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What exactly is audience engagement – and why is it the ace up a great MC’s sleeve? Here is everything you need to know!

See Related: The 7 Elements Of Public Speaking That Can Make Or Break Your Message

#1. Audience Engagement – What Is It?

The generally accepted definition of audience engagement is: providing audiences with a channel to interact with material, be it a presentation, website, or other stimulus.

Audience engagement invites positive interactions

All that really means is that, during your presentation, audiences get a chance to participate! Whether that is verbally, physically, or digitally, it revitalizes and snaps them back to attention.

Engagement keeps users on their toes and helps them focus on the business at hand.

Keep an engaged and interested audience

Breaking up your presentation with audience engagement is smart. A human’s attention span is not that long.

Build your brand identity

A brand that knows how to use key metrics to engage users is going to build longevity. Users will come to expect engaging content and return to your website and events for more.

Engagement opportunities service your marketing strategy too. For example, you can draw interested users to your event by creating unmissable chances for engagement. You know, like the chance to win a prize, meet a celebrity, or learn something new.

Digital audience engagement

When we talk about digital audience engagement, we just mean that your audience is entirely online.

This type of audience has grown common in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, a digital presence (i.e. website) is necessary for a business to be a success.

Woman uses phone to check google analytics and social media engagement#2. Yes, You Can You Measure Audience Engagement

Did you know there are tools to help you see how effectively you are engaging your audience? A great master of ceremonies knows there is always room for growth.

Use these tools to improve your audience engagement over time.

Measure engagement via social media traffic and website traffic

Excitement for your client should swell after you host an event. Today, that excitement translates to an uptick in social media attention and visitor clicks on their website.

Websites and social media apps usually have built-in tools to measure audience engagement. For example, consider Google Analytics, Twitter Analytics, and more. A business’ marketing team must know how to use these tools to learn key metrics.

Man leads engaged audience activity with returning visitorsExploring these analytics tools for engagement lets you view metrics like:

  • How many likes your post or tweet received;
  • How many times your post or tweet was shared;
  • How many new visitors and returning visitors you had to your site;
  • How many people viewed (and continued to engage with) your online content;
  • What is your site bounce rate;
  • How many users engaged with your site with clicks;
  • And more!

The purpose of audience engagement metrics

Measuring engagement this way can help you identify what strategies worked and didn’t work for your event.

For example, you solicited a discount code for a relevant industry business to offer guests.

Let’s say it was a discount code on a favorite local coffee brand. How many new people engaged with your website after seeing the post about the code?

Or you want to appeal to the new user by sharing a relevant industry celebrity’s post on your page. How does this post impact your metrics? Is it wise to share more from this industry expert?

What is a bounce rate?

One metric that you’ll want to track is the bounce rate. This is the percentage of visitors who leave the site after only looking at one page – yikes!

Ideally, your landing page inspires users to explore more pages. This metric can help you understand what keeps your audience engaged with your brand online.

Office group discuss social media engagement and adding more pages to company websiteAn engaged audience means relevant lead generation

The goal of many events is to create industry leads, or potential new business relationships. There are two primary types of leads who will engage with your brand:

B2B Leads:

B2B leads are businesses that are potential customers. Engage them to create lucrative business partnerships.

Individual Leads:

Individual leads are people who are potential customers on their own. Keep them engaged to develop long-term client relationships.

How to measure lead generation through engagement interactions

Gaining lots of leads indicates that your audience engagement strategy worked. But you need to know how to measure lead generation.

The first thing you need to do is identify your lead parameters.

How are you defining a lead? When was contact made, what type of contact was made, user category, level of interest indicated, etc.?

Set clear parameters.

Then, identify the number of B2B businesses and/or engaged individuals who meet those parameters. Do this after every event to build a useful data set.

Professional group brainstorm article pages and other pages to attract page viewsBonus: How to Conduct a Business Meeting in 6 Easy Steps

Poll responses as engagement

Polls are a helpful tool, whether you are emceeing in person or virtually. A user can fill out their responses on paper or click their preferred answer.

Audiences love to share their opinions. Polls invite them to do just that.

At multiple junctures in your presentation, invite audience participation and pique their interest by presenting a poll.

You will be able to measure engagement on the spot or once the event concludes.

Calculate audience engagement metrics based on the number of responses divided by the number in attendance.

#3. Use Audience Engagement to Up Your MC Game

Whether you are hosting in person or online, there are so many ways to engage your audience! Here are just a few that may be of interest to you:

Excited group raise hands discussing social media engagement ideas and website bounce rateFamiliarize yourself with the audience for better engagement

When you are hired, ask questions and do research on your audience. What is the common career or hobby among the audience? What experiences do your audience share?

Then, immerse yourself in their world. This will help you create personalized opportunities for engagement. This will go a long way with your audience.

Here are some examples of personalized engagement:

If you speak to pediatricians, consider handing out stickers for everyone to give to their patients. It will put a smile on the kids’ faces and remind the doctors about the event!

If you host a virtual event for Girl Scouts, consider polling the audience on their favorite cookie (Samoas, if you ask me!). This is lighthearted, fun, and a common interest among the group.

If the audience interests you, you will interest the audience.

Use mobile event apps strategically for engagement

Did you know that mobile event apps are useful tools for both digital marketing and audience engagement?

Audience engagement through mobile event apps can look like:

  • Browsing and liking personalized event content;
  • Sending thoughtful messages to the event honoree;
  • Making generous donations;
  • Reading interesting short articles;
  • Watching curated video content;
  • Answering fun questionnaires;
  • And so much more!

Woman raises hand with idea for social media engagement and how to increase page views on websiteEngage the online community

Though they are fairly commonplace these days, online events can still feel isolating and tedious. Many event-goers miss the energy of being in the room with other people.

Build community and harness energy with these virtual audience engagement tips:

  • Be mindful of how much time the audience spends sitting at a computer. Remember to keep the average session duration short.
  • Start traditions that will build excitement for engagement at future events.
    • Online events can sometimes feel like a placeholder for the in person version. Make the virtual event the destination!
      • For example, create a guessing game using silly facts about audience members. This will be a fun surprise for those listening! Plus, engaged audiences will be on the edge of their seats to hear their names mentioned.

Use friendly competition to observe engagement levels

If you host hybrid events, encourage engagement by creating fun opportunities for both in person and virtual attendees to interact.

Group sits in circle to discuss user strategy and creating opportunity for social media engagementDid you know? The audience is the best-kept content marketing and engagement secret there is! Try creating opportunities like this:

  • Create an eye-catching branded hashtag in collaboration with the client’s marketing team.
    • Kick off a friendly competition! How many users at home use it versus those in person?
    • Keep both audiences up to date on progress throughout the evening and enter those from the winning group into a raffle to win little prizes!

Give awards for the highest-impact comments and posts

Use the branded hashtag to identify what your audience is posting during the event.

Ask local businesses to donate a few prizes. As event host, distribute them throughout the event to those whose posts receive lots of love on social media! After all, they are playing a key role in marketing your event (whether they realize it or not).

Or start a guessing game!

The online community and in person attendees can go head-to-head here. Number-guessing games tend to be a crowd favorite. Maybe it’s:

  • The number of meals the organization delivered to community members facing food insecurity, or;
  • The number of local high school volunteers worked with the organization in the past few years, or;
  • The number of 5-star reviews the company has received online.

Open the contest to at-home and in person attendees and see which team has the closest answer!

Professional team excitedly brainstorm great content for engaging facebook users and increasing site visitorsAnswer audience questions

It sounds simple, but answering questions from the audience is a perfect foray into audience engagement. Answer questions from participants to open the lines of communication throughout the event.

Remember, you are approachable and knowledgeable!

Taking questions from in person audiences:

In person, you can take questions in a more visual way, like a show of hands.

Or, audiences can write questions down and put them into a box upon entry. You can then draw questions from the box throughout the event.

This element of randomness makes things fair. It gives everyone the same chance that their question will be answered.

Taking questions from virtual audiences:

The online community can enter questions into the chat box and you can refer to them on an ongoing basis.

Build a strategy beforehand about how many questions you can answer and how you will select them.

Remember, you want to keep your average session duration short. Keep questions and answers short and interesting.

Explore the world of micro influencers

Micro influencers are defined as influencers with anywhere from 10,000 – 50,000 followers. (For reference, macro influencers have 500,000+ followers).

Collaborating with micro influencers can increase audience engagement dramatically.

Especially in niche communities, a micro influencer can have full celebrity status at a much lower price point.

Micro influencer greets her own audience and new visitors during livestreamUse micro influencers to spike your audience engagement by:

  • Featuring a personalized video message from a micro influencer;
  • Collaborating with the micro influencer to do a giveaway;
  • Or auctioning off a coffee date with the micro influencer!

Ask for feedback

The best event emcees know that there is always more to learn. They are interested in feedback to help them grow and improve their craft.

Give each user the opportunity to submit their suggestions and reactions once your service is complete. Then, read them. I promise, audience reactions are priceless gifts.

Let’s Review!

After reading this blog, you should have a better understanding of:

  • What audience engagement is;
  • How to measure audience engagement;
  • And ideas to kick off your audience engagement.

There is plenty of room for creativity here! Collaborate with your client, trust your instincts, and have fun!

Man and woman focus on speaker and their engaging marketing presentationKeep Reading: 5 Steps To Make The Most Of Your Virtual Career Fair

Adam Christing has been called “The Tom Brady of emcees.” He has hosted more than 1,000 company meetingsspecial eventsgala celebrations, and more. He is the author of several books and founder of For more event tips, follow Adam Christing on InstagramFacebookPinterestLinkedIn, and YouTube.