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How to engage your audience in a post-pandemic event world
September 9, 2022
By Cathy Song Novelli, CMO, Hubilo
The pandemic changed all our personal lives and even our mental health. Our careers changed almost overnight to accommodate remote work, including moving conferences to video sessions and webinars. Virtual meetings now fill us with dread, as we’re somehow still unable to find the unmute button even after two years. Your employees and audience are mentally exhausted; engaging them virtually has become nearly impossible, but at the same time, they still prefer a remote/in-person hybrid work model after the pandemic. Planning for this new hybrid world means employers, event planners, and marketers must leverage technology to fully engage their audiences.
When we can mute our video, it’s easy to disengage from participating in virtual events. Attendees aren’t retaining information or insights learned at events the way they once did. So, what’s the solution? Here we give our top tips on how to engage your audience during a virtual event.
Use native digital language
One of the easiest ways to capture and keep audiences’ attention is by giving them the ability to use the language they’re drawn to on digital platforms. For example, providing emojis, memes, and gifs for people to respond to authentically in a digital environment increases the chances of engagement.
One creative way to welcome an audience is an invitation to create a meme and submit it to win a new pair of Apple Airpods. Individuals could engage with each meme and its creator thanks to social media-like features on the platform.
Going deeper to reimagine the future of events, we can look at our technology capabilities alongside how humans learn and interact with each other online. Today, we can connect with others via video on all social platforms, post an image and get validation instantly. We use 280 characters to connect with strangers for the world to see. TikTok influencers teach subjects as diverse as cooking a meal to how to write a resume. The goal should be to create events that resonate with the audience by leveraging their digital lives. This creates the connection between learning and engagement, a necessity brought by the overnight digitalization from the pandemic and the rapid-moving parts of everyone’s day-to-day lives.
It’s also key to connect the individuals who attend events by getting them to meet each other, whether they’re in-person, virtual, or hybrid. It’s integral to intentionally create the emotional connection between event participants as well as the content, and using a common digital language can help achieve this.
Create opportunities and support
With one event, one platform, and thousands of contributors across the globe, you can foster connections without limitations.
From a single parent to a disabled employee, everyone today has the ability to attend the event they want to – not just at a specific location but across the globe. We have witnessed audiences from varied continents such as Asia, Europe, and Africa tune into an event in Pacific Standard Time (America) to listen to the key insights shared by the industry leaders that they follow. And this is just not pertaining to external events, you can also connect your employees across different countries and time zones on one platform for events like town halls or annual sales kick-offs, leading to creating opportunities and support for all alike.
This is where our real and virtual worlds collide, creating humanization within a virtual and hybrid event - something we could not conceptualize before virtual meeting platforms existed. Advanced technology has allowed a new way of expressing and harnessing human connections.
Audiences want a virtual option
Employees have made clear that virtual means of work and connection are expected moving forward. Hybrid events align those expectations with reality and make life easier, more convenient, and more accessible.
The high-tech features of events hosted through event tech platforms are already changing the way events, large and small, are produced. Hybrid events will become our new normal. Today’s young employees who are just starting their careers won’t know any other reality. Making digital tools to match what Gen Z and young Millennials have come to expect or grown up with is critical moving forward. Giving them ways to network digitally at conferences and connect to their peers one on one is vital to an event’s success. For 24 months, your future employees and event attendees have been stuck in a virtual space that doesn't provide options for essential parts of their career growth. Platforms like Hubilo offer the solution to open everyone's home office to the world of connection.
Human connection is always at the core of events. That’s what keeps people interested, feeling like they’re not just another video square on the screen. Technology is rapidly changing our world, but cultivating that connection is non-negotiable. Platforms like Hubilo are leading the way for virtual, in-person, and hybrid events to meet that expectation.