Virtual events are very similar to in-person events except for the fact that they are held online. To host a virtual event, one will need a platform to hold it on. These platforms are often referred to as virtual event platforms or online event platforms. The technology provided by the platforms allow businesses and attendees to share information, connect with others, training sessions, hold webinars and so on.
A majority of these virtual event platforms are equipped with interactive technology, as a result, virtual events allow you to interact and engage with your audience during live sessions. There are lots of big brands and companies that are making the use of online events to keep their audience engaged.
Although the experience of an in-person event is unique, most online events can still give a similar or maybe even better experience. Looking at how the present crisis has restrained us from physically interacting, we can say that virtual events are the better and safer option.
How and what can you use a virtual events platform for?
Online events are particularly advantageous to companies and businesses. Not only do they have the ability to reach a global audience but are also incredibly cost-effective for both the organiser and the attendees.
Hosting online events can be used to boost your company’s social media and marketing strategy. They are a good way to improve the reach and discoverability of your brand. By exposing your company to more people it is likely that your customer base will grow.
Apart from this online events can also be held in collaboration with in-person events. These are called hybrid events. There are a few virtual event platforms that provide support for both online and hybrid events.
Businesses and companies can use virtual events platforms to hold the following types of events –
Online training/ courses
One of the main reasons online platforms are used for is training and workshops. In these sessions, attendees learn skills or complete some sort of course or certification. The teacher or trainer can interact directly with the attendees, solve queries, share content and so on. The trainees can also do tests and exercises online. Students/attendees’ progress can be tracked with the help of insight tools.
Another widely popular virtual event, a webinar is a virtual seminar where hosts usually present a lecture or demonstration of the product and services offered by them. Webinars can be hosted for both large and small audiences. Many virtual events platforms like Zoom, Nunify, WebinarJam, ON24 etc have features that allow screen sharing, polling, recording live events, social media integration, and so on to ensure your audience have a wholesome online webinar experience.
Some unique features offered by webinar platforms include – high definition video streaming, branding and sponsorship integrating features, single URL for Multi-track streams, speakers, attendees, sponsors, exhibitors and hosts, live chat and flexibly content delivery that support dynamic content.
Perfect for small groups of participants, you can have multiple speakers, host breakout sessions, conduct surveys, hold panel discussions and so on. You can run your summit completely online or even choose to run it as a hybrid event. This will maximize your event ROI as it extends the reach of your physical event.
Communication is very easy in these events due to the limited number of people. Speakers and attendees can have two-way communication in real-time.
Virtual Expos/Trade shows
This can be particularly beneficial for large companies wishing to host a product launch. Using virtual event platforms can ease the process and planning required to host a product launch.
Another advantage of using virtual events is the lack of geographical limitations. By using a virtual event platform to launch a product, companies can receive live feedback from customers and can also network with industry partners from across the world. Organisers can showcase and manage their sponsors with the opportunity to monetise screen space.
Virtual event platforms can also be used to host networking events. Thanks to video conferencing technology, organisers can set video conferences with moderation to facilitate both private and group networking events. Companies can also host speed networking events where participants talk for a short amount of time, say 2 minutes with a fellow attendee and then move to the next person. During this time, the company can present its products/services and other essential information.
How can you plan an effective virtual event?
Almost every kind of event – panel discussions, conferences, keynote speeches etc can be delivered online. Virtual events have the advantage of no geographical limitation meaning attendees don’t have to travel and also don’t have to worry about incurring any travelling expenses. For organisers, they can reach audiences far and wide.
Virtual event platforms have built-in analytical and engagement tools that make the task of holding an online event very simple. Instead of aiming to replicate an in-person event, organisers can make use of the many unique features provided by virtual event platforms to their advantage.
virtual event platforms are made for engagement so make sure you engage the audience. With engagement features available in abundance, ensure you keep your audience active and interested.
You can attract more attendees to your event by using built-in landing pages, email reminders, marketing automation and much more. You can also inject sponsored ads into live sessions to further increase ROI. The audience of your sponsors can also be leveraged to further increase the reach of your event.
Choose a virtual event platform that is easy to use. Speakers shouldn’t be spending time looking for features and attendees shouldn’t be wasting their time figuring out how to join an event. Single URL for multiple sessions allows attendees to be on-time for their events.
Conversation with your attendees doesn’t start only when the event is happening, in fact, it starts before the event and should continue even after the event. Make content accessible so that attendees can rewatch events whenever they please. This gives them a reference point to gather information.
Focus on keeping the audience engaged and stick to crisp yet dynamic content. Try to stay on the topic and remember to include breaks for the best possible virtual event experience.