Here, media update’s
Taylor Goodman takes a look at some of the tips you need to make your virtual event a success.
What is a virtual event?
First things first, what in the world is a virtual event? Well according to Hootsuite, a virtual event is any organised meet-up that takes place online rather than in a physical location
Without even knowing it, it’s likely that you have
attended a virtual event— be it a Zoom call with your team or watching a workout class online
Video, as a medium, is booming right now as consumers desire to interact with one another. This communication is most effectively done through video as it allows users to connect in the most authentic way, other than speaking face-to-face.The different types of virtual events
- Webinars: These types of virtual events utilise video conferencing to connect attendees all around the world to participate and listen as one or more speakers present the content.
- Virtual conferences: Virtual conferences are centered around keynotes, sessions and breakouts. Here attendees are able to have a real-time view of keynotes, allowing them to build their own agendas around what they deem relevant. Attendees also have the opportunity to mingle with each other.
- Internal hybrid events: This includes internal events like town halls, sales kick-offs, company-wide events, training, department meetings and more. This is useful in instances where businesses operate in different countries or continents, saving money on travel costs.
- External hybrid events: These events are hosted for people outside of your company. An example of this sort of event would be a user conference or an industry conference.
Why should you host a virtual event?
Yes, marketers rely on events to promote product and support campaigns; but since COVID-19 has plagued businesses everywhere, that is no longer an option. Enter virtual events.
Interactions are no longer limited to meeting face to face, like social media, the Internet and technology continue to grow.
Video conferencing, along with virtual events and webinars, has always been a means to connect people regardless of distance. Not only does this allow companies to save money on travel costs, but in today’s climate, it is the safer option.
The above aside, some benefits of hosting a virtual event include
- Increased participation: As attendees will not need to travel to the event and pay for accommodation, making them more inclined to participate.
- Flexibility: As physical presence is not required, this makes it easier for presenters, speakers and attendees to integrate a virtual event into their schedule.
- Lead generation: A virtual event expands your reach beyond a specific region. This has the potential to increase your audience reach.
- Higher ROI: Organising an in-person event is a costly task. Virtual events reduce your cost per lead, maximising ROI.
Now that you know exactly why businesses are migrating towards virtual events, you’re probably wondering how you can make your virtual event a success.
Here are five tips to get you started:
1. Follow a solid strategy
As with any event, hosting a virtual gathering takes meticulous
planning. Here, you will have to sort out all the finicky details of hosting an event online, to ensure that once your event actually happens, it goes off without a hitch. Understanding your audience
is the first step in planning your event. This helps you to have a clear idea of what your audience is interested in, allowing you to tailor your event to suit them.
Once you’ve got this covered, you can decide how you would like to structure your event.
Like in-person events, virtual events come in all shapes and sizes. It’s up to you to determine whether you would like your event to flow more like a series of workshops or whether you would prefer a webinar format
This aside, here are some other points that you should consider when throwing a virtual event
- Do you want your event to be live, on-demand, or both?
- Is access going to be gated or free?
- Will there be event registration for attendees?
- Do you want to work with an advertiser?
- What KPIs and data do you want to track?
2. Don’t skimp on promotion
Just because you are hosting a virtual event does not mean that you get to skimp on promotion; if anything, it is now more important than ever!
Promotion in the virtual space is important because you need your event to stand out
from the myriad of similar seminars.
This can be done by identifying your main selling point; whether it is an opportunity to network, a significant speech or the opportunity to learn new skills, make that clear to your audience.
The promotion of your event should begin with a compelling events page
. This is where everyone will go to gather more information about your event, it is imperative that it is informative but still eye-catching.
Using the right channels to market your event is a crucial part of a promotion. Posting about your event on your brand’s social media accounts, utilising keywords to optimise SEO and employing email marketing
are all great promotion strategies.
3. Timing is everything
When hosting a virtual event, it is crucial to pick the right date and time for your event, regardless of its size. It is best to do some research before scheduling to make sure that there are no other events or public holidays that might interfere with your event.
If you plan on taking your virtual event global it is essential to consider time zones
. You could either plan your event to suit as many time zones as you can or you could host multiple video conferences to suit different time zones.
If it becomes too difficult to accommodate everyone
, it may be advisable to make any presentations given during the event accessible after it is over.
4. Use the right tools
Luckily there are many tools that you can utilise when creating your virtual event
to make the process more seamless and stress-free.
Some of the available options include:Hopin
Hopin is a platform that helps with organising your virtual event. Through this platform, users can watch presentations, join sessions and network with each other.
According to Hopin CEO Johnny Boufarhat, the platform “aims to replicate the experience and benefits of attending a conference without the expenses and other hoops like travel, logistics and environmental impact.
The application is suitable for both webinars and live streams, even including a live chat feature where attendees can ask questions in real-time.Whova
Whova is one of the best-performing video conferencing tools. Having received both the Best Event App Award and the People's Choice Award from the Event Technology Awards
. The application allows organisers to host highly-engaging virtual events.
What differentiates Whova from competitors is its interactive nature, which allows users to engage with each other through live polls, Q&As, session feedback and discussion boards. Run the World
Similar to other platforms, run the world connects users in a virtual conferencing environment by means of livestream talks, discussions, and panels.
What sets Run the World apart from its competitors is the option for a virtual ‘cocktail party.’ Here innovation takes over with an algorithm that matches attendees with like-minded individuals based on questionnaires they fill before the event
5. Push engagement
An area where virtual events struggle to match up with in-person events is interaction and the engagement of attendees. As people will not be mingling face-to-face, virtual event organisers need to put a great emphasis on facilitating that connection.How do they do that, you ask?Set up an interview with an industry expert
Something that always tends to draw a large crowd to an event is a keynote speech from or interview with a celebrity or industry expert.
Offering your audience a ‘hot take’ from a renowned personality would also be a major selling point in any promotion surrounding your event. Gamification
Gamifying your virtual event is a fitting tactic to make your virtual event more entertaining and engaging.
Congrex defines gamification as taking fun elements found in games and incorporating them into a non-gaming perspective. Examples of this include puzzles or quizzes where participants can win prizes. This provides participants with an incentive to take part and engage. Provide incentives
Speaking of incentives, this is another tactic that could really encourage engagement in your event.
Providing incentives engages attendees because it makes them feel as if they are gaining something from your event. Examples of virtual swag you could give event attendees are digital coupons or discounts on your product/service
.Do you have your own top tip for organizing a virtual event? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Is video conferencing the future of social media
? Find out in our article!*Image courtesy of Vecteezy