“Post your questions in the chat.”

For those of us who’ve attended a virtual or hybrid event in 2020, this sounds all too familiar. Unfortunately for many of these events, the chat feature serves as a catch-all for attendee engagement and networking.

But we’ve seen how it often plays out: questions are quickly buried in the fast-moving chat, never to be seen again. Meanwhile, networking is relegated to a wave of “Greetings from Orlando!” messages. I wouldn’t call it networking, and there’s no meaningful connection.

To bring in additional engagement features, like polling and Q&A, organizers have traditionally relied on multiple apps and point solutions. But in reality, they take the attendee to a new window or separate system. It’s not the best user experience. 

These challenges become more pronounced with hybrid events. How can organizers engage both their virtual and in-person attendees with a single solution, and how can the two groups engage and connect with each other? 

We noticed that engagement and networking are lacking at many virtual and hybrid events, so we’ve been actively developing solutions to address these issues head-on. Starting in September, we launched Socio’s session chat feature. I’m thrilled to announce we’ve added live polling and moderated Q&A, as well as networking functionality to our web app. 

Boosting Attendee Engagement with Live Polling and Moderated Q&A

Like Socio’s session chat, you can now include polling and Q&A features — or just one, to each individual live stream. You can also have a single feature offering for the entire event. This gives you total flexibility on how you engage your attendees, regardless if you have one or 100 concurrent sessions.

Because the engagement features are available at the session level, attendees can participate without navigating to another window. Distinguishing polling and Q&A from chat makes the experience more manageable for both the event organizer and attendee.

As the admin, you have the option to launch or disable polls, or pre-schedule polls to appear at any time during a session. Results update immediately, or can be hidden from attendee view. 

For Q&A, you can require that questions be moderated before going live (or not), and even allow anonymous questions (or not).

Following a virtual, hybrid, or in-person event, you can export chat, polling, and Q&A data for lead generation, research, and content opportunities.

Networking Goes Virtual Via the Socio Web App 

With our latest release, we’re excited to bring the robust networking features from Socio’s mobile app to the web app. Now, users can add connections and message each other in the web app, and without having to pick up their phones. This is a game changer for virtual and hybrid event networking as all attendees can meet and access their connections within the same ecosystem.

Adding a person as a connection allows you to send them direct messages and meeting requests, see their contact information, and more. We’ve also improved the navigation on the web app with the addition of a left navigation bar, making it even easier to view your connections and start a conversation.

To enhance networking further, we launched a notes feature that lives in each attendee or sponsor profile. After making a connection, you can click the icon within the profile to leave notes about your conversation. It’s simple, convenient, and paperless.

Additionally, you now have the option to bookmark or star each connection made, including both attendees and vendors. For example, say you meet with multiple vendors throughout the day. You can add stars to the ones you want to follow up with or investigate further. 

Moving the Industry Forward – No Matter What

I’m proud of the Socio team for continuously improving our products to meet the needs of the event community and move the industry forward.

When you consider that networking is the top reason people attend events, allowing them to make meaningful connections virtually is a powerful thing. And by separating out polling and Q&A from the chat at the session level, attendees can stay engaged without navigating to a new window, or having their questions disappear into a black hole.

If you’re curious in learning more about how these features can enhance your virtual and hybrid events, I encourage you to schedule a personalized demo. Our team is more than happy to walk you through all of the exciting features.