Over the past few weeks, have you noticed how the world has experienced a spectacular shift in dynamics? Wasn’t it just a while ago that we were sitting in our conference room at 9AM discussing our company goals? Remember how we had to meet a few friends later for dinner? What about calculating the funds we needed to see our favorite band perform live in Italy?
As challenging as this shift has been, humans have an interesting way of adapting to the next best alternative for survival. While Zoom became a household name during this time, not only did it make work meetings possible (and effective), but also brought friends and family closer in today’s socially distant world. Along with this, the bands we had been yearning to see ended up performing in our living rooms with special broadcasts like #TogetherAtHome.
While everything else is moving online, so are physical events. Every year, organizations, no matter how big or small, have been known to schedule a set of events to fulfill their desired goals. Now, what was already a rapidly growing choice for many of these organizations has now become a necessary alternative, in the form of virtual events.
What Is a Virtual Event?
A virtual event is a replication of an in-person event, with added value, that takes place online instead of at a physical venue. Honestly speaking, virtual events can be a great way to form relevant global networks and distribute content at a large scale.
12 Best Practices for Hosting a Virtual Event
The question remains, “How can companies produce a high-quality digital experience with one-to-one interaction and continuous engagement?” To answer this, let’s walk you through a list of tips and to-dos for hosting successful virtual event.
1. Decide the type of event you’re planning to host
Before you begin, you must have a clear picture of the goals you aim to achieve through a certain event. Whether it’s a virtual conference, virtual career fair, virtual trade show, or any other event, you ought to first define clear objectives in order for your team to organize and configure their respective event.
2. Choose the right platform for your needs
When choosing a virtual events provider, ensure that they support your necessary requirements to deliver your brand’s goals and vision. Prepare a set of questions, no matter how many, and inquire till you’re absolutely sold on the service.
A few standard details that you may want to ask your potential virtual events provider about are:
- The type of sessions you’re looking for
- Reporting metrics that will be available during/at the end of the event
- Number/quality of design options
- The engagement tools that they offer
- Any third-party plugins or other affiliations
- The extent of customer support in your time zone
- What accessibility features are available
3. Set a realistic timeline
Ideally, it takes about 8-10 weeks for an event to be up and running. However, it is highly recommended to book your event way in advance so that you can build it up to perfection and have enough time to market it to your audience.
4. Create an immersive experience
While they say “don’t judge a book by its cover,” how often do they really go by this?
We all know what to expect from an event the second we step into one, in the case of a physical fair. Similarly, at a virtual event, the user interface has a great impact on attendees. Starting from the landing page, where visitors form their first impression and decide whether to proceed or not, the design needs to captivate the audience to maximize sign-ups. Within the event, it is equally significant to ensure that your environment replicates the entire live experience of an in-person event, or comes close at least.
5. Spread the word on social media
You’ve been building that social media audience for a reason, haven’t you? It’s time to make use of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and any other platforms that you see your potential audience engaging with, to market your event and increase registrations.
6. Make use of engagement tools
The success of any event is majorly dependent on its engagement rates. Use live chat tools for one-to-one as well as group discussions, along with surveys and polls to ensure that visitors can smoothly interact with exhibitors (and job seekers with employers, in the case of career/job fairs) in real time.
7. Host live webinars and deliver keynotes
Live webinars are one of the most effective (and popular) tools used to address the masses. You can invite keynote speakers from absolutely any part of the world, which you normally wouldn’t be able to do without having to bear the extra cost of travel and accommodation. You can book their slots according to their respective availability and end your session with a brief Q&A session to allow for two-way communication as well as to gather feedback from the audience.
Quick tip: To maximize the attendance at your webinar, provide the audience with a schedule way before the event, and send email reminders a few hours before the webinar.
8. Make quality content available
Content plays an essential role, regardless the type of event that is being hosted. Whether it is in the form of documents, presentations, or videos, your content will be the voice of your brand during a virtual event.
9. Gamify your event
Incentivize certain steps you wish for your audience to complete by gamifying your event. Scavenger hunts and leaderboards not only increase the time your audience spends at your event, but also help set a lasting impression of your organization, eventually improving the quality of leads.
10. Provide configurable booths and advanced branding
Enable exhibitors to demonstrate their brands and depict their unique personalities using a variety of booth designs.
11. Showcase your sponsors
Give your sponsors a dedicated area to showcase themselves, just as with a physical event. You can make use of a number of options to display their brand logos, content, or sessions in a virtual environment, with the same impact as of an in-person fair.
12. Generate detailed reports
One of the key features that level up a virtual event in comparison to a physical one is its reporting capabilities. Make sure you capture registrations that can be added to your CRM or mailing lists for lead generation purposes. In addition, engagement and content insights can help you measure your ROI and optimize your KPIs.
While the idea of hosting a virtual event might be overwhelming to many businesses, a majority of organizers have been able to come out stronger by hosting successful virtual events. With fixed objectives in mind and the right virtual events provider, achieving exceptional results is one of the most realistic aims for your business this year.
At vFairs.com, we strive to build a top-class online event platform that will help event organizers make memorable connections with their target audience. We’re obsessed with taking out the hassle normally associated with physical events and leaving organizers and exhibitors to focus on what’s most important: engagement with the audience.
Get in touch with an expert to learn more about vFairs here.