While virtual events have been increasing in popularity in the past five years, the Covid-19 pandemic has made this type of event mandatory. Social distancing guidelines as well as travel regulations have made large gatherings almost impossible; however, organisations worldwide have adapted to new rules and have created virtual events.
What Is A Virtual Event?
A virtual event is any organised meet-up which takes place online as opposed to in a physical location. These types of events can range from small question-and-answer sessions to large-scale conferences with thousands of people attending them.
Almost any event can be hosted virtually. Examples of virtual events include:
- Recruitment and careers fairs,
- Product launches,
- Trade shows (from all sectors), as well as
- Open days.
There are no restrictions on the variety of events which you could host. So, when you first think of hosting a virtual event, think about what a ‘physical’ event would look like. And then translate that vision into the virtual world.
How To Create A Virtual Event
The first step in creating a successful online event is choosing the platform you want to use. While many organisations opt for Zoom (or other videoconferencing platforms), social media is also an option.
Almost all of the leading social media platforms have livestreaming options:
- Facebook Live,
- LinkedIn Live,
- Instagram Live,
- YouTube Livestream,
- Twitter Live.
Instagram allows users to go live with another person, and Facebook launched a live shopping feature recently. For events with just one speaker, any of these options can work. For Q&As, Instagram might be the best option.
When you choose the social media platform, it’s also important to consider who will attend the event. Does your target audience use that platform regularly? If not, then it might not be the best fit.
Keep The Length Of Your Sessions Short
A 60-minute keynote presentation, or breakout session at a face-to-face event, is pretty standard and doesn’t typically feel like a slog. However, that’s partially as attendees have other stimuli and the ability to go through presentations in a three-dimensional atmosphere. It is FAR more difficult to hold the audience’s attention in a virtual event as compared to an in-person conference. Consider cutting the time slots you would use for a physical event by 15 or 30 minutes.
Use A Moderator
In a face-to-face event, the moderator helps to contextualise the information, which is presented throughout the conference,. In addition, he or she also helps to keep energy up and deliver important housekeeping notes. Many organizations moving to virtual events believe that since the programming is now delivered over the Internet, that this emcee role is no longer necessary.
The opposite is true.
Having a consistent face and voice who “stitches together” the virtual sessions for participants adds much-needed familiarity and assists with alleviating that isolated feeling which online events can sometimes produce for attendees.
Don’t Forget To Budget
Because it’s a virtual event now does not mean that you can throw out your budget. Yes, you’ll be able to save on costs such as the printing, in-person tech support, venue reservation as well as signage but don’t scratch out digital marketing entirely. Virtual events do have a lower overhead as opposed to in-person ones but the more activity and attendance you have, the more you’ll need to budget for, especially for the supporting technology.
So many companies are now choosing to take their businesses online. This means that they’re going to need the services of a digital marketer.
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