In 2020 and 2021, our events went online. The coronavirus kicked off many new trends and one of them was a huge uptick in online events. With people grounded, traditional onsite events migrated to the cloud and what we found was that when organizing these activities, some things work and some simply don’t. Fast forward to 2022: 40% of events are online now, and webinars are an essential tool for nearly all companies in the U.S.
There are many types of virtual events, but all have one thing in common: They require some consistent best practices to pull off a great show. Here are eight best practices for virtual events
8 Virtual Event Best Practices to Emulate
No matter the type of virtual event you’re hosting, we’ve learned there are dos and don’ts for making these online activities successful. Here are 8 of the most important must dos for your next virtual event.
1. Select the right type of event to fit your goals.
If you’re wondering about the right type of virtual event to host, work backward from your goal. There are:
· Virtual Summits or conferences if your goal is education.
· Online trade shows and exhibitions if your goal is to sell.
· Virtual performance events if you want to entertain.
· Online product launches if you want to create marketing buzz.
· Virtual job fairs if you want to recruit.
Before you pick the event, though, have a clear set of goals that you want to achieve. That’s best practice number one.
2. Pick the right online video conferencing vendor.
While there are many major recognized brands these days for video conferencing, the reality is that you have many choices of third-party solutions for your next virtual event. Make sure the company you partner with can support all of your technical requirements to create a seamless online event. Screen your vendor for:
· Track records of success in the type of online event you want to create.
· Strong security architectures to protect your data.
· White labeling that allows you to fully brand the event as your own.
· Engagement tools like chat and polling to keep things interesting.
· Any third-party plugins or downloadable software that can create a better user experience.
· Customer support before, during, and after your event.
Once you’ve selected the type of virtual event you want to put on, then you can screen video conferencing providers to find the best fit.
3. Give yourself enough time to pull off your event.
One of the biggest mistakes we see in planning virtual events is that they’re rushed. This happened a lot during the pandemic, as we scrambled to move our onsite events online. Today, your attendees will have less tolerance for technical or planning glitches, so give yourself the time you need to pull things off. We recommend a minimum of eight weeks to pull off a virtual event of any size or scope—perhaps more.
4. Create an immersive, branded event.
From marketing, to registration, to the event itself, every interaction with your audience should be pre-planned and worked to your advantage. It’s the small touches that are often missed. For example, if you have breakout sessions, what do you do with attendees while they’re waiting for the show to start? How do you follow-up with attendees after the show is over? A virtual event best practice is to have a consistent thematic approach at every touchpoint with your audience. This, of course, is why it takes so long to plan these events!
5. Use social media more.
By “use social media,” we mean the social media that fits the demographic you’re trying to attract. Make use of any of the platforms to build excitement around the event, but don’t waste your time on the social channels that really don’t matter to your audience. Leverage the right tools to drive registrations to your event as a key virtual event best practice that will give you direct ROI.
6. Use engagement tools during your event.
Any type of virtual event can benefit from the engagement tools that are built into most video conferencing platforms these days. You can facilitate group breakouts or network with chats. You can poll your audience live during the event to engage them and then use the results to reinforce a point or drive home an idea. If your virtual event has online exhibitors, you can use all of these tools to drive traffic to these partners, which will make them very pleased with their ROI.
7. Use guest speakers to break up your event.
Depending on the length of your event, you may want to make use of other speakers to help keep the audience engaged. The benefit of virtual events is that you can invite speakers from any part of the world without accruing travel costs. This can stretch your budget to cover speaker fees and possibly increase the quality of your show.
8. Create or make available high-quality content to enhance the event.
You can add real value to your online event by adding all kinds of content. First, you can make the event on-demand after the live show is over if you record the live event. This can extend the reach of your event to a whole new audience. If you’re charging to view the event, offering an on-demand link to the event after the event has taken place, can bring in residual revenue. You can break up the event into micro videos as well and use them on social media to drive traffic for your next virtual event. You can invite speakers to publish papers or case studies to share with attendees. If you’re putting on an online trade show, you can even do a live feed from the virtual show floor. The sky is the limit on using content, but an important virtual event best practice is to make it valuable content for your audience.
Your top virtual event best practice is to leverage the technology, service, and experiences of the MegaMeeting team. We’ve handled every type of virtual event you can imagine and we have an online platform with a white label option that is cost-effective and secure. Talk with the team at MegaMeeting to find out how we can help your next online event be a big hit with your audience.
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