It’s not enough just to check the box on having networking functionality available for your virtual event attendees. To truly deliver on the engaged attendee experience they expect, you have to make sure you prime them for the engagement opportunities you have in store for them.
That means regardless of what specific networking options you choose to offer at your virtual event, you need to over-communicate and promote these engagement opportunities both well in advance of and during the event.
Understand that your attendees will only read a small portion of the pre-event materials you send. This makes it critical to promote all the available networking opportunities whenever possible to increase the likelihood of attendees finding them. Here are five of the most effective—and easy—communications to get your virtual event networking off to a great start.
Highlight Engagement Opportunities on The Event Website
Even when prospective attendees are first exploring your conference, you want to amplify your event’s networking opportunities. We recommend creating a dedicated page to explain how attendees can network, the associated channel(s) they can access, and which hashtag(s) they should follow.
Include Networking Prompts in Pre-event Emails
Include a section in all of your pre-event communications that details how attendees can network with one another. Link to any relevant group pages or sites available to facilitate conversations, and also share which event hashtag attendees should use across platforms.
Promote Virtual Networking Activities in Event Transitions
At the end of sessions and during breaks, display a transition slide that explains what session is next, where attendees need to go, what time, and how they can connect with their peers. This is just as valuable during a virtual event as it is during those held in-person as it helps attendees optimize their time.
Add Networking Hashtags to Event Branding
Digital event platforms have several areas to customize to match your branding. If possible, include the event hashtag in a visible spot on your event platform, and promote any sites or pages that attendees should visit for more information.
Use Social Media as An Attendee Engagement Channel
Promote the event across your social media channels, including reminders of upcoming sessions, where attendees can access critical resources, and highlights from the sessions. You should pre-schedule general promotion tweets and have one or two team members (depending on your event and team size) available during the conference to keep posting content and monitoring for questions. Additionally, provide conference speakers with a few pre-approved posts that they can easily share to promote the event’s various networking opportunities.
For more ideas on promoting your virtual event’s networking opportunities and other strategies for creating an engaging attendees experience, download our e-Book “How to Host Virtual Networking Sessions People Will Love.”