4 Tips to Build Effective Event Strategy in Hybrid Era
Over the last year or so, event professionals have increasingly started to incorporate hybrid experiences into their overall event strategy. Moreover, during the previous year, event planning services have begun to recognise the value of coming together as a community. In response to this, event planning professionals have started to rely on one online event platform or the other.
Hybrid events have been seen to provide unique benefits and opportunities that in-person events fall short of. However, while the concept itself is not new, it is still relatively fresh in terms of the mass implementation of corporate virtual events that we are seeing now. Hence, there are fresh dynamics at play in hybrid events that need to be considered.
This article will attempt to help event planning services to navigate the world of hybrid events more easily by outlining 4 essential tips to building an effective hybrid event strategy. So, let’s get into it!
1. Plan Equally Engaging Experiences for Both Audiences
As a hybrid event organiser, you need to remember that you have two audiences instead of one. One audience is virtual, while the other is in-person. Event planners should look to create an equal amount of value for both audiences. By incorporating equally worthwhile elements for both audiences into hybrid events, one can ensure that both in-person and virtual attendees walk away feeling heard and, hence, valued.
The most common thing to have happen at a hybrid event is that the virtual attendees feel like second-class attendees. Your goal should be to ensure that both audiences feel like they have front-row seats to your hybrid event, which certainly means that live streaming of an event is out of the question.
One way to ensure that all attendees have an equally worthwhile experience is to have one team reserved to facilitate the in-person attendees on-site and another team dedicated to facilitating the virtual attendees. This mainly includes the moderating of questions.
Moreover, although it is not necessary, some of your speakers can deliver their presentations online. Online event platforms allow speakers to give their presentations virtually in a very convenient manner and, hence, having some virtual speakers at your event will show that you aren’t going to let the virtual nature of the event come in the way of a successful hybrid event.
2. Engagement is Key to Fostering Connections
It doesn’t matter whether your attendees are sitting across the room from you or seated in their living room at home. As a hybrid event planner, your job is to ensure that both sets of attendees are maximally engaged in the event. If you can manage to do this, the hybridity of the event will become a secondary element, as the level of engagements will easily be able to bridge the gap between the two audiences and create a unifying sense of community.
There are many ways to leverage an online event platform to make your hybrid event engaging for both audiences. For starters, breakouts with speakers can help provide everyone with networking opportunities, while live chats can keep online attendees as engaged as in-person ones. Additionally, event planning services are making use of Q&A sessions, live polls, gamification, and even contests to boost the level of community engagement across mediums.
Furthermore, moderators and support staff should be committed to ensuring that the event runs smoothly, both technically and in terms of the general program. Disruptions in the flow of a hybrid event are a sure-fire way to lose your audience’s engagement, especially your virtual attendees.
3. Use Shared Immersive Experiences to Foster Community
Anyone who has attended corporate virtual events from their living room knows that it is all too easy to feel alienated from the event and the in-person attendees. For this reason, more outstanding efforts should be made to foster a sense of community amongst virtual attendees by using shared immersive experiences.
Shared immersive experiences can range from gamification and contests to tangible deliverables for all your attendees. For example, by mailing event merchandise and meal deliverables to your virtual attendees beforehand, you will ensure they feel like they are a vital part of the event and a significant part of the community. The success of your hybrid event should ideally be dependent on the level of engagement and inclusiveness you can foster among your attendees across mediums.
4. Keep Engagement Going After the Event is Over
One of the best ways to build an effective event strategy in the era of hybrid events is to continue attendee engagement even after the event is over. This will extend the life and value of your event and engage your attendees further by genuinely making them feel as if they are part of a larger community.
One way of ensuring continued engagement is to host smaller events but to host more of them throughout the year. This will help continuously expand your community and give you the chance to keep your attendees engaged by posting on-demand content to your event platform. This will also allow your attendees to connect with sponsors and vendors before the next event.
Moreover, as a corporate event organiser, you should use the time after each event to utilise your event analytics to better understand your audience. More specifically, event analytics will tell you what worked for your attendees and what didn’t, thereby allowing you the chance to cater your next event to your audience’s needs and expectations.
According to many professional event planning services, the age of hybrid events is pretty much here to stay. Therefore, event organisers will have to continue developing ways to build an effective hybrid event strategy to keep audiences engaged and cultivate an engaged community.
While any online event platform can provide you with what you need to host a hybrid event, to ensure that every event is a resounding success, audience engagement should be your top priority no matter what.
Sarah Hill is a content writer at Seven Events Ltd, a leading event management company in Birmingham offering venue finding and event planning services. She started her career in the events industry almost a decade ago as time progressed she became an avid event blogger sharing her insight on corporate event planning.
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