9 Quick Wins If You're Planning A Virtual Event in 2023
Virtual events recently exploded in popularity, and they are definitely here to stay. Whether it’s a live streamed concert, education seminar, or a conference, it is now possible—even commonplace—to enjoy activities from the comfort of your living room.
Virtual and hybrid events have always had their place in the future of technology—they make situations more accessible and connect people regardless of their physical location. In an increasingly online world, it was inevitable that more face-to-face interactions would expand to become available virtually.
Here are 9 ways to create a successful virtual event and to continuously engage attendees throughout the event and beyond.
1. Content Is Key
This is true everywhere in your company, but especially for event planning. Determine your budget and the quality of production that you can realistically achieve in your timeline.
The bottom line is: virtual events take just as much planning and preparation as in-person events. Make sure you are putting as much effort and resources into developing the materials as you would be if it were in person.
2. Encourage Audience Engagement
Encourage engagement among your virtual attendees with group chats, reactions,and other real-time communication options. Many conferences like to get creative when engaging their audience. They use polling, live Q&A sessions, quizzes and other interactive content to encourage engagement.
3. Bring In Industry Experts
Guest speakers are often one of the main attractions of a virtual event. Consider bringing in a keynote speaker, and also offering panel discussions with different guests.
4. Livestream The Event
You will have to decide if you want to live-stream your event, or only offer it on-demand. An on-demand event can be downloaded at any time after the initial recording. We encourage offering your event in both formats. Live-streaming promotes engagement in real-time, and offering the material on-demand opens it to people who may have been interested, but were unable to attend originally. If you choose to live-stream your event, make sure to take time zones into consideration. Where is the bulk of your audience located? Will there be a global reach? Ensure these ideas are utilized when preparing your event.
5. Promote Your Event With Social Media And Email Marketing
This tip will pay off with increased attendance. Make sure to provide your team with as much time as possible to get the word out about your event. Utilize every tool you have available to spread information about your event and reasons they should attend. You can also incentivize your attendees with gifts, certifications and more.
6. Offer Networking Opportunities
Make sure to present ample networking possibilities like virtual meetings and breakout sessions. This allows attendees to network similar to the way they would at an in-person expo or trade event. If the event is internal, make sure there is time for team-building.
7. Be Prepared For Challenges
As much as we can hope or pray that things will run smoothly, it is important to acknowledge that something will probably go wrong. Arrange to have tech support on-hand and ready to step in if issues arise.
It is also important to note that attendees’ will never be as familiar with your specific platform as you are. It will make your attendees feel more comfortable if you prepare them ahead of time by including instructions on how to access and navigate the event.
8. Send A Follow-up Email
Provide your attendees with a summary of the key points. It’s a great idea to include a post-event survey, which will help you measure your audience’s engagement and satisfaction, and will assist you in building a seamless roadmap for events in the future.
9. Most Importantly, Make It Fun!
Your main goal is always for the experience to be enjoyable and memorable for your attendees. Here are some unique virtual event ideas that you can incorporate into your next event:
Make a drink
Whether it’s coffee or a cocktail, bring in a barista or bartender and have them teach the audience how to make a creative drink. This is a fun way to diffuse any awkwardness or tension from interacting virtually with new people.
Turn it into an activity
Cooking class. Paint night. An exercise group. A murder mystery? The options are endless. Encourage engagement and connection among the audience by turning it into an activity they can participate in.
Add some friendly competition to the event. Introduce some trivia questions with rewards. Award points for audience connections and responses. Start a social media challenge with a unique hashtag.
Offer gifts to attendees
Everyone loves free stuff. Consider enticing attendees to join by arranging lunch, giving gift cards, or providing them with other useful items. People will come for the gifts, but they will stay for your content.
Incorporate virtual reality
Some of the most successful virtual events were immersive experiences. VR is only getting better. If you have the option, incorporating VR into your event will ensure the experience is unique and memorable.