Tips for Hosting a Successful Virtual Event
In the midst of the pandemic, it seems unlikely large events or gatherings will be happening anytime soon. Many organizations and businesses are either forced to cancel their events altogether, or take it virtual. Social media platforms and online applications have a medium to host events ranging from conferences, interactive, entertainment, online gigs, talks, and a lot more. A year or two back we were still talking about the future and potential of events taking place online, but it seems the current state of the world sped up that process.
Hosting virtual events can seem straightforward, but making them engaging, entertaining and overall successful isn’t so simple. To create an impactful and successful online event takes a few key strategies and tactics, we’re going to discuss six.
1. Timing is Important
This goes further than just the length of the event, but also the date and time of day of the event. Before settling on a date, make sure it isn’t competing with any major holiday or other event. If it’s an international event, you should also consider time zones.
You should also think carefully about the time of day you choose to start your event. It’s common for people to choose lunch time, thinking they’ll catch people on break or in between tasks. While in the office this is usually the case, times are different. With people working from home they may need to tend to their kids during lunch or taking a break from their work space themselves. Because of the flexibility, many people will tune into webinars and workshops while doing menial work tasks that don’t take much focus.
Lastly, think about the actual length of your event. It really depends on context and audience. But as a general rule of thumb, an hour is a good time to aim for. You risk losing peoples’ attention going any longer and risk trying to cram too much information into anything less.
2. Choose the Right Platform
When it comes to software to use to host your event, you’re not scarce for choices. You should think about your event type, as well as your audience demographic. Not every platform is apt for everyone. What Millennials prefer, Gen X may not. Gen X likes platforms that are quick and easy to access, while mature audiences usually prefer something with a login process and more security. Consider how easy it is for viewers to engage, comment or ask questions on the platform you use as well.
It’s also important to think about where your audience will be viewing from. Not all platforms play well on mobile, but some are more suitable for informal gatherings rather than corporate events. So, depending on your type of event, you may want to look into social media platforms, like Instagram or Tik Tok.
3. Promotion is Key
To reach a real audience and let them know your event is happening, putting a real budget behind promotion is essential. There’s no way for people to know until you use online platforms to talk about what you’re organizing. There are many other companies organizing similar events. Use advertising to tell people what makes you stand out from the competition. Here are some tips to get started:
- Promote the top talent you have speaking/performing at your event.
- Utilize keywords to optimize SEO.
- Market through influencers, popular social channels and the event page itself.
- Create eye-catching designs and creatives.
- Put out a mailer blast.
Leading up to the event, don’t forget to remind people it’s happening. Given the popularity of online events right now, it’s easy for people to forget they’ve signed up for it. Send out email reminders the day before and of the event that includes location, time and login information, as well as posting on your social channels as well.
4. Provide Incentives
A great way to stand out among the mass of virtual events taking place right now is by providing some sort of incentive for attendees. Consider having a draw or the best answers/questions win some sort of merchandise, anyway to increase value to customers.
5. Engage with Attendees
Presenting interesting content is only half of virtual events. To be successful attendees need to feel involved and be engaged, otherwise they’ll forget it even happened. Involve viewers in the form of polls, games, surveys, Q&A’s, etc. Let them ask live questions during the webinar and let them be seen by others. You can also create a chat for attendees to interact with each other. Some events even go as far as splitting viewers off into their own groups to be able to see and talk with one another. It’s really all about creating an effective and intimate virtual connection.
6. Be Prepared for Technical Issues
Technical problems are the bane of every virtual event, and just working with technology in general. They’re only more likely to occur at the current time with unprecedented demands on the broadband network. Glitches can always happen, so just be prepared. Have another team member on standby in case the speaker’s Wifi or computer falters and they’re no longer able to present.
Also, you can’t assume attendees are experienced in using video conferencing technology. So, if there’s a “mute all” option, you should make sure that’s activated as people join. This can help avoid confusion, distraction or people talking over the presenter. Also be sure to have your computer on “Do Not Disturb” mode if you’re doing a screen share, to ensure no private notifications pop up during the event.
Virtual events actually have many benefits. They give more people the chance to attend, as there’s no traveling fees, easier to organize and are great for repurposed content. With the way the world and digital landscape is moving, they’re only going to get more popular. Now is the best time to start to learn how to navigate different platforms and get comfortable!
More from Onimod Global
Onimod Global releases the latest digital marketing news and essential marketing tips every Tuesday and Thursday! To catch up on the top digital marketing news and trends, click here. To find out more about who we are and what we do, click here.