Brief #80: Are your events too… boring?

This content originally appeared on September 17, 2021 as part of the Future of Marketing weekly email series. Subscribe here.

Welcome to Future of Marketing.

Each week, we send you the most relevant trends, resources, and strategies in social and user-generated content (UGC) from leading marketers and brands around the globe.

Today, we’re discussing…

  • How to make your virtual events less boring
  • Engaging your audience in a hybrid world
  • #BrandCrush: Roblox 

How to make your virtual events less boring

Chances are you’ve attended a virtual event over the past year – whether it was a webinar, class, happy hour, conference, or concert – but as Zoom fatigue surged, organizers face a battle with declining live attendance and engagement. 

“Online event experiences (especially webinars) are very oversaturated right now. How do I capture audience attention? Drive registration? Why join this event over hundreds of others?” – Micaela Wanzer, Field Marketing & Events, Tubular Labs 

As the world bounces back, virtual events aren’t going anywhere (and neither are in-person experiences). If you want to make your webinar – or virtual event – less boring, Jason Bradwell, B2B marketer, shared great tips for all the marketers out there. 

Here are our favorites:

  • Solicit feedback from future attendees to identify what they want to learn (and curate your agenda accordingly)
  • Replace the word “webinar” for masterclass, seminar, or lecture
  • Engage guests in the chat box, and invite them to ask questions and share feedback in real-time
  • Work with your team to create thought leadership content post-event – blog posts, videos, social posts

By encouraging your team and attendees to share their thoughts, you’re able to understand their sentiment, needs, and expectations – instead of making assumptions. Plus, this user- and employee-generated content can help you create content that people actually resonate with (and want to share with their friends). 

Engaging your audience in a hybrid world

Okay, but how do I engage my audience in person, too? 

Glad you asked. 

There are still concerns about returning to the large-scale events, so event organizers are turning to hybrid models – like the Hub and Spoke event. Prime examples of Hub and Spoke can be seen annually at events like The Met Gala, New York Fashion Week, and New Year’s Eve – where there’s a central hub event that additional groups of people can join remotely.

New York Fashion Week's website showing a variety of hub and spoke events like shop the runway and in-person talk shows.

To create a successful Hub and Spoke event, brands need consistency across online and in-person activations – from programming to design and social experiences. 

For example, you can deploy a strong hashtag (like #NYFW) and run a photo contest during your event. Then, you can pull and curate user-generated content within this hashtag and reshare it across a social wall at your event, your website, social media, and just about any other channel your audience will come in contact with. 

In essence, inviting attendees to share content will bring events full circle and drive more participation. Bonus points if you give a gift to the attendee with the best photo using your hashtag.

What we’re learning 

#BrandCrush: Roblox 💘

Each week in #BrandCrush, we highlight exceptional brands that are channeling their customers' voice to connect more authentically with their audience.

Sure, hybrid events are cool – but have you ever heard of metaverse events

Roblox, a mind-blowing online game platform and creation system, is hosting “an unforgettable concert in the #metaverse—where YOU decide how the show unfolds.” 

A Twitter post by Roblox announcing the TwentyOnePilots Concert Experience – encouraging fans to explore the virtual venue

Fans are invited to watch the @TwentyOnePilots Concert Experience in a virtual venue – where attendees can control the setlist sequence and enjoy interactive elements during each song. Fans can even strike a pose with friends at the photo booth, and earn unique rewards and virtual merch. Roblox is also hosting a pre-show where fans can catch Q&As and behind-the-scenes footage. 

The future of events depends on more than simply live streaming performances; it involves building a connection with your audience – and brands that involve their fans in the content creation process will build loyalty that will extend beyond an event. 

Total side note and fun fact: Roblox’s Fresh Red Baseball Cap is a hat that was published in the avatar shop by hatsoffto2019 to test the-then upcoming User-Generated Content (UGC) accessory upload feature… looks like UGC is joining the metaverse world, too.

Until next week! 

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