The last two years have witnessed a tremendous transformation from in-person events to virtual events. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it almost impossible to host large in-person events.
Thanks to several state of the art video streaming services, it is now possible to host live events without the limitation of any geographical constraints.
This article gives you 12 tips that will enable you to host an entertaining, engaging and impactful virtual event.
1. Set clear goals from the beginning
Before planning your virtual event, make sure that you have clearly defined all your goals beforehand and know why you want to throw an event.
You need to communicate your goals with the entire team handling the event to clearly understand the objectives.
2. Understand your audience
This is one of the first and foremost steps in planning a virtual event. But, first, you need to have a thorough understanding of the needs of your audience.
Before planning a virtual event, ask yourself the following questions:
- Will the audiences be interested in joining the virtual event?
- Are they skillful in using technology?
- What areas in your industry are they interested in?
- What offers do they respond to quite quickly?
- What are their interests and would they prefer an interactive discussion?
You can make use of online forms or social media to grab answers from your audience.
3. Make it relevant
These days, there are so many virtual events happening worldwide, and you need to make sure that your event has all the essential features to grab your audience’s attention.
To host a virtual event, you must meticulously plan each detail of the event. Whether you plan to host a large event with thousands of attendees or a small scale event, ensure that the content and the stages within are relevant.
4. Choose a virtual event platform
One of the critical steps to host a successful event is to use the right platform. You need to thoroughly research before choosing the right platform (like Zoom, Google Meet, etc.) to ensure that it has all the features you wanted.
Choosing a platform that offers real-time metrics and analytics allows the attendees to have a conversation.
Ask yourself the questions:
- Does the platform have an exciting feature?
- Is there any option to integrate social media into the platform
- Is there an option to broadcast the content over multiple platforms
- Does the platform allow two-way communication?
Read our article on “15 top virtual event platforms for 2021”
Planning to host and record your virtual event on Google Meet?
Read our article on “How to record a Google Meet?”
5. Choose the correct date and time
While choosing the date and time of your event, you need to thoroughly research to ensure that it is not clashing with a national holiday or your competitors’ event.
This will help to make sure that the attendance of your event is not adversely affected.
If you plan to host your event across multiple time zones, choose a suitable time zone for the maximum number of audiences.
Additionally, you could also put an on-demand option available for those attendees who have missed the live event.
6. Develop agendas for speakers and timeframe
Nobody wants their attendees to be waiting for a long time. Therefore, provide a clear plan to your speaker and their timeframe marked beforehand so that the participants can plan well ahead.
7. Promote the event
One of the critical factors that determine the success of an event is marketing. If your potential audience is not aware of an upcoming event, the attendance won’t be satisfactory.
Some of the ways by which you could promote your virtual event include:
- Promote the event on social media pages and websites.
- Use SEO friendly keywords for optimization.
- Run ads to target the right set of attendees.
- Market with the help of the correct set of influencers.
- Use a countdown timer on Instagram and Facebook stories.
8. Encourage audience interaction
Your online event should provide ample opportunities for engagement and interaction. For example, you can encourage your viewers to ask their questions through the live chat functionality.
A question-answer session after the event can also help to boost the interaction and make your event memorable.
Some of the exciting ways by which you could engage your audience include:
- Online surveys
- Live polls
9. Prepare to troubleshoot
Technical difficulties can creep in at any point in time. That is why you need to troubleshoot ahead of time. For example, you might want to consider using one more platform if your current platform stopped working.
Ensure that all your speakers have an excellent wifi connection and all their other apps are closed during the event to avoid any software hang.
10. Include moderators
In case things go out of control, make sure that you have enough moderators to keep a grip on the situation. Remember that even virtual events could go out of hand as people are not always polite online.
11. Create a microsite
Creating a microsite can help in promotions before and after the event. Your audience can go there and receive all the information needed regarding the event.
This includes speaker bios, chat boxes, widgets, sponsor logos etc. Even after the event, people can access the microsite’s content if they have missed any information.
12. Send a post-event to follow up
Once the event is completed, make sure that you communicate with your participants and inform them how to access the recordings.
This will motivate them to join next time in case they have missed it.
Once the virtual event is over, take some time to connect with your team members. This will help you and your team members to handle the next virtual event with ease.
The article is a part of our comprehensive series on “ What are virtual events and how to conduct one?”