The success of your virtual event may rely upon how well you engage your audience. Learn how to engage an online audience to maximize your virtual event success.
What is (and isn’t) Audience Engagement?
Audience Engagement refers to the level of attention and involvement that an audience has with a particular piece of content and is used as a measure of success in your virtual events (and lots of other things like social media, movies, TV shows, or live events).
Virtual event organizers like you, that are focused on engaging with your audience at a high level, will get more people to think about and then talk about your events because they are getting more out of it – they are engaged with your content.
On the contrary, events with no audience engagement don’t create much buzz and are largely forgettable. Audience Engagement IS NOT getting your event participants to say “hi” in chat or maybe answer a polling question that lacks relevance because they don’t create an impact or generate feedback.
Let’s get beyond the basics of audience engagement for virtual event organizers and step past a few tropes to help you sharpen your tools.
How is Audience Engagement measured?
Engagement can be measured in a number of ways:
- Clicks: tracking the page visits to your event website, registration or social pages
- Time: tracking the time participants offer to your content (did they stay until the end?)
- Social: monitoring comments, hashtags or social media posts and followers
- Feedback: conducting polls, surveys or focus groups to gather feedback
Audience engagement is important because it helps you, the event planner, content creator or marketer, understand how well your content is resonating with your audience and can provide you with insights that encourage improvement.
Overall, the key is to track a variety of different metrics and to gain a holistic understanding of your audience’s engagement with your content.
What happens if I ignore audience engagement?
As a virtual event organizer that is focused on audience engagement, you have the potential to drive revenue and influence your brand’s reputation. Ignoring audience engagement comes with a number of negative consequences for you and your team.
For content creators, ignoring audience engagement will result in future content that fails to move your audience, leading to lower viewership or attendance at your events. That translates to lower advertising revenue and potentially some damage to your team’s reputation.
For marketers, ignoring audience engagement will result in promoting content that fails to properly address your target audience, leading to a waste of marketing resources and potentially damaging the brand’s reputation.
What are the easiest ways to engage an audience?
The best approach will depend on the specific content and the event requirements and your audience.
Strategies for engaging a live, online audience may include:
- Use compelling visuals, high-quality images or videos, to grab and maintain the audience’s attention.
- Provide valuable information, new insights or expert advice to give the audience a reason to continue engaging with the content.
- Create Narrative, such as a well-written story or a compelling argument, to keep the audience tuned in.
- Provoke strong emotions, such as laughter or excitement, to get the audience invested in the content.
- Involve the audience directly by using engagement tools to chat and ask questions or raise their hand and participate in polls to make them a part of the content.
Use of these engagement tools deliver the best outcomes when their use is frequent and varied. Truly captivating content may offer points of engagement as often every 1-3 minutes and make use of a blend of verbal, visual and system prompts to keep participants actively engaged.
Engagement strategies before and after your event may include:
- Deliver timely invitations and reminders to your target audience via social media and email campaigns and ask people to share
- Create a unique hashtag for your event to share and help you to capture the conversation.
- Incentivize your audience with offers, prizes or discounts for their participation
- Share post-event highlights, resources, learning and gratitude to social medial
- Continue the conversation with a follow-up email, direct message or personalized email to your participants to thank them for sharing their time and to deliver resources.
At EventSpace, we encourage you to enhance your virtual audience engagement strategies in a thoughtful manner. Add new tools and tactics with expected, observable results in mind. Audience engagement generates the crucial data for your programs to keep them relevant and on target.
Get in touch with us to learn how EventSpace can help you to achieve your audience