Virtual events have been done since the early 2000’s so they are nothing new, however, just recently, the use of virtual events has become a popular practice across various industries. Since one of the biggest events that happened recently is the impact of COVID-19 on the world, this has led many businesses to either close their doors or turn to a virtual/online presence. The new virtual/online presence means that businesses have been conducting regular operations in a new fashion. Some of these operations are events.
This blog will share why and how companies can use virtual events for their business.
What is a Virtual Event?
A virtual event is an event that is held via the internet. This means that the attendees do not have to meet at a specified location (other than their internet device). A virtual event can be interactive or one-sided. An interactive virtual event means that the host and the attendees communicate or participate in/with the event. An event that is one-sided means that the host is broadcasting the event and attendees are simply watching.
When Are They Used?
Virtual events are used when someone, or an organization, needs to or wants to, share information or activity with others who do not attend an actual event. Events that are held virtually can be used for many things. These can be events related to business/education such as webinars, showrooms, training, conferences, etc., or events related to entertainment such as concerts, programs, shows, etc.
Why Use Them?
There are many reasons why virtual events are used. In the business world, virtual events provide an alternative for people to gather and interact with others. Especially in a time where in-person gatherings are limited, having the option of meeting virtually gives more opportunity for both the attendees and the host.
How To Use Them
There is not a specific way that virtual events are used as they are similar to any other type of event. Some businesses may hold a gathering, whether it is in-person or virtual, to
- Bring people together from different parts of the world,
- Share information with a mass audience at the same time,
- Save time and money on presentations and room rentals,
- Build connections with those they may not have otherwise.
The way a virtual event is used can vary depending on the reason why, but here are some best practices that a business can do when they do hold a virtual event.
Best Practices for Virtual Events
Virtual events need some type of planning so they can become successful. Take a look at some of these best practices.
Choosing the Best Platform
Because there are many platforms out there that allow for someone to have a virtual presence, choosing which one will best fit for the type of event is one of the most important things that a host should do. Some things to look for when choosing the best platform for your virtual event are:
- How easy is it for someone to join
- What kind of content will be presented – is it a presentation, a lecture, a workshop, etc.
- Who will be attending the event
- What type of event – is it a casual get-together for employees, is it a business deal, will there be etc.
A platform that can be used for virtual events is Orbits. This platform includes the opportunity to visit individual booths. This would be great for networking events, workshops, or fairs.
Some of the most commonly used platforms, for smaller events, are Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Zoom has features such as raising hands and sending reactions which is a great feature for events that include audience engagement. Microsoft Teams allows for break-out rooms which can provide individual engagement opportunities.
Setting the Time
As virtual events allow anybody around the world to join, a key aspect to consider when hosting one is the time it is held. There are various time zones in the world and depending on who the audience is, or who you want to reach, finding a central time that fits most, if not all, of the attendee’s schedule.
Meeting Planner – Find best time across Time Zones is a cool tool that you can use to find the best time to hold an event based on the different time zones around the world.
When having a virtual event, you may want to know who is attending. You can collect information by creating a registration form. Knowing who attends your event will give you insight into who is interested in what you are offering. It will also give you opportunities to reach out to them again.
The most important information to collect in a registration form is their email. This is because you will have that as a way to send them a reminder about the event, send any materials, and use it for remarketing.
One way to keep your audience interested in your event is to get them engaged. This can be done in a variety of ways such as by asking them questions, having them submit responses, or encouraging discussion between each other.
A factor that plays into how a virtual event happens is marketing. The marketing for the event depends on what your objective for the event is and who you want to attend. These will lead you to choose the best platforms to advertise and promote your event. For example, if you plan to have a workshop on how to become an influencer, you will want to advertise on the social media platforms where most influencers are, such as Snapchat and Instagram.
Another thing to consider is the timeframe in how long you promote before the event. A good rule of thumb is to promote 14 to 16 weeks before the virtual event. This allows for those interested to purchase any tickets needed, clear their schedule, and know when to be ready.
How to Advertise for an Event
It is a best practice to use social media to promote your event as well as your own business’s website. A method that can be used is by updating your website, creating a landing page, or promotional campaign. You are in luck because Techna Digital can help you promote your event by doing all of those things, and more.