event information center

As most conferences and events have moved online and are probably going to be hybrid as we move forward, networking can get a little tricky when you’re trying to engage and interact with event attendees through a screen. Networking is one of the main reasons we go to conferences in the first place. Business conferences and other events are a great way to meet industry leaders and interact with peers in your field. As events start changing with in-person and virtual attendees, how do we network to ensure we meet with everyone we wanted to learn from?

While we can’t start up a conversation with the person sitting next to us as virtual attendees, there are many ways to successfully network and get a conversation started when attending a conference virtually.

Top Tips for Navigating a Virtual Event Successfully

networking at an event

Unsure about how to network successfully at a virtual event or conference? We've rounded up our top suggestions to successfully network with your peers.

1. Establish your networking goals

You need to set networking goals and create a plan on how you will network with your peers during the event. This is a great way to ensure that you reach out to everyone on your list and meet your overall networking objectives. A great way to create your networking plan is to research other attendees' profiles. Check attendees out on social media to understand more of their background and how you can have a meaningful conversation. Having these set goals will help you establish what you’re looking for and how you will achieve your connections during the event.

2. Create a strong attendee profile 

Just like you will be looking up other attendees and speakers, other people will also be trying to look you up as a possible connection. Use this as a chance to flush out your profile with all the necessary information that will help you stand out. This is your time to show off your credibility in the field and how you can establish yourself as a valuable network.

Some ideas include linking your website and social media profiles. Even have your portfolio on there for others to see all your work. Additionally, try to add a picture so attendees will be able to get familiar with who you are before attending the event.

3. Reach out and introduce yourself!

Don’t be shy! Go ahead and introduce yourself to the attendees. You can do this by sharing who you are, a little bit of your background and what you do professionally. Depending on where the conversation goes, talk about your hobbies and other fun elements about yourself. When establishing a connection you need to gauge the ambiance and figure out the tone you want to set for the introduction. This will be great way for people to get comfortable with you and start a conversation at the event. 

Conference room for virtual meetings

4. Leverage social media

Speaking of social media, use your platform to share conference news and information. Share your updates on attendance and what you are looking forward to at the event. This could be what speakers you will be listening to or participating in chat rooms. Use event hashtags provided and start a conversation around the event to engage other speakers and attendees.

Remember, you are trying to network and social media can help you create connections before the event even starts! Additionally, make sure to share follow-up posts after the event to continue the conversation even after the event.

5. Participate in real-time messaging 

Depending on what the event offers, try to participate in the live polls, Q/A and other live chats when you can. Participating in these offerings is an easy way to chat with other attendees, ask questions and stay engaged during the conference. Some events offer leadership boards and the ability to collect points during the event. This is a great way encourage more participation so use this as an opportunity to network.

Make sure to leverage all the networking options to make the most out of the event. If your goal is to meet the most number of people, you need to participate and engage consistently. It's also important that you share updates and information as much as you can to facilitate constant networking throughout the event.

6. Engage in breakout sessions

Breakout sessions are another great way to have thoughtful discussions with your group; This is the time to ask important questions after a segment or speaker. Take this session as an opportunity to chat with the guest speakers and also have a meaningful conversation about a topic at these sessions.

7. Follow up after the event

Conversations and networking capabilities don’t just stop at the event. To continue to establish your connections further, make sure you follow up (politely) with the people you met at the event and see how you can further help each other with business goals, etc.

Networking Opportunities Create Value

event lobby

Conferences and trade shows are extremely valuable in helping you connect with your peers. You will never know how your connection can help you in your career. From mentorship to job opportunities, networking is of great value and can open many doors.

We hope these tips will help you reach your networking goals where you come out with valuable connections after the event! If you’re new to virtual events, check out how you can make money hosting a virtual event to get inspired to create your own event.

Hybrid events have almost become the norm for businesses that host events and conferences. If the goal of your event is to create awareness and reach a wide audience - hybrid events can do just that and go above and beyond your target reach. Not only are you able to increase exposure to your brand but you can also make a lot more revenue in the long run.

Still trying to convince yourself why hosting a hybrid event is a good idea? We’re going to share with you some major benefits you and your business can gain from a hybrid event.

7 Benefits of Hosting a Hybrid Event

There are so many factors that have made hybrid events a popular way to host events. From increased engagement opportunities to making more profits, here are seven benefits your business can take advantage of.

1. Increased reach and attendance opportunity

One of the biggest advantages of a hybrid event is the large audience your event can attract. Not only do you have in-person attendees but you also have a virtual audience that can attend from anywhere. some of the major factors that deter people from attending events is the time restraints and travel costs that come with it. With hybrid events, participants have the choice to attend in person or decide to log on from their bedrooms.

Additionally, having your event streamed online allows social media sharing and videos to be shared with other potential customers. Imagine the overall reach your event and brand can have by attracting multiple customers in different avenues.

2. Improved engagement at a hybrid event

You can provide the engagement tools to boost participation and networking opportunities among audience members for your event. Gamification and social media integration is an integral part of a hybrid event that can keep your audience engaged and immersed the entire time. One of the main aspects of a conference or an event is the ability to network with peers and industry leaders. Make sure you have an easy way for attendees to interact with each other.

Examples of networking opportunities include live Q&A sessions, break-out rooms, surveys and polls, live chats and much more. Take advantage of offering multiple features that will get the audience chatting among themselves as well as with virtual participants. 

3. Reduces overall costs for attendees

With in-person conferences, there are so many costs to consider such as tickets, hotel stays and meal stipends. Sometimes, these costs factor into whether someone would want to or be able to attend an event. Additionally, companies might not have the budget to send their employees to an event. By providing the option of attending virtually, you reduce overall costs for attendees, giving them more of a chance to attend your event.

Giving your target audience the chance to attend virtually opens the doors for more attendance and the possibility of increasing exposure with your potential attendees.

virtual presentation

4. Efficient and effective data collection

Data collection is of the most valuable aspects of having a virtual audience. While you can track certain engagements and feedback from in-person attendees, by adding a virtual element you can truly track and monitor how your audience engages, where they were spending most of their time and what the most popular section of the event was.

This is vital information that can help you provide better services in the future and truly measure, analyze and understand who your audience is and what they like.

5. Flexibility and adaptability

What’s amazing about offering a hybrid event is that they are extremely flexible and adaptable to any situation. While we can’t always predict the weather correctly or control flight changes, hybrid events can be a great option for attendees to have as a backup if they are running late or even missed their flight.

On the other hand, hosts are able to continue with the event if the venue cancels on them or a physical event cannot take place for some reason. It’s a win-win for any scenario.

6. Attractive to sponsors

Sponsors love a hybrid event because they know the reach and awareness it can generate. When you find a sponsor that suits your audience and aligns with your values, you can reduce your overall costs. How? Sponsors pay you to place their ads and other marketing materials to showcase during events.

You can also have full control of this and charge accordingly to ensure that your sponsors don’t make your audience feel that they are being spammed. 

7. Fresh revenue stream

If you’re looking for a way to grow your revenue, a hybrid event is the easiest and best way to do so. Not only is this an innovative solutions for your business, by adding the hybrid element you can generate a fresh stream of revenue from your virtual participants in addition to your in-person attendees.

Hybrid events are attracting a lot of customers as people find it convenient to attend and network. Because your reach is greater, the potential for profits is also greater.

Start Planning Your Next Hybrid Event

Hybrid events will only give your company an edge. Widen your reach and give your clients and customers a new way of doing business. A great avenue for you to make more $$$ and generate new customers awaits. If you’re not sure where to start, we've got the perfect guide for you. Check out the Ultimate Guide to Planning a Successful Hybrid Event to feel inspired.

Virtual awards show with a stage and tables

We can’t deny the fact that virtual and hybrid events are here to stay. As you plan your agenda of the event event, you need to think about audience engagement throughout the virtual conference. After all, your attendees are probably going be logging on to the event from their couches. Having them completely immersed in your virtual event is your key to success.

“It's important to understand your target audience and how they digest content to give them the best possible experience." Stephen Handisides - CEO of V-Unite.

This brings us back to the big question, “With thousands of individuals attending your virtual event, how will you ensure audience engagement throughout virtual event?”

Ideas to Improve Audience Engagement During a Virtual Event

You need to plan your event accordingly and have some tricks up your sleeve that will ensure that your audience will stay engaged in the virtual experience you provide. Here are some helpful ideas to start thinking about today.

1. Create a theme

Go all out and add a theme to your virtual event. Whether you choose an intergalactic theme where you take everyone to space, or opt for a gala dinner to present awards to your employees, setting a theme for the event is an instant crowd pleaser.

Think about it. If you choose to do a fun 60s or 90s theme, your attendees will love to use this as an excuse to dress up at home. Attendees will be excited about having to switch up their routine and wear a fun outfit for an event they are attending from home.

2. Social media contest

Everybody likes to win prizes! Use social media to your advantage and create a contest that encourages attendees and even prospective attendees to engage and promote the event on social media. We mention prospective attendees as this contest could potentially be a way to attract a wider audience and get them to attend your virtual event.

You will be surprised how competitive your attendees will get with these competitions. You also just got an easy boost of awareness around your event.

3. Content. And More Content

As you plan your virtual event, you need to make sure you are going to have content that is relevant and important to your audience. Remember, your audience is attending this conference through a screen. You need to make sure they won't get easily distracted and zone out if they are bored.

The content you are providing should be engaging and also thought-provoking so the audience will be intrigued as the event goes on. A good idea could be to have break-out rooms to encourage different types of discussions after each speaker or presentation to continue the conversation.

4. Add gamification features

Similar to the social media contest, adding gamification features to your event is another exciting way for the audience to get involved. You could design a leaderboard for the audience to earn points as they move around the virtual platform. Trust us, people get competitive! You can also have interactive games at sponsored booths to help them stay engaged during the event.

GVAS virtual conference with space theme and audience

5. Live Q&A series

If you have live speakers and presentations at your virtual event, it could be a good idea to have a live Q&A session for the audience to get even more involved.

Especially for topics that are more complicated or focused on learning, a Q&A session where the audience can then ask questions after or share their feedback, will keep them around until the end. The Q&A sessions also ensure attendees feel involved which boosts engagement in the process.

6. Surprise guests

Keeping a little mystery around the event could cause intrigue and have the audience buzzing about who or what the surprise at the event could be. If possible, bring on a notable speaker or a surprise performance by a popular artist to really get the audience engaged and excited!

7. Live entertainment 

Virtual events can become heavy with speakers and presentations. It could be a good idea to have a "fun" room for the audience to take breaks during the event. Additionally, you could also plan a live performance mid-event to really get the crowd going during the conference. Plan events that may not be too information heavy so your audience does get too overwhelmed before the event ends.

8. Virtual gift bags

Depending on if budget prevails, you could send your audience a token of your appreciation with a gift bag related to the event. You can also gift your attendees something they could use during the event. Your audience would then most likely head to the booth where they can use the gift which could get them more engaged around the virtual platform.

9. Networking opportunities

One of the main reasons to have trade shows and conferences is for the networking possibilities. Your event should encourage peer to peer networking within your platform. Whether this is through break out rooms or online groups to facilitate chatting, networking capabilities is important.

There is a high possibility that your audience is at the event to network with industry leaders and other peers. You need to make sure they are able to connect with other attendees conveniently.

10. Polling series

An easy, yet effective way to ensure audience engagement is to have polling series before, after and throughout your event. This will keep the communication lines open and will also keep the feedback coming during the event. Additionally, as you get this feedback, you might be able to make small changes to improve user experience and ensure your audience is staying engaged. 

Conference room for virtual meetings

Audience Engagement is Important

You need to make your audience feel like they are as much part of a ‘live’ event as possible. If your attendees feel like they were able to network with peers from your event, they will keep coming back for more.

Now that you have these techniques to consider for your next event, make sure you check out our ultimate guide for hosting successful virtual events as you plan your next virtual experience. 

Woman in a virtual office

According to Capterra, the leading online resource for business software buyers, V-Unite has been named one of the best virtual event platforms of 2021! Look no further than V-Unite as your virtual event platform for your future events.

We have the perfect software for you to design your own branded corporate events. Think trade shows, conferences and even think tank meetings. V-Unite also has bonus features like social media integration, gamification and other add ons to keep your audience engaged.

Virtual and hybrid events have become the new norm as more companies become remote. While we have all adapted to the WFH routine, meetings and events don't need to stop! Networking events, trade shows and other conferences are still important to conduct business and give employees and clients a sense of belonging. Additionally, these events and conferences give the audience the ability to network with their peers.

While we all might be craving an in-person event, virtual events are a great solution to continue business. Budgets, time restraints and travel can come in the way when it comes to attending an event. The solution? Finding the right virtual platform that can make you feel like you are at a live event. 

What is V-Unite?

V-Unite is an easy-to-use, cloud-based software application that enables organizations to save time and money conducting high-quality virtual events, conferences or trade shows. The virtual event platform empowers the user with the ability to set up, schedule and organize virtual events. Clients also have a choice of including multiple features including a hybrid of pre-recorded and live presentations for hosting their event.

The result? A fun and interactive virtual event experience that improves attendee participation and attention. V-Unite also allows the user to store and deliver their content for continued ongoing training objectives and future events.

Why Go Virtual?

Adaptability! Many successful events now incorporate a digital or online element in their business. Whether it's streaming content or live chat functionality to facilitate better attendee engagement. Companies are looking at virtual to increase their exposure and revenue by running a series of virtual events throughout the year. As the business climate evolves, it’s important to be proactive and adapt to every situation. That's how you can set your business up to thrive in any environment.

The pandemic has affected so many live events, conferences and even training and sales meetings. Why not overcome this obstacle and set up virtual sessions that can make your employees and clients feel like they are almost at a ‘live’ event?

Choosing a Virtual Platform

There are tons of benefits of hosting besides engagement at virtual event. Your business has the ability to increase exposure and make revenue with a virtual event. Whatever physical event you are planning, our team can help you create a virtual experience to match without the obvious physical handshake!

COST-EFFECTIVE SOLUTION

Virtual events are a cost effective solution for all. Without a physical venue and other costs associated with a live event, organizers are able to use their budget elsewhere. Attendees also benefit from travel and hotel cost savings. Not to mention the convenience of being able to attend an event from their homes.

TIME & RESOURCE EFFICIENT

By their nature, virtual events are time efficient. Not only does it save time for events’ personnel tasked with delivering the event but also for attendees who can save on travel time. Without the issue of time zones, attendees are further able to beat the time that factors into the commute of attending a big event.

IMPROVED ATTENDEE ENGAGEMENT

It is notable that delegates are far happier to ask questions online than at a live event. Attendees also find meeting other attendees much easier online than walking up to a ‘stranger’ to introduce themselves. The opportunities of networking at a virtual event are endless, thus creating a highly engaging event.

ON-DEMAND CONTENT

One of the best parts about a virtual event is the ability to share content on-demand after the event. Virtual events can be used alongside a live event, often to create an ‘on-demand’ element where event delegates can revisit the event to gather information, content and resources at a convenient time. Additionally, if a virtual event is created, it can be left ‘on-demand’ to attract those who were unable to attend the original virtual event.

V-Unite is a virtual platform like no other. Contact us now to schedule a demo!

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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