How To Effectively Use Live Chat in Your Virtual Events

How To Effectively Use Live Chat in Your Virtual Events

The live chat is now the bedrock of any livestreamed event. Whether it’s a corporate event, party, or even a church conference, the live discussion area is an important engagement tool. 

At multiple points during the event, the host will encourage attendees to post comments in the live chat and will often respond to those comments. A scintillating chat space is the second stage of any livestreamed event. And it must be given as much attention as the main stage to prevent attendees from drifting away.

Related: Virtual Event Template For An Online Conference

Is The Live Chat Really That Important During a Livestreamed Event?

The answer is yes! According to this survey by Techjury, 75% of people generally prefer a live chat to any other channel, especially if the event involves sales. 

This matters even more if your event is related to brand awareness or encouraging brand loyalty. 97% of global customers say the quality of the interaction between them and a brand determines their brand loyalty. Your next virtual or hybrid event must have a live chat to maximize attendee engagement.

Live chat functionality is not as complicated or expensive as a few years ago. Almost all social media platforms now have a live chat function for livestreaming and translate easily across desktop and mobile use. You can even add custom design and branding to your live chat on some platforms.

5 Reasons Why Virtual Event Experts Recommend You Use A Live Chat:

1. Engagement

The first and most apparent reason is boosting event engagement. It has never been easier to walk out of an event than it is in a livestream event. All it takes is a click. Without the surety of having your attendees physically there, you cannot take their virtual attendance for granted. Having an interactive live chat where you or your representatives engage attendees is essential to keep them watching and interacting.

Related: The Very Real Problems With Planning Virtual Events

2. Socializing

Virtual events still risk attendees feeling isolated and not really part of the event. Actively conversing with other attendees in the chat prevents them from feeling like they’re watching some remote broadcast or television show. If you plan to make clips of your event available as videos after the fact, the chat becomes the single live aspect that can’t be enjoyed later. A live chat is now the rare, one-off experience you give your attendees as an incentive to attend a virtual event.

Related: How To Make Your Virtual Events More Experiential

3. Proximity to public figures

You can also enliven the chat by adding relevant voices to it. Invite influencers or industry experts to respond to attendees’ questions and feature prominently in the discussion. This is also motivation for attendees to sit through your livestream as they get to enjoy being in the presence of public figures they don’t ordinarily have access to.

4. Controlling the atmosphere

In a live chat context, you get control over what is said during your event. You have settings to eliminate messages with certain words or profanity. And you can quickly and quietly remove problematic attendees instead of giving individuals screen time and being unable to stop unproductive speech. 

Related: From Event Planner to Event Producer: A Virtual Event Revolution

5. Ongoing engagement

A live chat can also entice your attendees to want to stay in conversation with you, even after the event. It is a great space to invite attendees to sign up for your mailing list or follow all of your social media pages.

Failproof Activities To Maximise A Live Chat During A Virtual Event

1. Attendee introductions

Hand over the microphone to your attendees without letting that be the sole focus of the proceedings. In a conventional event, attendee introductions are practically impossible. With a live chat, everyone can get a chance to introduce themselves and network. The live chat gives your attendees a similar experience to an in-person event where one can make friends with the person they’re sitting next to or standing with at the buffet queue. 

You can structure the introduction by asking attendees a specific question like, “What is your name, how did you hear about this event?” or “What is your first name and your two favorite hobbies?” This kind of intimacy is not easy to pull off in an in-person event. However, in a live chat, hundreds of attendees can get the opportunity to get reactions from everyone in attendance. 

2. A Live Q&A

Having an ongoing question and answer segment will help you address your audience’s concerns as they arise. The same questions may come through as everyone will be typing at the same time, but this will allow you to gauge your event’s mood and see where most attendees lack clarification regarding the event or your brand. It will also give you direction for how to improve future events. 

Depending on the size of your event, you can have one designated moderator or a team working the chat and answering questions as your event proceeds. It will also enhance your attendees’ experience to have their questions answered during the show instead of waiting till the end.

Related: Planning A Virtual Event: Almost Everything You Need To Know

3. Games and Competitions

You can incorporate various activities into your chat to make it a memorable conversation. As live chats have become popular, people have gotten creative with the games that can be played. You can have attendees decoding emoji combinations with themes like famous movies, songs, or destinations. In a coaching or training event, your exercises could have attendees writing their answers in the chat to the benefit of getting specific feedback from the host and from fellow attendees. The live chat can be the relaxed, no-pressure space where attendees get to be vulnerable and connect more with your brand.

Other activities include telling jokes, a lip sync battle, a show and tell, or a giveaway. Your giveaway can be as small as winners getting a shoutout from the host or a follow from the brand. You could also give away samples of your products or tickets to your next event. 

4. Make It Worthwhile With Exclusive Content

The number of prospective attendees of a livestream event is always different from the number of actual attendees. You can use this as an opportunity to strengthen brand loyalty by releasing exclusive content during your event. 

You could offer time-limited discounts for attendees. Or you could give them exclusive access to downloadable templates, videos, and e-books. You will make your attendees feel great about purchasing a ticket to your event and actually showing up. Plus, you’ll motivate them to put in the same effort towards your future events.

If the platform you use doesn’t allow you to do these digital giveaways, you can take the extended path of sending your attendees a special mailer after the event with a link to your gifts. You give them a keepsake from your event and bragging rights to being a loyal follower of your brand.

5. Public or Private

You can enable both private and public functions to give your attendees more options on how to interact. Attendees in the public chat can post comments and questions to be seen by everyone. At the same time, those who want to have their own private conversations can interact via direct messaging. 

6. Audio And Video Chat

You can also incorporate options to send audio or videos in your live chat. This will make the interaction even more accessible and interesting for your attendees. Some might choose to record their comments instead of typing them. You’ll be adding another layer to the socializing and giving attendees more autonomy to make the experience their own. It may be tricky to swift through all the content if you have hundreds or thousands of attendees, so these functions may be better suited to a smaller audience.

7. Be Present In The Chat

Your designated chat representatives need to be clearly visible to the attendees in your chat. Try to have branded profile pictures and clear titles for representatives so that their responses are not diluted and lost in other comments.

8. Measure The Results

It will be helpful for future events and the future of your brand if you extract essential data from the chat at the end. The trends in your live chat discussions can help you identify what worked in your event and what didn’t. You can even be more specific by asking your attendees to give you feedback at the end of your event in the live chat. This also takes away the labor of corresponding with attendees via mail when the event has passed. 

And don’t forget about surveys. Many virtual event platforms offer polling, either within the chat or as a separate feature. You can use polls to bolster your analysis of the conversations happening during your event.

9. Make it simple

Ensure that the live chat function is clearly visible on the screen because while your attendees watch the action in your livestream, they may miss the chat. Chat function icons are usually situated at the bottom right-hand corner of any screen. Most have an open text bar, inviting the attendee to type a message. This research on the direction of the eye when reading a web page shows that we generally view our screen in an “F” shape. This makes it ideal to place the chat icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. You also want to ensure that the chat is not distracting from your main picture. Ideally, the live chat area and the main virtual stage must be visible simultaneously.

The Social Factor

It’s safe to assume that the live chat feature is indisposable to any kind of virtual event. It adds that social factor to virtual events, which tends to lack when attendees simply stare at the screen with no opportunity to actively engage. Maintaining constant live communication with your attendees can be the difference between how many of your attendees see your event to the end and how many drop off. The social factor can also determine how many of your attendees remain engaged with your brand even after the event and continue to attend future events.