PCMA’s Catalyst community offers members a platform to ask each other questions, share ideas, or, as the website says, “communicate and collaborate.” Here’s a sampling from a recent Catalyst discussion where one event professional shared her thoughts on engaging the audience through networking and gamification.
“At a face-to-face event, attendees can just walk around and run into people or meet at a reception,” Norman Goldfarb, managing director, First Clinical Research, wrote on the PCMA Catalyst forum. “What are the best ways get attendees to mingle at a virtual event? How can gamification be used?”
With the assumption there is a live video option, have a series of small room gatherings. Some could have micro topics and others [could offer] “open networking.” This area should be labeled for what it is so people understand they are entering a video chat group. Always have a moderator in each room. Allow the conversation to flow but if it gets awkward, have the moderator ready with some conversation starters. Think of it as table hopping in a banquet hall!
You can hold a scavenger hunt throughout the online exhibit hall. Conduct push notifications and pop ups to remind participants to visit booths. When they do, you’ll grab the analytics of those visits on the back end.
Create a leaderboard or note those who’ve entered to win. Post that up too and it will encourage FOMO. You can have levels of winners or just one big jackpot winner. It’s the same concept as getting a passport stamped inside a physical exhibit hall before the era of apps!
Virtual photo booths are fun too. There are apps you can bolt on to your online conference for this. Use hashtags so you get the social posts and be sure to have an aggregate social page in your conference platform navigation bar too. Use those hashtags to encourage silly and fun photos online. You won’t likely need a winner either. It’s something fun to do and creates social presence.
— Kara Dao, Senior Director, Client Engagement and Operations, JDC Events