders, based on what they are more interested in and won’t want to miss.

Keep enjoyment Alive

Enjoyment isn’t over! Remember how at the beginning of lockdown artists and entertainers all around the world came together in beautiful displays of creativity? People weren’t any less excited about bands streaming tiny desk concerts or magicians giving them a free show through their social media channels. And this should serve as a good lesson for anyone who doesn’t believe enjoyment should be featured in virtual events.

Look, content matters-a lot. And now more than ever! But while quality content plays a tremendous role in the overall success of your event, it can’t be the only thing you’re providing to the attendees. If your in-person events included MCs, live music, happy hours, and more, your virtual events should too. Arguably, even more so! Like event enjoyment expert Paul Creighton told us once, ” the minute an event goes virtual, it’s not a meeting, it’s a TV show. And you need to think about it in those terms”. So make sure you budget for some kind of enjoyment if virtual attendee engagement is something you care about!

Gamification Wins

A great way to keep your audience from tuning out during the event is to gamify some aspects of the experience. Everyone is a sucker for a great game, and there’s plenty of room to be creative here! It can be anywhere from a quick trivia game to something that goes on throughout the whole event. A little friendly competition has a way of bringing up a lot of energy and engagement in the people involved, especially if there’s something to win at the end.

The Gift of…Giving

And since we’re talking about winning something, let’s slide right into gift bags. Particularly over the past few months, we all sort of bonded over the excitement of online shopping. There’s just something extra special about that shot of dopamine straight to your brain every time a package arrives at your door. So why not use this magic chemistry to show appreciation to your audience and drive even more engagement?

Swag bags are hardly a new concept. And let’s get real here – most of the things that attendants used to get were pretty useless tchotchkes that never saw the light of day again. So while delivering something straight to your audience’s door can be a great weapon, make sure it works in your favor and is worth the cost. Instead of t-shirts with your company’s logo why not food delivery services instead? You can even add a dedicated virtual room for people to enjoy their food together!

Break It

Ice breakers are always a good idea when it comes to a group of people who don’t know each other. While it’s an activity that won’t take up a lot of time, it presents a great opportunity for attendees to get more familiar. Whether you decide to break people up into small groups or get everyone in on the fun at once, there’s plenty you can do.

Think something along the lines of trivia games or questions and answers. And if you want to really drive the engagement home with something unique, include mindfulness and exercise sessions in the mix. Why not have a yoga room? Or a professional meditation come in and conduct a session? Be creative with what you offer attendees!