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How To Keep Engagement Levels High During Hybrid Events

Yes& has helped several large associations successfully execute large-scale events with a detailed pre, intra, and post-event strategy. Here are a few quick-hitting pieces of advice they recommend. 
 

 
There's a complex, oft-discussed decision for organizations as we continue to navigate COVID-19: balancing event safety with an eagerness to meet in person.
 
For many, the logical answer is hybrid. Virtual attendees anxious about travel can still learn and interact from the comfort of their home office. In-person attendees can collaborate after many months of Zoom calls and remote meetings.
 
But, this leads to another challenge…how do you keep engagement levels high during hybrid events? You can't regress back to the way we operated before the pandemic. And, the expectation of participation opportunities, insights, and human connection is growing as events have become a luxury investment for many organizations.
 
There's no single “correct” answer. However, Yes& has helped several large associations successfully execute large-scale events with a detailed pre, intra, and post-event strategy.
 
Based on our learnings from the success of those events, here are a few quick-hitting pieces of advice we recommend.


 

Be transparent from the beginning.

Having a defined messaging strategy in place six months before the event can make or break your success. Set clear expectations for your internal team. Build event engagement into your larger marketing strategy. Think about how you can leverage your owned media channels (email, social media, blog) to push out communications.
 
And, let attendees know that you are actively monitoring the health and safety guidelines.
 

Take the time to research and understand your audience's wants.

The people who dictate the success of your event are the ones attending. Successful organizations thoughtfully survey their members, stakeholders, and employees to get a sense of their comfort levels.
 
Contact past attendees to gauge their desire to meet in person. This also means implementing a consistent feedback cycle after the event to understand what could have been improved.
 

Have a team dedicated to social media during the event.

As technology advances, attendees expect more than information at events. They want an experience.
 
Offer incentives for user generated content. Encourage physical and virtual attendees to share images or videos to their social media channels. Thoughtfully respond to encouraging comments on social media. Direct message thought leaders in attendance and respectfully ask them to share some of their favorite moments.
 
Hire a videographer to take high quality videos and pictures to share on social media.
 
Most importantly, have a team in place to manage this part of the event. Create an event content calendar and set specific roles for each team member –– if you don't have the internal capacity to handle this, consider hiring an agency to run event engagement for you.
 

Create valuable experiences for virtual attendees.

For virtual attendees, implement activities that mimic the in-person experience. Host a networking room where in-person attendees can stop by and chat with virtual attendees via video chat?.
 
Build smaller groups and one-on-one meetings with breakout session topics. Leverage your technology to create video rooms where virtual attendees can see one another and have a real human experience.
 

Continue the experience after the event ends.

Don't host an event and then go quiet for 364 days. Thank everyone who attended and invested in your event success (especially sponsors). Get active on your blog and social media channels recapping the event and sharing real, noteworthy moments of speakers, conversations, and smiles.
 
Extend exclusive opportunities including smaller follow-up networking opportunities for attendees or upcoming charity events.
 
Keep them excited and engaged until the next event.
 
Ultimately, treat attendees like stakeholders. Build strong, stable relationships with them that last. 

 

About Yes& 

Beyond Definition Yes CompanyYes & is a brand and marketing agency for what's next. We are your guides for navigating change, creating an audience-first brand, marketing, and digital experiences to move your mission forward. We are your partners to identify challenges and unlock mission-critical solutions.

 


 

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