What makes various types of events such a popular and sought-after experience? Is it the performer or the speaker? Sure. Is it the venue? Maybe. Is it the opportunity to learn and experience something new? That’s important too, undoubtedly. Still, what I believe is the biggest attraction of any event is the people you’ll encounter there. With the industry’s shutdown due to COVID-19, how do planners make sure they don’t lose the social aspect when taking their events online?
The sudden loss of social life has hit harder than anyone expected. From sporting activities, to dining out, to regular meetups, we all had to cut back on many of the things we love doing.
Business-wise, a lot of work has been done remotely and many niches have been afflicted, the event industry seemingly being among the hardest-hit.
Here at Chatwee, we noticed a shift in the market as soon as lockdowns were first rolled out in March 2020.
We started seeing a significant rise in terms of website traffic, as well as the number of inquiries regarding whether our live chat app will be a good fit for online events.
Since we already had the social aspect covered with various types of online communities being our prime target, we have indeed become a perfect addition for all kinds of events now scrambling to take place on the Internet instead of cancelling.
Having experience in event planning myself, I know how much work goes into making a conference or a trade fair happen. There are just so many codependent pieces joining together to deliver the final product to the audience that I have nothing but respect for all the organizers who adjusted so well on the go.
Many event planners were facing a tough choice. They could either cancel all the preparations and hope for things to improve soon (we now know how that would’ve gone) or try to see through whatever projects they had ongoing in another form.
But any event isn’t just by the people, it’s intrinsically FOR the people as well. The question then emerged of how do you ensure that virtual attendance and interaction are possible?
What would any event be without the visitors mingling and networking? After all, isn’t that the main purpose of attending a trade fair or a conference? Is it even possible to have somewhat of a proxy for the interaction that would’ve taken place at the venue?
As an event organizer going digital, you have to start somewhere.
Getting participants to see what’s happening is an obvious starting point but a mere video broadcast isn’t enough to get them excited, as it’s a one-way channel of communication.
The attendees need a space to come together and get somehow involved in the ongoing event, be it with each other, the organizer, or both.
After you sort out the visual aspect of your online event, you need to create ways for people to get emotionally involved and get more out of the whole experience. Since we’re currently unable to attend events in person, you have to facilitate interaction through means not previously employed in this very context.
Why live chat is a must at online events
Planning a virtual event in the current climate, you have to pay more attention than ever to the communication aspect of it. Without people being able to interact in real time, you end up delivering a broadcast – a far cry from your original intentions and the attendants’ expectations. A successful online event has got to lay emphasis on the social aspect.
A great way you can go about this is by adding a chat room to allow people to immerse themselves in the event, participate on a deeper level.
General benefits of having live chat accompany your virtual event
- Keep the conversation going in a channel you own and control instead of letting it happen in third-party social media.
- Increase the time spent on your site, where the visitors are engaging not only with each other, but also with whatever content you’re serving.
- Build a community for future events – people will get familiar with the chat platform you provide, establish connections and come back for more. Keep in mind the somewhat addictive nature of the whole social aspect.
- Get folks from your team to post in the chat as well, driving and steering the discussion.
- Collect valuable business insights based on people’s behavior in the chat.
Since there’s no physical venue available, a chat room serves as means to connect speakers, attendees and organizers during a virtual event. Chatwee offers a slew of features facilitating user engagement and networking that will help you create a digital conference room for everyone to attend from the comfort of their homes.
Our chat features you’ll find particularly useful during an online event include:
- Multiple chat rooms – They can be kept public for everyone to engage or made password-protected for selected users only.
- 1 to 1 chats – Direct conversations between two individuals.
- Group chats – Same feature is available with most major social media apps. Create a discussion thread available only to invited users. Transfer an exchange that started in a public chat room to a more exclusive setting.
- User profiles – Hover your mouse over or tap the user avatar on mobile to see a box showing their bio and website. This way you can quickly learn more about another event attendee.
- Real-time moderation – Chatwee mods can issue several types of bans directly in the chat. There’s also an option to have every message approved (or declined) before it’s actually posted in the chatroom.
- Message history – Once your event is over, you can download all the messages that were posted in the chatrooms for future reference.
- Single Sign-on – Make the chat accessible only to your registered event guests who upon logging in to their site accounts will automatically pop up in the chat as well with the same user name and avatar.
- Color customization – Adjust the color of any element of the chat to your liking and add your own logo to own the experience.
- Multiple display modes – Decide which of the app’s layouts suits you most or add your own CSS styling.
- 3000 user capacity – Host a virtual event for up to 3000 simultaneous users. This is how many people can be logged in to the chat at any given moment.
Lockdowns that have been put in effect since Q1/2 of 2020 spoiled plans of many event organizers. The ongoing uncertainty of when things could go back to normal further complicates the situation.
Luckily, with the technologies currently available, event planners aren’t left completely out to dry. Many have readjusted and took their conferences, trade fairs, and other business meetings online.
Still, the issue of how you stay social during these virtual meetups remains.
It’s absolutely crucial that your online event isn’t just a one-way stream, but has the social interaction aspect covered as well. Attendees need the opportunity to connect and build with each other in order to leave the event with some added value, for example, in the form of networking.
Use the form below to sign up for an account and explore the possibilities. We offer month-to-month subscription plans, as well as a pay-per-use option, all available from your Chatwee Dashboard.
If you’ll have any doubts or questions, shoot me an email and I’ll get back to you with the answers.