After the coronavirus outbreak last year, the world had to shift to the virtual options immediately. From education to medical consultation, everything is being managed virtually to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
Offices around the globe are now managing work through remote teams who are working from home. This change of normal work procedures has led to many changes in reporting and carrying out meetings, etc.
Managing remote teams is pretty challenging for the administration, and new work-from-home rules are being introduced to manage the virtual workplace more effectively.
Similarly, conducting and organizing virtual events is also becoming a common practice. Although virtual events are not uncommon anymore, hosting them successfully can become a tiring and stressful job.
If you are struggling with managing a virtual event, here are 16 important tips that can help you in the process:
1. Plan Your Virtual Events
It’s a very common misconception that a virtual event doesn’t require as much planning as a traditional conference. Yes, you no longer have to arrange a venue or look into commute issues, but the responsibilities are still equal for a virtual event, if not more.
You have to coordinate timelines, plan the sequence, recruit speakers, contact guests, market the conference, and contact the press and other aspects which are required for a virtual event.
2. Accommodate Time Zones
Be careful of the time zone difference if your target audience is spread across the globe. If you are setting the time according to your timeline, make sure the time in other countries for participants isn’t too odd.
For example, 6 am in New York is 10 pm in Tokyo, so you must take that factor into account while planning a virtual event. You can also plan different conferences for different time zones or combine them with pre-recorded material.
3. Focus On Experience
Since the event isn’t face-to-face, the nature of the event is going to be different. You should think of an interesting experience for the attendees, so they feel involved and are willing to attend the conference. It is not easy to keep your audience involved in a virtual event. However, you can still add innovative activities to keep the audience hooked.
4. Keep Your Virtual Event Focused
You must keep in mind the goals of your event, no matter it is virtual or physical, and the objectives of the event have to be fulfilled. Keep in mind the following questions:
- Who is the audience of your virtual event?
- What are the possible hurdles attendees might face while participating or joining the event?
- What are the participant’s goals, and how are we fulfilling them?
5. Participant Engagement
One of the biggest challenges of virtual events is to keep participants engaged as the attention span online is shorter as compared to face-to-face. The audience’s response and participation largely depend on your execution and planning on how to keep them hooked and not get distracted.
Make sure that your event is dragged and has to the point information which would be useful and interesting for the attendees. You can improve that through the following ways:
- Add a quiz or a chatbox for live discussions in the event
- Encourage audience responsiveness through visuals
- Make an interesting Q&A session for the audience
6. Test All Equipment Beforehand
While doing your events online, you must ensure that all the equipment, platforms, internet connection, etc., are checked from before. If you are planning to use a software, make sure you download it and run a test event. You don’t want to miss your event due to technical irresponsibility.
7. Promote the Event
You must work on marketing your virtual event so more people can join and participate. Effective and efficient marketing is essential for your virtual event to be successful. For instance, if you are hosting a virtual launch for your new carpet cleaning outlet, you must develop a marketing strategy to promote it online.
You could use off-page SEO techniques such as keyword optimization to promote the event. For example, you could use the carpet cleaning near me keyword to increase traffic and visibility of your event. You can also use social media ads, event pages, and other digital mediums to encourage people to join.
While planning for a virtual event, do your research about the platform that suits you the most. There are several platforms available like Google Hangouts, Skype, Facebook Live, Zoom, etc.
However, you must see the one that is most suitable to your audience and is easily accessible from every location. For example, make sure you look into the factors like the app you are using isn’t restricted in certain geographical locations and is available for both android and iOS users, etc.
9. Work On Format
The success of your virtual event largely depends on how well-formatted your event is. There are multiple options for event planners while organizing a virtual event, including webinars, video conferencing, virtual tours, etc. You must choose a format that is most appropriate for your attendees and fulfill your goals.
10. Don’t Bore the Audience
The attention span of your audience online is naturally smaller; a notification on their phone is enough to get them distracted. This is why you have to plan your event in a way that doesn’t bore the audience. Make sure you are asking questions and making your audience talk, ask for their opinion, and use high-quality video and audio so the audience remains engaged.
11. Plan Your Content
What is the event going to be like? Who comes first? What is the time assigned to each judge? You have to be very well-planned for your virtual event as the audience is solely listening to you rather than conventional meetings where people can even chat with each other during breaks.
12. Take Feedback
Ask your audience for feedback once you are done with the event so you know how you can improve the whole experience. Ask them questions like:
- Are you happy with the conference you attended?
- Would you like to see similar events in the future?
- Would you recommend it to your friends?
- Any suggestions regarding the execution of the event?
13. Make It a Valuable Experience
The audience on the other side of the screen is sitting there to gain something from the virtual event; make sure you give them a valuable experience that they can cherish. You must focus on the audience’s satisfaction and what they are taking home with them after the webinar.
14. Filling the Gaps
You can fill multiple gaps through your virtual events, which are present in conventional face-to-face meetings. For example, sometimes, some participants shy away to ask questions in a hall full of people. However, it is a virtual event people feel much more confident to ask questions without feeling judged.
15. Follow up
Follow up with the attendees and ask them if they had any issues or suggestions to improve the experience. Sometimes people are unable to attend the whole seminars and ask for recordings to catch up on the missed parts. It is essential that you make a follow-up with the participants and can be done via email.
16. Event Security
Since it is on the internet, there is a potential security threat of your event to be hacked or spammed. Make sure you monitor who is entering the event and verify their email address before letting them in the meeting.