With the pandemic that the world is currently facing, more and more companies and organizations are switching to the virtual approach of doing things, e.g. virtual class, virtual meetings, virtual conferences, and even virtual events to be less exposed to the community, thereby reducing the likelihood to be infected with the new coronavirus disease. However, although conducting events virtually has its own set of advantages, it also has limitations and downsides that make it inferior to face-to-face or in-person events. For instance, virtual events vitally rely on content. Thus, virtual event hosts must work harder on creating and planning content segments that will be able to enhance audience engagement virtually.
Another challenge virtual event hosts face is the fact that unlike in in-person events, audiences and attendees of virtual events are facing a lot of distractions remotely which leads to reduced event engagement. Post-event follow-ups that are on-point and quickly conducted are also necessary. The fact remains; virtual events will always be inferior to in-person events in many areas but as long as the global crisis is there, people barely have a choice but to settle with virtual conferencing.
Nonetheless, there are still means to make a virtual event successful. With thorough planning, great content, and the skill, virtual events can definitely succeed as in in-person events.
So, in planning a virtual event, you will basically have to do the go through the same process as what you would do in in-person or face-to-face events. One good way to come up with the best virtual event concept is by putting yourself in the shoes of your attendees and asking yourself what are the ways to ensure long-term and consistent audience engagement. There are standard tips and tricks in planning that will help you execute a successful one.
Types of Virtual Events
There are endless ways and possibilities to make an event live and cheerful – and it is possible even when done virtually. Virtual events are categorized into four:
- Webinars, e.g. Pre-recorded or live presentations, Q&A with attendees;
- Virtual Conferences, e.g. Virtual Stages and Breakouts, Live Stream One-on-one Meetings, Interactive Q&A;
- Internal and External Hybrid Events, e.g. user-friendly virtual conferences, interactive Q&A
Here is what you need to know to ensure your virtual event’s success:
A virtual event is built around the engagement of the audience, the content of the host, and the data gathered. It comprises elements that other types of events have. Internet connectivity and the quality of video production will be vital and the host also has to have a stable infrastructure and reliable video production tools and equipment to conduct the event.
The fundamental elements of a successful virtual event include event website and registration, live and broadcasted content presentation, question and answer portion, live polling, extensive note-taking, content recording, interactive video conferencing, and post-virtual event surveys and feedback collection.
As technology plays a very vital role in facilitating virtual events, companies, organizations, and events who wish to join a virtual event need to have the right video conferencing tools, equipment, and a stable internet connection to do so.
If you wish to execute your own virtual event, below are vital event pieces you should bear in mind:
- Event Website or a Business Page on Social Media. Your website or your facebook or Instagram page will serve as a platform where you can promote your event to your potential audience and entice them to sign up for your event. Whether you are planning to host an event virtually or physically, these platforms will serve the very same purpose. Whether it is a webpage or a Facebook post, the content should be able to promote and market your event’s value and other details, e.g. schedule, speakers, engagement sessions, attendance fee, etc.
- Registration. You can do this manually or you can have this facility set-up by a web developer. Your attendees’ portal will be your first tool to collect data about them, e.g. their personal information, preferences, and payment modes, which you can use in planning your next virtual events. If robustly implemented, more potential attendees might be lured to join.
- Email. Email marketing is one great way to promote an event to existing customers and invite them to sign up for your event. Registered attendees will also get to be informed or reminded of the upcoming event. Moreover, this platform can help collect feedback from the attendees after the event. To simply put, it is one of the best mediums to deliver all the details and stages of the event to your attendees.
- Online Event Guide. Another vital piece of technology for virtual events is what they call the online event guide. This web or mobile tool works as the main information hub for the attendees. In other words, the content of the event and the agenda with reference links are all indicated in the guide, available for attendees to select which sessions or classes to add to their bookings. Moreover, these tools gather attendees and facilitate messaging tools that enable them to build virtual networks and connections among each other.
- Event Feedback. After every virtual event, a facility that collects feedback is important to know the insights and inputs of your attendees and the areas you will need to improve or adjust for your next events. This will help you towards attaining success in your future events.
- Integrations. Last but not the least is integration. This element makes sure that important data about the attendees and the registration are shared between your virtual event platform and your event technology system. This also lets event hosts use the data to implement marketing automation and integrate with CRM systems. With this tool, data about attendees can be optimally used to attract more leads and convert them into engagement.
The good news is, with many reliable and reputable virtual event organizers around, you really need not worry about the other stuff. All you have to do is craft up great event message and engaging content. Your organizers will take care of the rest.