In this post, we break down 10 ideas to get higher participation in your digital experience.
Ok, so you have a digital experience happening soon. As the days and hours get closer a million worries start to enter your head (trust us we know). One of these worries is likely to be around getting your audience to actually participate in the experience.
If this is something you have or do worry about, you are not alone.
It turns out that audience participation might be a common issue across the event industry. Something that was happening long before COVID-19. In a recent article for PCMA, one of the original authors of the experience economy, James H. Gilmore, speaks to a trend whereby events, in general, are seeing lower attendance and engagement hours1.
At this point, I am going to level with you. There are two sides to the challenge here:
- Laying the groundwork – basically how accessible your experience is. So things like do I have the time to stick around and listen and do you provide me with the opportunity to participate (or just present slides to me).
- Making it happen – basically making the experience so compelling that I have to participate.
In the experience economy, winning brands must transform events into memorable and immersive experiences
We cover both types here. So here goes. 10 ideas to increase participation at your digital experience:
First of all, how to lay the groundwork
#1 Keep your meeting short – our experience showed that less is more. Remember your audience is most used to attending webinars, and the average webinar lasts around 60 minutes.
#2 Change up the format during your meeting – how about sharing some pre-recorded content ahead of time, then using the live time for interactions, discussions, and actual audience participation. This could include things like ‘ask me anything’ sessions, panel discussions and fireside chats, or even late-night show style interviews.
#3 Keep it short and focused – keep your presentations to 10-20 minutes maximum, even shorter if you can. If you need to go longer, then mix up the format, and move beyond the webinar (i.e. slides and a speaker).
TIP: Send swag ahead of time, to make give people added reason to attend and participate.
#4 Make space for self-exploration – before your meeting starts, or between presentations, let your audience go through various resources and discussion feeds on the platform.
#5 Have a moderator that is comfortable with the format – someone who can make the speaker feel at ease when bouncing between discussions, and that helps to keep participants excited and sticking around for more.
Second, how to make it happen
#6 Add some interactivity during the presentations – participants love to share their opinion through polling and word cloud questions, it’s a way for them to feel connected with the rest of the meeting.
#7 Make sure you address your participants’ questions – more than ever, people will crave conversations and debates. Allow them to ask questions through the platform and address them as a panel.
#8 Keep the home feed alive – participants might be shy at the beginning, so have a few posts pre-entered in your feed, and have someone regularly posting new things and commenting on participants’ posts.
TIP: Have team members, experts, or influencers host discussion panels and Q&A from the home feed.
#9 Make sure to get participants’ opinions at the end of your meeting – make feedback more human with conversations, and then send notifications to get people to give their opinions (while you are still live with the audience if you want a greater return).
#10 Set up gamification to keep people coming back – have activities, challenges, homework, and group tasks, that are set in between sessions, so you keep people engaged and coming back for more.
Read our 8 Fun Virtual Event Ideas