In the face of COVID-19, giving up on work is out of the question. Markets all over the world are observing a downfall and our only bet to survive is to work harder than yesterday. A way to keep the momentum going is to organise virtual events and meetings. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests social distancing for the upcoming weeks as a precautionary measure to contain the virus, however, this should not limit the amount of hard work we can put in especially in this digital age.
What is a virtual event?
A virtual event is an online event that involves people interacting in a virtual environment on the web, rather than meeting in a physical location. Networking is achieved by virtual booths and chatrooms to simulate the experience of a physical event. Some key advantages of a virtual event on a physical one are:
- It is super cost-effective. While a physical event may require you to book a venue, provide for hospitality, spend on marketing and the decoration of the venue, a virtual event does require any of this allowing us to get straight to the point.
- Ability to reach out to a wider audience. There is a great chance that someone across the sea is interested in your event but cannot attend it due to distance and travelling issues. A virtual event lets you connect with audiences around the globe.
- Ease for your audience. Your audience might include someone with special needs, and sometimes it is the speaker itself. Virtual events do not require you to make special arrangements.
- Networking at ease. The main goal of conferences is networking. With virtual events, you can network with people at your ease and convenience using different modes of online communications. Zoom or example has breakout rooms where your audience can interact.
- Easier to track the event success. Due to its virtual nature, it is relatively easier to track the audience and the engagements with your event.
- Eco-friendly nature. Hosting a virtual event will save a lot of resources that we extract from our planet. Times like this when climate change is a big issue, hosting a virtual event would be the ideal choice.
Here are some key steps to consider when organising a virtual event:
Develop a virtual event or conference plan
Just like a physical event, you may need to structure and plan your virtual event as well. Outline the agenda clearly with no ambiguity. Structure the opening and closing of the conference, plan out all the speeches and their timeframes, and most importantly, how you are going to keep the audience interested.
Make necessary changes for the shift
There is no doubt that what can be conveyed in person has no match with translating it through the screens. It’s easy for the remote audience to lose interest with time, so make necessary changes in your plan to make the session interactive and more lively.
Market your event
Like physical events, you will need to market your virtual event as well. Some tips for gathering audience are:
- Define the target audience. Who is most likely to participate in your event? Reach out to the people that are interested in virtual participation or looking to gain some knowledge.
- Create an event website. Opt for minimalist and aesthetic design. Briefly explain the event in an engaging way.
- Social media marketing. Utilise the fame of social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) to reach out to your audience and engage with them.
- Email marketing. It is a form of marketing which involves sending bulk emails to your potential attendees, providing them updates regarding your event. You can also utilise this for future purposes.
- Word-of-mouth marketing. Considered the most powerful forms of marketing. Ask your speakers or sponsors, through video messages, to tease the event for you, it’s a win-win situation.
- Use teasers. The best way to grab the attention of the potential attendees is to tease some valuable content often to keep up their interest. Tease them what to expect in your event.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re hosting a virtual event for the first time and don’t know where to start, seek out help from agencies and firms to help you out.
Prepare your team
While the amount of physical work required in a virtual event is significantly less as compared to a physical one, you still need to prepare your team for moderating the networking phase and maintaining a smooth flow of the event throughout.
Focus on the quality
Losing interest in a virtual event is quite easy. You will have to work extra hard in maintaining the audio and video quality. Poor quality can result in poor engagement and deliverance of speech. Unless visual representation is necessary.
Analyse the data
Provided all the digital tools at our hands today, it’s easier to analyse data in real-time which provides user behaviours. Using this data, it is possible to analyse where the attendees showed greater interests and at what point it was declining. The information received from this data can surely help in improving things for the future.
Ready to organise a virtual event? Over to you.
Opting for an online event is far better than cancelling it. In the face of odds that humanity is facing right now, hosting virtual events could be a solution to move forward while keeping the financial expenses minimal. Now is the best time to stand out and make your digital presence more prominent.