The rise of technology has opened so many doors, but the biggest door it has opened for us is the door to the virtual world and the immense benefits that come with it. With the pandemic affecting live meetings and events, moving online has been the solution to continue training, daily meetings and even employee morale-building workshops. Not to mention virtual happy hours, complete with virtual wine tasting has become a hit among companies. Which brings us to the big question, “How do we host a successful virtual event?”
Just like planning a regular in-person event, the most important aspect of an event is figuring out how to successfully keep your audience engaged. Whether it’s having inspirational speakers or an exciting performance to look forward to, there are a couple of things event planners need to keep in mind when planning and executing a virtual event.
Follow along for our guide to hosting a successful virtual event – whether it is a conference, trade show, meeting or training, there are a few important tips to keep in mind to ensure the event runs smoothly.
The first step in planning a virtual event is choosing the virtual platform you are going to use to host the event. Your audience needs to know how they will log in and if they need to download an app or software to attend the event. It’s important to choose this carefully as not every platform works for every type of 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.
Taking a little extra time to research what is the most appropriate time to host your event is important. You need to keep in mind holidays and make sure that there are no events that you will be competing with that could hinder your attendance.
If you’re hosting a global event, go through your analytics to see which is the most popular time for your community to be online and engaged and maybe even conduct a survey to gauge the best time from prospective attendees.
You need to start putting the word out there. Use all the appropriate tools and online channels to market your event and let people know about your event. Your audience needs to know key speakers, performances, networking opportunities and everything else they will gain from attending the event.
There are many ways to target your audience but make sure you take a strategic approach when doing so. Using social media channels, online videos, etc. are a great way to market your event to a large audience at a relatively low cost.
It’s helpful to start registering your audience before the event not only to collect their info but to keep them updated on speakers and other information leading up to the conference or meeting. This is a great way to keep them engaged and excited for the upcoming event.
This is the main step in the planning process to ensure a successful event. Make sure you have networking opportunities and engaging speakers and anything else that will provide value to your guests.
With gamification features and other engagement tools provided by virtual event software like V-Unite, you can keep your audience curious and feel involved at the event. Your guests want to feel like they are learning and gaining something enriching from this meeting.
People forget. Everyone has a million other things going on and they might not remember certain events until it’s too late. To combat this, schedule a reminder email that attendees can add to their calendar to make sure they attend when it goes live.
Keep your audience engaged and encourage participation and networking opportunities with attendees. You can create engaging 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 attendees are, the more they will interact at your event ensuring a successful event overall!
It’s important to keep your event’s and your attendees’ privacy intact and safe as you collect information and data. Make sure you have the proper encryption and that everything is tested and double-checked before going live. Your platform should be extremely secure before having people sign on. Additionally, only collect data from attendees that you really need for the event.
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 could also be 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 to with any concerns they may have during the event.
Sending out a survey or poll or any type of 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.
Does this 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. You need to ask yourself what attendees are going to get out of the event and why this is important for them to attend! Good luck!
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