The Covid-19 pandemic has caused significant changes in the way people use the Internet. Due to restrictions, we started spending more time online. This accelerated the development of the “new normality” era when companies adapted their services to online formats. Many people get used to online grocery shopping and buying clothes on the web, practicing online lessons, studying, and working remotely. The attitude to the Internet in the world has evolved. Conferences, exhibitions, tours, and other events have also moved to a virtual format.
Online conferences hardly compensate for all the charms of offline events, but their popularity is growing. In addition, most likely, the online format will remain with us after the pandemic. Digital product releases and social media opportunities make the process exciting and hassle-free.
Conducting online conferences or other events, regardless of the duration and number of participants, is a scrupulous process requiring careful planning. Getting the desired result depends on how well the event is organized. An established strategy is necessary if you are working on a virtual conference. Below we have listed the key benefits of a virtual conference and five tips for conducting a successful event.
Of course, virtual conferences differ in their features and advantages compared to traditional forms of interaction. As for the benefits, they are as follows:
As mentioned above, the remote format is available to anyone who has access to the Internet. However, it is not enough to download the program for participation in the conference and prepare your speech.
At first glance, it seems that all the expenses are gone. You no longer need to rent a platform, wine and dine the participants, pay for air tickets, or make banners. Theoretically, it is possible to do without a budget, which will be suitable for some events. But if we are talking about a conference, and we want to organize it qualitatively, the situation immediately changes. While virtual events can reduce your expenses significantly, it does not mean hosting your conference online will remove all costs.
Supporting technology is one of those essential aspects of a virtual event you should remember about. Online conference platforms are teamwork tools that facilitate and increase group work efficiency. Easy screen sharing, tools for presenting content during a conference, options for communication and interaction, protection and security, and other stuff determine the type of your perfect management platform. Of course, when it comes to a small event, you can do only with standard services: Zoom, YouTube, Telegram. But in the case of large conferences, this becomes insufficient.
If you want to get not a “kitchen webinar” but a quality broadcast with a decent picture and sound, different plans, and good editing, then in addition to studios, you will need hardware and technical rooms with the necessary equipment.
Among other items, you will need your budget for social media promotion, live captioning, hosting videos, and documents after the conference are over. Depending on your specific event, you should decide on the priority items you will spend the budget on.
A perfect recipe for a successful virtual event is a mix of a live stream and a pre-recorded video. A virtual event allows the participants to watch the recording later – it is one of its benefits. There is not much sense in attending such an event in this case. Adding live streams or discussion chats to the event makes it more exciting for your live attendees. The more the viewers participate in the online process, the more involved they are.
A pre-recorded video is a great helper for your speaker when any technical issues occur. At the end of the sessions, speakers can join a live video or the chatroom to answer the participants’ questions.
Note that such platforms as Facebook Live, Instagram Live, or similar are more interactive for your event attendees. Do not hesitate to mix a live stream and a pre-recorded video to make your event more emotional and exciting.
One of the main organizers’ illusions is to expect the speakers will do everything themselves, and you will only have to connect them to the conference and enjoy the process. But unfortunately, that is not the case.
Ensure covering all the speech points: coordinate topics and theses, make sure that there is a minimum of advertising in the speeches and they fit into the timing, ensure that the presentations correspond to the desired format and technical requirements, coordinate follow-up. It is necessary to discuss the rules of participation in the Q&A sessions. This helps the speakers know what to prepare for.
Common tips to prepare your speakers for online events:
It is worth admitting that bloggers and influencers have a significant advantage online. They have long learned how to communicate with their audience. The participation of a blogger as a guest will increase the reach and engagement of viewers.
Whether it is a small local online event or a global one, setting the right expectation for the participants is a must. It is not enough to make a good conference — it is also necessary for the target audience to learn about it and the reasons to attend it. Therefore, ensure it is clear for the attendees what the event is and why it is worth visiting.
Maximize audience reach through social media. For example, publish information about the event in your profile, arrange a live stream on radio or TV. Determine which topics will be covered at the conference and specify the speakers who will participate. Also, it is essential to notify your attendees of the event schedule, if it will be a live stream or pre-recorded video, if comments will be available.
According to the research, 80% of people participate in virtual events for educational purposes. This means that networking is still the most important part of conferences, even if they have gone online. Industry experts mention several options for organizing networking at online events — chats in online broadcast services, chats in messengers, groups in social media, and official mobile applications of events. Encourage the participants to fill out their profiles to connect easily with their colleagues.
Social platforms provide convenient ways to promote physical goods and services and events of both entertainment and educational nature. In some cases, you can limit yourself to only one of these channels, for example, if the potential audience actively uses the social network.
Regardless of how the promotion will take place, it is necessary to create a separate Event page where up-to-date information about the upcoming event will be posted. The promotion may include event blogging, announcing the event in public groups, drawing free tickets, and more.
In promoting an event on a social network, post-marketing means the final work with your audience. Words of gratitude, an offer to express an opinion, and sharing impressions about the past event are essential elements of interaction with the audience. It is about cementing its core and allowing you to save money in the future on promotions of future events.
Tracking your ROI is relatively easy when it comes to virtual events. You should consider social listening, tag analytics reports, and digital advertising analytics to understand if your campaign works.
The online format has significantly enriched the event market and will remain in it long. Like everything related to digitalization, this direction is developing with great strides and will soon take its place in the niche of efficient business tools.
Proper planning and preparation are a must to host a successful virtual event. Ensure speakers, attendees, and moderators know how to participate and what to expect. Make it straightforward for your audience why your specific virtual event is the one to join.
If you are still looking for inspiration for an online event, use social listening to learn what people are talking about. Vista Social’s listening tools help businesses monitor the social conversation to extract actionable insights, identify industry gaps and improve brand health. Sign up for free to unlock publishing, engagement, analytics, and other powerful Vista Social’s features.
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