It’s no secret that the pivot to digital events has been difficult for everyone. From new technologies to constant distractions, from emotional burnout to digital overload, any event these days faces new challenges. But every day brings more and more information about what works and what doesn’t, and about what people want from their digital events. So how do you avoid #ThisWholeEventShouldHaveBeenAnEmail reactions? Engagement. Pure and simple. You don’t need to entertain – we all have Netflix. But what we don’t have is a sense of community, a place to plug ourselves into a larger whole, or those wonderful experiences we used to enjoy. So ENGAGE your community and bring in attendees with creative content and crafted experiences. What “creative content” means for your particular digital event is going to depend on your attendees’ demographics and location, your industry, and your budget. But here are some guidelines and ideas for creating universally popular and scalable ideas. • Craft meaningful and personalized experiences. Not all experiences are created equal. Don’t ask attendees to provide you with material to post and don’t just give them pretty pictures to look at. If you want to really engage your attendees, include them in your content. Use their talents with a public art project, their hobbies with a poll, their skills with a public forum, their contributions with a digital parade slideshow, or their lovely faces with a social media wall. And do it often throughout the course of your event to keep them from getting distracted. • Exclusivity increases engagement. Whether it’s a limited-time Snapchat filter, an “only available here” souvenir photo background, or a VIP Meet-and-Greet experience, scarcity drives demand. Make it meaningful, make it limited — and people will want it. • People love to see their own faces. “Pics or it didn’t happen” is real, y’all. People love to take, share, like, and comment on photos of themselves and their friends. And they love to look at where they’ve been through the lens (pun intended) of their photo diaries. So help them create personalized, meaningful memories with a custom photo. Those photos bouncing around all corners of the Internet will also increase visibility and brand impressions for your event sponsors — a huge ROI — which could be a big selling point to bring in new sponsors or upgrade your existing roster. • Social media drives traffic. 74% of event planners say social media is the most effective tool for event marketing. And user-generated content creates warm leads, exponentially increasing brand impressions, and personalized exposure. So why not encourage your attendees to enhance your social media marketing campaign, pre- and post-event, and provide them with the photos to do it? And since there are few thrills greater than seeing yourself on the jumbotron, pop those bad boys up on a digital jumbotron — a social media wall — and give your attendees the spotlight. Include community voting for favorite photos to drive further engagement with your event and your hashtags. • Monetize your market. Don’t just sell a ticket. Sell an experience, and a tiered one at that. We’re all stuck at home with the same cast of people every day, so cameos make a big impact. Bring in a celeb for a meet-and-greet and then have a custom-crafted, experiential, exclusive photo op. Yes, you can still do those, and on several different levels! That moment of connection with another person will linger with your attendees long after your digital doors have closed. From video slideshows and virtual parades to digital photo booths and one-on-one experiences, engage your community with interactive content that is creative, exclusive, meaningful, and personal. Think about what excites you, extract its essential elements, and craft your digital event to include as many of those aspects as you can. Attendees passively viewing your video on a Facebook livestream is not good enough anymore. They crave real engagement — real experiences — and they will search out and patronize the events that provide it. Do you have an idea you need help bringing to life? Or do you have questions about using digital media to increase attendees, monetize your event, or engage your community? Whether you need souvenir photos, a video parade, or a meet-and-greet activation, Shatterproof Media can craft the perfect media-based experience for your event and your attendees. Contact us to help you plan the ideal engagement for your next virtual event. No matter what 2021 might bring, we will flex and bend, shift and shimmy, but Shatterproof will continue to be here, creating impactful engagements for your attendees. You haven’t broken, and neither will we. Let’s be Shatterproof together. Check out a sample Shatterproof Media virtual engagement — souvenir photos for a virtual 5K run: https://fb.watch/42lkKHamaD/ ******** Jamie McCormick is a co-founder of Shatterproof Media, a photo entertainment company whose three partners have more than 40 years of experience crafting custom engagements within the event industry. From small parties to the Super Bowl, they have worked events of all sizes, so they understand the fickle nature of events, and are ever vigilant to keep your activations running smoothly — the show must always go on. So no matter what comes their way, Shatterproof simply won’t break.