Top tips for winning at virtual and hybrid events
The past 18 months has seen a huge change in virtual event technology.
This is still continuing to develop, grow and change every single day.
Virtual events are going from strength to strength with new platforms, new ways to interact with your audience and new enhancements and they are only going to get better with VR and the development of the Metaverse becoming accessible to everyone.
Yet, despite the return of live events this year many are still looking to create virtual and particularly hybrid events – especially those with global teams.
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. Done incorrectly virtual and hybrid events can be expensive and uninspiring.
There are lots of ways you can combat this to make your virtual events more engaging, cost effective 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?
For most event organisers, driving attendance is the number one concern but how do you ensure the right message is delivered at the right time and to the right person? Your audience needs to be at the forefront of your approach, its important to think about:
- How do you want the audience to think and feel?
- What engagement methods will be most effective?
- What do you as the event organiser want to achieve from the event?
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.
Consider animating content and keeping movement on the screen to stimulate your audiences mind and keeps them focused during the event.
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 and engagement
Firstly its important to think about your ROI from the event itself, how will you measure its success? A successful event will connect and engage your target audience, but how do you encourage interaction?
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)
As 2021 comes to a close and 2022 edges nearer and nearer, many of you will be preparing to start work on events for the new financial year. Whether you're looking to kick start the your 2022 sales targets, engage with clients or just as a means to drive employee engagement - events and any possible restrictions will be on your mind.
Whatever your reason for an event, you will no doubt be looking for some form of digital/virtual event elements to help increase your event's accessibility, whilst also reducing its carbon footprint.
Get in touch!
Knowing where to start with virtual or hybrid events can be quite daunting, but don't worry we've got you covered. If you would like further help navigating this please get in touch today.