It’s hard to believe it wasn’t even three years ago when the word Zoom referred to a 1982 sleeper hit song by Fat Larry’s Band. Virtual events and webinars were virtually unknown at the time, and most of us were still dragging ourselves to the office in person five days a week.
How times have changed — for better and for worse. Virtual events have since exploded in popularity in every sector of the economy.
In 2022, knowing how to host a virtual event is an important skill for companies big and small. Today’s digital economy is globally connected. Investors, employees, management and customers are often in different parts of the world but want to remain in touch. Successfully hosting a virtual event offers a competitive advantage and does wonders for building your brand.
It’s not as easy as it sounds, though. Let’s look at some virtual event tips and virtual event best practices to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your remote workforce and digital customer engagement strategies.
Knowing When to Go Virtual
Deciding between an in-person gathering or a virtual event can be tricky. Ideally, your organization will have the tools and the infrastructure to do both. As a general rule, we have found that task-based meetings go better using virtual tools, while relationship-based meetings are better in person.
Of course, you don’t always have the option to gather a dispersed team in person. One of the benefits of a virtual gathering is your ability to gather people at short notice and low cost thanks to the power of the internet. That’s especially useful for reaching customers all over the world, too.
Types of Virtual Events
Various types of online events have gained in popularity as people have become more familiar with hosting and attending virtual events.
- Virtual networking events: People come together online to build their networks, share what they do and where they see opportunities, and showcase their best work.
- Virtual fundraising events: These have grown in popularity worldwide as they allow you to bring in high-profile individuals at a fraction of the cost. It’s also easy to link in payment platforms that allow instant fund collection.
- Virtual conferences: These events have exploded in popularity as ways to gather large groups of people around a single topic without the costs associated with a conference. Conferences are great ways to use all the potential of virtual events to explore topics in depth.
- Virtual shopping events: These are growing in popularity, particularly when integrated with social channels. Retailers can showcase their products and services, offer special deals and engage deeply with potential clients in new and unusual ways.
Virtual Event Best Practices
Once you’ve decided to host a virtual event, it’s very important to get it right. Let’s run through some virtual event best practices so that you can be sure you’re getting the most out of your events.
Also, if you’re running short of virtual event ideas, this blog post on the Video Marketing Trends of 2021 may come in handy.
Know Why You’re Hosting a Virtual Event
Go in with clear goals and keep them top of mind. Are you looking to build your contact list, find new work or showcase a product? Whatever it is, it’s easy to get swept up in the event and forget what you’re there for. Keep your goals top of mind.
Choose a Platform That Suits the Event
Different audiences have different needs. Sometimes you should be on a social network like Facebook Live, while at other times you’ll need an exclusive, bespoke virtual space. Knowing your audience and understanding the tools they use is the best way to make sure you’re getting that right.
Think Carefully About Time Zones
If your audience is connecting from all over the world, you need to make sure that your most important market has the optimal times.
Promotion Is Vital
Don’t spend all your time planning the event and not enough making sure people know about it and sign up for it. The usual laws of marketing still apply.
Timing Is Everything
Have a slick schedule and stick to it. Don’t expect people to hang around while you’re busy trying to get the next speaker set up and ready.
Moderators Are Essential
We may not like to admit it, but people often behave a lot worse online than they do in real life. Make sure someone is monitoring the comments and chats so that participants aren’t bringing the value of your brand down right under your nose.
Don’t sit back on your laurels after your event is over. Make sure you reach out to participants and keep the channels of communication open. If you’ve recorded your event, offer them the recording and let them know when the next event will be running.
Focus on Interactivity
The last thing your audience wants is a monologue where your speaker drones on for an hour and then signs off. Use the tools at your disposal to make people feel involved. From chats to polls to Q&A, participants want to feel like they are part of the event.
Backup Is Always a Good Idea
Your technology will let you down at some point or other — it’s inevitable. Make sure you have backup options and a plan in place for when the Wi-Fi drops, your camera stops working or the power supply dies. At some point, you’re going to need it.
Debrief After the Event
It’s always a good idea to get feedback from your team and participants after the event. Check in with each department and survey customers to see where things went well or badly — and where you could improve next time.
Let Orpheus Elevate Your Virtual Events
As digital marketing experts, we spotted the value of virtual events early on. As a result, we’ve created a set of products designed to help you showcase all your creativity and expertise in a sophisticated, data-rich, virtual live event where and when you need it.
Orpheus makes it easy for you to connect with clients and partners all over the world and showcase your original work using multi-media tools. We know how to take your virtual event to the next level and we can’t wait to show you what’s possible.
Find out more about the Orpheus approach to Virtual Events right here.