Virtual events are all the rage in the post-pandemic life, or should we say the new pandemic life? The popularity of virtual events was taking shape prior to the pandemic because of the growing digitized landscape in many industries, but never before have we seen virtual gatherings become a norm. Having access to prospective clients, consumers, and supporters, no matter geographical distance has opened up the world to more individuals and businesses adopting virtual events to engage and educate the masses.
To stay at the forefront of this new trend while also differentiating your brand from the rest can be a difficult feat. Just know, being prepared to tackle the tech issues that may come is especially important. With attendees across the globe being able to be invited to your virtual event, internet connection and device issues can arise. Either way, as long as you make every intention to be prepared you can offer a great experience. The fact is, virtual events are captivating more audiences, creating more buzz in all industries, and causing a ruckus, so when hosting your own virtual event, consider simplicity.
Virtual events as the name suggests are not only hosted and enjoyed remotely over the internet, they are becoming experiences created in both live and recorded settings. Learn more about the varying types of virtual events by reading on.
Types of Virtual Events
- Virtual Conferences
Online conferences have become very popular for small startups and large corporations. Companies are able to offer an increase in accessibility to exceptional keynote speakers while also catering to an audience that would not be reached otherwise. Not to mention, virtual conferences have cut down both time and cost constraints that otherwise offline conferences would incur. This means companies either save those dollars or allocate those funds elsewhere within the event experience.
Collaborative tools available in event hosting platforms have helped many companies organize effective workshops where the participants can engage and learn from one another through live chat rooms. Workshops have more freedom than other forms of virtual events because topics can range from just about anything. From baking to music, to marketing, to video making, there are workshops accessible to so many about practically any topic. Don’t believe us? Google ‘virtual workshops’ and see what you find!
Webinars occur in real-time, often in a presentation format. Typically, there are online sign-ups beforehand, and reminders are sent to participants with the webinar link right before the virtual event begins. These events are normally knowledge-based and usually include a Q&A session at the end of the event to increase engagement. Many companies use webinars to promote their product, increase their leads, and encourage participants to learn more about their service.
- Virtual Exhibitions
Universities, company job fairs, or networking events are all great for generating leads and assessing prospects. Online Exhibitions allow for this assessment to happen easily. Unlike being at an onsite event, attending virtual exhibitions would mean simply visiting online booths by clicking on a ‘room’ from the comfort of your home and using that ‘room’ as a networking source to connect to others with similar interests or needs.
- Virtual Training Events
Yoga sessions, boxing lessons, aerobic workouts, and so on it goes, can all be activities hosted online and consumed by many. There has been a huge upsurge of such events in the recent past as gyms are unable to operate regularly due to the pandemic, and fitness instructors have used their own networks to build rapport with even more prospective clients. As we are all now aware, being prepared and resourceful is essential to growing your business; virtual training events assist in this department.
We have all got to admit, the way we work is permanently changing. In times of change, and in times of wanting to continue to reach prospective clients, customers, or brand supporters, virtual events seem to be a practice that will be around for some time to come.
10 Tips on How To Host Virtual Events Successfully
1. The Right Timing Is Everything
Virtual events provide hosts the freedom to invite and interact with individuals from all over the world. Hence, choosing an appropriate time frame to host the event becomes important. Using time zone converters, and being aware of holidays in the targeted regions are all important practices a host needs to maximize the number of attendees to any virtual event.
2. Brief Your Audience
Many virtual events have an open window for arrival – people can join in at any time. In such scenarios, a timely briefing is required by the moderator to catch up with all the participants on the happenings of the event and instruct individuals on what to expect, how to use the platform, and how to engage with other participants. This practice allows the event to be a useful experience, to have a flow, and allows the host to have control.
3. Concise and Clear Agendas
Clear agendas can include any combination of the following pending your specific event: speaker time frames, breaks, networking opportunities, entertainment, and Q&A sessions. The point is, you should plan the event out and develop clear goals. Make sure to set enough wiggle room for any issues or delays and always prep your speakers and share your agenda with participants, so everyone has an understanding of event flow.
4. Set The Event Apart From Others
To make your virtual event as engaging as possible, try to use ways in which your event may stand out from the rest. Many people are hosting online events but few end up being memorable. The format, engagement, unique selling point, speakers, and value the event provides all can be reasons as to why events are successful. For example, some event organizers use live music, DJs, or interactive activities to engage the audience. Include what makes the most sense for your brand and will be easy to manage for your team.
5. Appropriate Platform Choice
Depending on the event type, use a platform that supports your needs. For instance, attributes like a whiteboard (you could even consider a virtual whiteboard), and annotation may be required for events that need collaborative effort such as a workshop. The organizers need to access the type of events they are hosting and promptly use a platform to support it. Keynote speeches and workshops work well with Zoom while university fairs or career fairs may require platforms like Vfair that are specially designed to hold exhibitions.
6. Practice Consistent Branding
Businesses use online events to launch products, garner interest, or cement their standing in the industry. Hence, branding efforts should not be overlooked when events are virtual. For instance, using correct banners for online booths with appropriate branding colors and providing brand consistent material to participants to survey later all matter, and create a form of remembrance.
7. Use Video
Video is one of the best and simplest ways to engage your audience. You can include motion graphics videos to explain a product, brand, or service, or you could create a compilation video to appeal to the mood of your audience. You can even use remote shoots with recording software to be edited and broadcast during the event. If you would like a more captivating opening or graphics set for the event to intrigue your audience, a video production team could help create these animated features as well. Just remember high-quality video can take the reins of an event and create a great, and memorable experience.
8. Event Marketing
Engage in pre-event marketing. People obviously need to be aware that your event is happening. Understanding your target audience is key when it comes to marketing. For example, social media marketing is effective in targeting the millennial workforce, while email marketing could be more effective to target an older demographic. The modes of marketing depend on the type of event and your target demographic so ensure you note this as you plan your next virtual event.
9. Set a Contingency plan
The Internet is a wonderful, but at times, an unreliable place. Connection or platform disruptions are all valid issues one can face when hosting virtual events. Take the time to have run-throughs prior to your event. Consider having IT people on demand if a tech issue should occur, and plan accordingly with set troubleshooting techniques and contingency plans.
10. Engage The Audience
With short attention spans, online events can surely cause people to get distracted easily. A virtual event host should find ways to engage an audience creatively and simply. This could be done through group activities, asking leading questions, and allotting time for networking. Choosing the correct platform also opens avenues for collaboration and engagement. Platforms like Clubhouse, for example, can garner a lot of participation due to their format. Also, ensure your event length is just enough to get your point across and not too long where you lose the audience’s attention.
11. Document Your Progress
Send out questionnaires post events to participants to understand what worked or what didn’t. Feedback should always be welcomed. The hope to improve in the future is all about learning audience likes and dislikes.
As the world gets adjusted to the new ways of working, proper virtual events practices can help individuals and businesses to brand themselves and be a part of a bigger audience. From conception to delivery, we love this stuff and we are all about helping you with the virtual event video production process. We do it all – motion design, remote video capture, editing, voice-over recording, and more! To learn more about Bottle Rocket Media and what we can do for your virtual event video production, connect with us so we can create something impactful together.