The past twelve months has seen a huge change in virtual event technology.
This is still continuing to develop, grow and change every single day. Despite the welcome news of the UK’s 2021 plans for reducing social restrictions and that the return of live events is on the horizon, with the majority of the world still in either lockdown or subject to social distancing measures it is no surprise that many are still looking to create virtual and particularly hybrid events – especially those with global teams.
However, zoom fatigued is real. Although there are many plus sides, like the ability to meet with anyone from around the world from the comfort of your own home and networking with people you wouldn’t typically have access to, the downsides are also real. With the pandemic restricting us for over a year now, there is a definite sense of burnout from working remotely and attending only virtual events.
There are lots of ways you can combat this to make your virtual events more engaging and fresh. We’ve pulled together our top tips for winning at virtual events to help you and your colleagues to get the most from them!
The first step to winning at virtual events is planning your strategy. Just because your event is virtual doesn’t mean that you get to skip the approach, in fact, the earlier you plan - the better. Questions to ask are:
- Will the events be pre-recorded, live, or a mix of both?
- How will you promote the event?
- Which speakers would you like to present?
- What content topics would you like to cover?
- Will the event be available on-demand for attendees to view at a later date?
Promotion of any event is key to attracting the best attendee’s and virtual events are no different. To enhance delegate excitement, it’s important to promote the event at different stages and through different channels, not only will marketing this way attract attendees it will also start the all-important event engagement even before the actual event.
Before the event:- Use your social media channels, website and email to countdown to the event and offer sneak peaks of what to expect during the event. For internal events, you may want to evaluate what communication channels you have available internally, such as an intranet, email, Slack/ internal messaging systems.
During the event:- Use social media to highlight clips and tips during the event, a hashtag for the event can be used to promote across networks, track and engage your audience.
After the event:- Create a highlight film of the event’s best bits and share on social or internal channels after the event has finished. Send an event follow-up email to all attendees with links to on-demand content that they can re-watch and share with colleagues, networks and friends. This will also create legacy promotion of the event
3. DESIGN AND SET UP
When planning your online event it’s important to remain consistent when planning your design elements. Your set or graphics will control the look and feel of your physical and digital setup. An online identity that matches the tone and mood of the event can assist in keeping the narrative and theme cohesive whilst making content stand out.
It’s also important to remember your set- custom backdrops and fun props can make a simple setup more inviting.
Top Tip: Remember to get your speakers and presenters to wear solid colours. Patterns can become wildly distorted on screen and become distracting.
4. INTERACTIVITY & ENGAGEMENT
Everyone loves to network and chat with like-minded people at live events, which is hard to replicate online. However, with digital enhancements constantly evolving, many events now look to integrate interactive elements as part of the online experience for attendees.
It’s important to think of your delegates and what interactivity they will be looking for when attending your event, from chat boxes and games with other attendees to just a way to ask presenters questions during a live session.
Surveys, polls, quizzes, and live Q&A sessions are popular ways of getting your attendees to engage with your event content. However, if you are looking to create networking opportunities we find virtual networking roundtables are a popular choice as they allow people to hop in and out, and to chat with others as they would in-between sessions of a live event.
For team building there are a range of possibilities as to what you could create to get people working together and having fun online (For more inspiration see our virtual team building blog)
Following the updates from Number 10 last month and the easing of lockdown, live events look set to return sooner than expected (fingers crossed!). However, due to the uncertainty on event restrictions globally and what that may look like, planning a hybrid event could be the ideal combination for your 2021 event!
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If you would like further help navigating this please get in touch today.