VIP room at virtual event

Networking is the number one reason that people attend events. Being able to connect with your peers and industry leaders in a meaningful way is what brings people together at conferences and events. With virtual events and experiences taking center stage, virtual networking events are becoming immensely popular and have proven to support physical events by reaching a larger group of people without any geographical barriers. So how do you put on an event where people feel like they are able to connect in a meaningful way online? 

People might find virtual networking events a scary place to strike up a conversation. However, with the right virtual event platform features such as fun games, polls or breakout rooms, you can initiate tons of connections and conversations from your virtual experience.

Guide to Hosting A Successful Virtual Event

If you’re trying to figure out the best way to host successful virtual networking events, the following guide will help you find the inspiration you need to design your next event.

virtual presentation panel

Before the virtual networking event

1. Come up with the overall plan

What are your event goals? What are you looking to achieve from the event? It’s important to sit down and plan the skeleton of the event to understand your overall goals and how you will structure the event. This plan will help you define your customer base, what kind of activities you will have, who the guest speakers will be and what will drive people to the event.

2. Plan the overall design

Take some time to come up with a theme and the branding for the event. People love to be a part of a fun theme and it’s a great way to have your audience engaged from the start! Take this planning phase to figure out how you want the flow of the event to be such as Q/A sessions and breakout rooms for attendees to network in. Additionally, think about your branding and how you want your business to be seen at the event.

3. Choose the right platform

Finding the right platform for your event is extremely important. As you understand your goals and what you need for the event, you need to find the platform that will have all the features that will drive engagement and ensure a smooth event. This could be features like gamification, social media integration, customer support and other networking capabilities.

4. Figure out the logistics

There are so many platforms and apps out there for virtual events. It’s important to figure out the logistics of how you will bring people together. Make sure you test the platform out completely and ensure that attendees are able to seamlessly log in and navigate the platform. You don’t want your attendees to be frustrated with technical difficulties or other issues that can be ironed out before the event goes live. Additionally, try to have a calendar invite with all the information required so everyone will be able to get a reminder and be able to access the event easily.

5. Decide on the guest count

You don’t want to be stuck with a huge guest count where it’s chaotic for your attendees to network with each other. Consider keeping your count to a manageable size. If your group can be segmented, it might be a good idea to break them up depending on the segments. You can do this by creating breakout rooms that are relevant for each group depending on specialties and topics.

6. Market your networking event

Don’t forget to promote your event! Use social media and other marketing channels to get word of your event out there. You can create a social media contest to encourage sharing among attendees and get their help in spreading the word. Depending on your budget you can even send relevant gift bags to further promote your event.

panel discussion at a hybrid event

During the virtual networking event

1. Have an introduction session

Depending on how large your guest list is, it could be a fun idea to have an introductory session where attendees can introduce themselves to each other. This can also happen in breakout rooms or other sessions to facilitate conversation before other events start.

2. Start the conversations (if needed)

It could be a good idea to head to chat rooms or other chat sessions and start a conversation with a question to encourage participation. Sometimes attendees might not want to be the first to say something or they might not know how to start a conversation. You could use this opportunity to create a game or a fun quiz around topics to further encourage conversation.

3. Make sure sessions aren’t drawn out

People have short attention spans. While you might have made sure video broadcasts aren’t too long, you cannot predict what your guest speakers might do. If you feel that topics are getting drawn out or that speakers are going off on a tangent, it could be a good idea to set reminders or have a way to signal them when it’s time for them to wrap up. This will only help make sure the event continues to run smoothly without any delays. 

virtual meeting room

After the virtual networking event

1. Send a thank you note

Make sure to send a thank you note or email after the event to all your attendees. This will help the attendees continue to feel connected and give them the opportunity to provide feedback  after the event. It could be a fun idea to include any highlights from the conference to further gauge attendees’ memories.

2. Gather feedback

When you send your thank you notes, use this as an opportunity to gather feedback for any improvement in the future. You can send out a post-event survey or poll to make it as seamless as possible for people to respond.

3. Analyze the event

Once you gather your reports on engagement and participation, it’s important to analyze this report to see where and what the strong points were of the event and where you could improve. The numbers you get will be extremely telling in understanding your audience further so you can continue to tailor your services to what your target audience wants.

The more you host virtual events, the more comfortable you will be and understand how your audience works. It might take a while to give everyone exactly what they want, but that’s what feedback is for and what will help you continue to improve and host successful virtual networking events in the future!

When was the last time you were at a virtual trade show? If you’re thinking that (virtual) trade shows are a thing of the past, you might want to reconsider your attendance. This is especially important if you’re a small business or a startup. Virtual trade shows are an easy way to put your company out there and meet potential clients and customers that you may not be able to through other marketing channels. Now that you can attend virtually, there isn't much more effort you need to put in, giving you no reason to not RSVP yes for the virtual trade show.

Now that trade shows can be hosted virtually, creating a virtual exhibition booth is easy and cost-effective - giving you no excuse to skip an important show. If you’re able to attend online trade shows, you can seize so many opportunities that could take your business to the next level.

7 Benefits of Attending Virtual Trade Shows as a Startup or Small Business

If you're a small business or a startup looking to grow your client and customer base, then virtual trade shows are an important event to attend. There are so many advantages to this type of event and we have highlighted our top 7 benefits.

1. Connect with industry experts and leaders, potential clients and customers

Virtual trade shows are an easy way to meet industry leaders, clients and customers. Everyone at that trade show is there because they are genuinely be interested in the businesses. This is an incredible opportunity for you to get face time with valuable people and brands. These connections can potentially help expand your business into new and more profitable markets if and when the opportunity arises.

2. Sniff out the competition

Use the opportunity of being at a trade show to learn more about your competition. You can take the time to understand your competition and research their offerings. This is a great opportunity to see what other brands are doing that you may not be incorporating. Doing research like this can help you understand more of what your customers are looking for and how you can tailor your business to give them exactly what they want. A trade show is also an easy way to gain important insights into trends and other information that you could use to better your marketing and business strategy overall.

3. Raise brand awareness and create buzz

Attending a virtual event as an exhibitor or attendee can give you immense opportunities. As a startup or small business, you want to get the word out there. A virtual trade show is the perfect place to do just that. From the opportunity to spread awareness about your business and generate buzz to connecting with industry leaders and peers you can really get the right kind of exposure for your business. Talk to influencers and journalists to get your voice heard and use every valuable opportunity to put your new business on the map!

4. Generate leads at virtual trade shows

The leads you generate from a virtual trade show will be more valuable to you because they will be targeted to your audience. Hence, networking at a trade show is beneficial because everyone attending is genuinely interested in the brands that are there. Make sure you take the time to talk to as many people that are there. Your connections will go a long way even after the event, giving you tons of potential opportunities for you and your business.

5. Ability to establish yourself as a thought leader

When you exhibit at a trade show along with bigger companies, attendees will see you on the same level as those companies. This can help you establish your authority and credibility in the industry. Use this event as the opportunity to create awareness around your company and announce your brand to the market. The best part is that this event is your biggest marketing platform for your business! You get instant awareness and can establish yourself as an industry leader. Now that’s what we call a win-win.

6. Get immediate feedback

We've already talked about the many opportunities that comes with attending a virtual trade show. One of the best benefits is the ability to gain feedback in minutes. You can learn so much from direct feedback and make improvements instantly if possible. This will only help your business thrive and give you the necessary information you need to understand your market.

7. Find relevant partners

As you put your networking skill to good use, make sure you scope out the scene for potential partners. While we have mentioned that you will have competitors at the event, you might also come across individuals with similar insights and areas of expertise. Having an influential partner and one with lots of knowledge of the industry could really help you grow your business.

Virtual Trade Shows Can Help Your Business

What do you have to lose? Take advantage of the connections and networking opportunities that will be available through valuable trade shows. Attending a trade show as a small business is a great opportunity to generate buzz around your company. This is especially important because your business is new and you are trying to get it off the ground.

If you have a trade show on the horizon and are not sure if you’re going to attend, keep in mind these advantages and opportunities for your business. Remember that you can use the event as an easy opportunity to show off your new company and gain important insights into the industry.

Conference room for virtual meetings

Looking to expand to a different market? Or are you in the middle of restructuring your business? Setting up a virtual office looks like the answer for you. With more businesses switching to digital platforms everyday, having a virtual office for your business has its many advantages. Companies are adopting flexible schedules and hybrid or remote work models as the new norm. Employers have found that employees can be productive at home. On the other hand, employees know the convenience of a remote lifestyle. Between childcare and other appointments, people are able to do their job and tend to their personal life with a good balance.

Remote work is here to stay. What better way to stay connected than with your very own branded virtual office?

Top Advantages of a Virtual Office

As companies figure out a new structure and adapt new work models, designing a virtual office is a must. Not only will it help you manage meetings but it will also create a seamless way to connect with employees and clients. Here are the benefits of setting up a virtual headquarters for your business and why you need to start ASAP.

1. Increased flexibility

A virtual office brings increased flexibility for employees. Having a virtual office enables employees to log in from the comfort of their homes to work on projects and other tasks at their convenience. After a year of working from home, everyone has adapted to a different kind of lifestyle and employers want to keep their employees happy. Being flexible and open is the best way to do that. There are so many life issues that can come up and having the option to log on virtually or take meetings from anywhere can reduce stress and improve the overall productivity of employees.

2. Fuels work-life balance

When employees have the flexibility to log on from anywhere, they can balance their work and their personal life. Additionally, imagine all the hours saved from long commutes and the ability to join a meeting after a personal appointment that your employee might otherwise have to schedule time off for. By designing remote and flexible schedules you can boost motivation and help your employees manage their work in a balanced environment. Employees will feel less stressed about their work and will be more productive overall.

3. Access to more talent 

Having a virtual office gives you the opportunity to hire global talent. You will be able to interview many different employees from all over the country or even the world. This means you can source unique talent with the skills you are looking for that might not be found where you are. Hiring the right talent is important and being able to widen your reach will give you the opportunity to source the best for your firm. Additionally, having access to global talent is a great opportunity for your business to expand and set up shop in another country.

4. One mailing address

Since you’re not physically in an office, a virtual office will give you the ability to have one location to get all your mail and other documents making it look like you have a physical location. Your business will also have the advantage of a mutual location without giving away your private information such as your home address.

Woman in a virtual office

5. Good for the environment

Not having a physical office is also beneficial for the environment. Virtual offices help the environment starting from your employee's commute. Not only will there be fewer carbon emissions from eliminating everyday commutes but everything is done online which reduces the use of paper and other products that further impact the environment. As companies continue to strive to be environmentally responsible, this is an easy and convenient way to start.

6. Cost effective 

Yes, you read this right! According to Business Wire, companies spend around 15% - 46% on office rent. Having a virtual office reduces your overall overhead costs. Therefore you spend less and reduce your costs over time. While you still have an “office” to conduct meetings, a virtual office provides the perk of no rent. Additionally you will also save on other expenses such as utilities, snacks and more. The money you save can be used on other aspects of the business that needs investing to boost revenue.

7. Easy to setup

Everyone likes things to be easy. The good news is, setting up a virtual office is easy and quick to have ready. When you want to close up shop, it's easy to even shut down without any additional costs or expenses.

8. Room for expansion

Opening up new offices can often cost a lot of money without the guarantee of success. A major advantage of a virtual office is that you can expand without the costs that come with moving to a bigger space. Also, if you want to tap into the global market or expand to other states, you can do so with cost efficiency. If the office fails in a particular market, you can shut it down without a big financial loss.

Design Your Virtual Office Today

While virtual offices have become increasingly popular with smaller companies and start-ups, having a virtual office has proven to be extremely beneficial and convenient companies of all sizes. The way we work has changed drastically over the past year. It's important to continue to evolve with the changing times to keep everyone motivated and happy.

V-Unite has it's own virtual office! Check out the branded virtual office and get inspired to design your own!

virtual-event-design

The rise of technology has opened so many doors. The biggest door it has opened for us is the door to the virtual world. With the pandemic affecting live meetings and events, moving online to virtual events has been the solution to continue training, daily meetings and even hosting employee morale-building workshops. It's no doubt virtual events have taken center stage lately. Which brings us to the big question, “How do we host a successful virtual event?” Our answer? We have the ultimate virtual event guide ready for you.

Just like planning a regular in-person event, the most important aspect of planning a virtual event is figuring out how to successfully keep your audience engaged. Whether it’s having inspirational speakers or an exciting performance, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when planning and executing a virtual event.

Ultimate Guide to Hosting A Successful Virtual Event

There are a few important tips to keep in mind to ensure the event runs smoothly. Follow along for the ultimate virtual event guide to hosting a successful virtual event - whether it is a conference, trade show, meeting or training.

Before the Virtual Event

planning process

1. Choose the most relevant platform

The first step in planning a virtual event is choosing the right virtual event platform. Your event might need certain features that one platform does better than others. Your audience needs to know how they will log in and any information that will help them sign on easily. They also need to know if they need to download an app or other software to attend the event.

It’s important to choose this platform carefully as not every platform works for every event. For example, you may choose Instagram Live for hosting interviews or briefings, or for larger events, Zoom or Teams. There is also engaging software that provides animations and avatars to make your event more unique and personalized.

2. Pick the right time

Taking a little extra time to research the most appropriate time to host your virtual event is important. You need to keep in mind important holidays and that there are no other big events coinciding with your event. You also need to consider when your audience will be able to log on and enjoy the event.

If you’re hosting a global event, it could be a good idea to go through your analytics to see what is the most popular time is for your community to be online and engaged. You can even conduct a survey to gauge the best time from prospective attendees. This is extremely important to make sure you get the attendance you need for the event.

3. Marketing is your best friend

You need to start putting the word out there, ASAP. Use all the appropriate tools and online channels to market your event and spread the word to your target audience. Let your potential attendees know about the key speakers, performances, networking opportunities and everything else they will gain from attending the event.

There are so many ways to market to your audience but you need to take a strategic approach when doing so. You will need to entice your target audience and show them what value you are providing at the event.  Using social media channels, online videos, and other social platforms are a great way to market your event to a large audience at a relatively low cost.

4. Make sure to register your audience

It’s helpful for you to start registering your audience before the virtual event. Not only to collect their information but to keep them updated on speakers and other information leading up to the conference. This is a great way to start engaging attendees and get them excited for the upcoming event.

Additionally, your audience will be able to see information on other members which could facilitate networking opportunities during the virtual event. Allow for attendees to set up profiles to everyone can learn about others before the event.

5. Plan on keeping your attendees engaged

How you will keep your attendees engaged the most important step in the planning process. This is what will drive success. Make sure you have networking opportunities available such as breakout rooms, engaging speakers with live Q&As and anything else that will provide value to your guests.

Your guests want to feel like they are learning and gaining something enriching from this meeting. With gamification features and other engagement tools provided by a virtual event software like V-Unite, you can keep your feel involved at the event.

6. Send a reminder

People forget. Everyone has a million things going on and might not remember certain events until it’s too late. To combat this issue, schedule a reminder email that attendees can add to their calendar to make sure they know when they need to attend when the virtual event goes live.

During the Virtual Event

virtual presentation panel

1. Create a social ambiance

Keep your audience engaged and encourage participation and networking opportunities among attendees. You can create dynamic live polls, Q&A sessions or even set up interactive group sessions for participants to share their ideas and chat with one another. The more engaged and social the attendees are, the more they will interact at your event ensuring a successful event overall.

2. Keep privacy intact

It’s important to keep your virtual event’s and your attendees’ privacy intact and safe as you collect information and data. Make sure you have the proper encryption and safety features setup and that the software is tested and double-checked before going live. Your platform should be extremely secure before you have people sign on. Additionally, only collect data from attendees that you really need for the event.

3. Prepare for any kind of tech-related hiccups

The keyword here is to be prepared. Tech-related issues can always come up and it’s often hard to predict when glitches might happen. To make sure you are on top of things during the event, it’s imperative to do as many tests as possible and have your whole team do different tests on all their devices including phones, tablets and desktops and laptops.

You should ensure all your attendees have a good internet connection and it's a good idea to have a backup of speaker presentations and other files if possible. Also, always have a tech support booth or live chat available for attendees to reach out with any concerns they may have during the event.

After The Virtual Event

virtual presentation

1. Capture feedback from the attendees

Sending out a survey or poll or any way to collect feedback is important to collect post-event. You will be able to gain valuable insights on how the participants liked the event, what they enjoyed the most and what they would like to see improve in the future. This is a great way for you to learn more about your audience and what you can do next time to run an even smoother event.

2. Provide on-demand opportunities

Plan to give your attendees the option of viewing content on-demand after the event. This could be a great way for you to see what content was popular and gain any other feedback from attendees on the way the content was presented during the live virtual event. Additionally, you will be able to capture more of your target market who were not able to attend the live event. You can also charge a fee for the audience to view this content to earn more revenue in the process.

Plan the Perfect Virtual Event

ASDS lobby for event

Does this virtual event guide help you feel more confident about planning a virtual event? Always remember that the first step in planning a virtual event is to come up with the right game plan and the motive for the event. Make sure to keep the audience in mind. Ask yourself what attendees are going to get out of the event and how you can create more value. Good luck!

wine-celler-virtual-meeting

2020 has taught us the importance of being able to find alternate solutions to move forward when things don’t go as planned. One of the major changes that businesses have had to deal with is the loss of live and face-to-face meetings. The solution? To host a virtual event. Over the years, virtual events and experiences have slowly started to become the new way of doing business. Now more than ever, companies have been looking toward virtual solutions to continue their training, conferences, trade shows and even onboarding new employees.

As we start heading towards a more digital world, virtual events and virtual conferences can be a great solution to bringing people together cost-effectively and conveniently. While face-to-face meetings will eventually come back, virtual events and experiences will help so many companies, employees and clients to be a part of an important event if they cannot make a flight or have to be mindful of their travel budget that year.

8 Advantages of Hosting A Virtual Event

We’ve only just touched on some of the benefits of hosting a virtual event. Let’s do a deep dive into how virtual events and experiences can help your business in the long run.

money falling out of a jar

1. Cost effective

Hosting a virtual event might help your business to save money due to the reduced cost of putting on the event. When going virtual, you can save money on staff, setup and take down costs, hotels, travel, meals and so much more. Companies have found virtual events to be 75% less expensive overall. The only cost you have is the event platform you choose to go with and any additional features to enhance the over virtual event experience.

2. Saves time

Virtual events save the host time by eliminating the process of researching and choosing vendors for meals, hotels and travel logistics. Planners can then focus on booking their speakers as well as creating and designing the virtual experience for the attendees. On the other hand, attendees are also able to save time that they would otherwise spend on travel for the event if it’s held in another country. All that is required is a stable internet connection and attendees can log on from anywhere.

3. Reach a wider and larger audience 

Who wouldn't want the ability to reach an unlimited audience? Say goodbye to worrying about audience capacity at a venue because with virtual events, your reach just got a lot wider. Without this capacity limitation, your event can be attended by anyone who has an internet connection. With a good internet connection, you can reach about 100,000 people. The networking opportunities are endless!

glass globe on a hand

4. Global reach

Not only can you reach an audience who is sitting across the country but you might even pique the interest of potential attendees from across the globe with your virtual event. Imagine the possibilities that come with this wide reach! With the added bonus of being able to attend from home, you're about to get a lot more sign-ups for your event.

5. Event data and feedback

From attendees having to register online, you can collect information that can help you improve and plan your future events. You can see how many people attended the event, what their engagement and activity was, who they were most interested in listening to and more. Measuring the engagement of your attendees is a great way to ensure success for your future events since you are able to truly understand what your audience is looking for and cater future experiences towards their interests.

6. Innovative experience

Virtual events are still a new phenomenon and companies are still figuring out the best way to host events. You have the opportunity to be the most innovative company out there and wow your clients with your event. Your business can create a special and personalized feel to your event and improve the networking ability of your attendees. With various virtual event platform features, you can theme your events by hosting a wine tasting and sending wine to your attendees, add a cool space theme element to your conference or customize your offices to really make your meeting or event have a unique touch. 

7. Enhances value to sponsors and exhibitors

There is so much value that comes out of virtual events, especially when it comes to sponsors and exhibitors. Why? Because sponsors and exhibitors are able to collect data on who visited their booths, what attendees were interested in learning about, how many times someone looked into their products and so much more. 

8. Flexible and convenient

You can’t beat the flexibility of logging on from anywhere, even if you’re relaxing at the beach! Your audience will love the fact that they can sign on from the comfort of their couches. Additionally, they are also able to save on costs and time that usually comes with commuting to an event.

do something great neon sign

Ready to Host Your Next Virtual Event?

With so many advantages to hosting virtual events, giving this innovative solution a shot is a no-brainer. As you come up with strategies on how to incorporate virtual meetings and events, you are taking strides in improving your employees’, clients’ and your target audiences’ experiences. Let's start planning your virtual event today!

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