If you are a producer or manager who’s planning a hybrid event, you’re responsible for providing an outstanding experience for both in-person and virtual audiences. This requires a high level of planning, followed by flawless execution. How you go about offering a seamless and worthwhile experience to two unique audiences must be carefully thought out so that you can best engage attendees and receive a higher return on your investment (ROI).
From using the right technology platform to hiring the appropriate staff members to conducting proper rehearsals and more, here are seven best practices for your upcoming hybrid event.
1) Understand Your Virtual Attendees’ Attention Spans
It may be more difficult to keep the attention of your virtual attendees over a long period of time. They tend to have more distractions being at home, can get burned out from watching a computer screen for long periods of time, and since they’re already on the internet, it’s not hard to imagine them dropping off periodically to surf their favorite social media rather than viewing your content. As such, it’s important to keep the punctuality of your hybrid presentations as tight as possible, while shortening session times.
2) Get Help From A Virtual Event Platform
If you’re trying to ensure the virtual experience is as high quality as possible, make sure to choose an event platform that automates much of the hybrid event process for you. People who are paying for tickets expect more than some smartphone footage and a live stream on Facebook. Instead, pick an integrated platform that provides everything you need to craft a properly engaging experience.
Public & Private Live Chat
You can bring the same “face-to-face” experience to your virtual audience by choosing a platform with integrated chat functionalities. Whether you want to host a public Q&A forum, moderated by staff, or a private one-on-one experience for attendees to interact with each other and/or speakers, these features steer networking opportunities and allow for the gathering of feedback.
Virtual Exhibition Booths
Virtual exhibition booths are ideal for speakers and sponsors who want to have more control over the “portal” they’re offering to virtual attendees. They’re able to craft an experience that mimics an in-person exhibit, while customizing things like visuals, messaging, networking opportunities and chat rooms.
3) Hire A Hybrid Tech Specialist
You’ll need a tech specialist for an in-person event, just as you always would — someone who can control video projection, speaker setup, light shows and manage staff. But, with a hybrid event, you’ll also need someone with expertise in internet connections, audio-visual streaming, online moderation and the many other components that go into broadcasting content to an audience over the web. Make sure to hire the proper technical professionals who can provide you with the best support for a seamless online experience. Other staffing needs should include a dedicated emcee to run the remote-based show, as well as moderators to manage chat rooms and other interactive functions.
4) Conduct A Hybrid Event Dress Rehearsal
Sorting out production issues starts well before the curtains are drawn. Your hybrid event depends on a solid rehearsal process. This is particularly important when you’re beaming-in speakers and audiences from around the world. Many remote speakers will need to record or live stream from their home, meaning they’ll need some necessary technology, like a high-definition camera, quality microphone, strong internet connection and powerful computer. With the proper preparation, you can ensure everyone is comfortable with the event activities and you can develop a plan in case things go downhill. Make sure to run through how to turn cameras on, deliver audio, administer polls, move through slides, respond to user queries and work on any other unique functions like live Q&A or custom breakout rooms. Learn more about preparing your speakers for a virtual event experience.
5) Choose The Right Venue Capacity
With a hybrid event, a large portion of your audience may decide to attend virtually, rather than in person. As such, the venue requirements may not need to accommodate as many people as they did in years past. Refer to your hybrid event marketing plan and use pre-sale ticket numbers, advertising impressions or clicks as a gauge to what size venue you may need. While you may not like it, capping tickets so that only a select number of participants can join in, may make it feel more exclusive and allow you to charge a higher rate.
6) Use Custom Content For Remote Attendees
The needs of an in-person audience and a virtual one will differ. Those online will stay more engaged when you’re constantly delivering a stream of content, whereas a live audience may be better served with regular breaks throughout the day so they can explore exhibit booths, network with other attendees or grab lunch, for example. Think of ways you can keep the attention of your remote viewers with content like speaker interviews, on-the-ground footage of the day’s happenings, a historical overview of your event or sponsors, and so on.
7) Don’t Forget Key Post-Event Actions
The event doesn’t end when the curtains drop and your audience shuffles out of the room or shuts down their computers. Take advantage of several post-event actions that can help push your ROI even higher. Use recorded event content to promote within email marketing campaigns and on social media. Or, offer on-demand content to allow those who weren’t able to attend the chance to participate at a later date. Follow up with attendees who participated in Q&A sessions or polls with a personalized email that shows you’re interested in bringing them into your network or pipeline.
Are you searching for more help implementing hybrid event best practices?
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Let our team show you the advantages of how an advanced platform will make the event execution process easier – contact us today to learn more about our hybrid solutions