Virtual events are up 1000% this year, Forbes reports. However, even before global circumstances made this a necessity, virtual events were rapidly increasing in popularity due to their cheapness to host and ease for people to attend. If you’re planning a virtual event for your business, there are a number of important steps to take in order to produce and execute it successfully.
Planning your virtual event
Use your virtual event to fulfill a specific goal you have for your business. For example, are you trying to grow your audience? Build awareness around a new product or service? Or maybe you want to generate high-quality leads or even make some instant sales. You’ll also need to determine whether you want content that focuses on industry thought leadership or your business’s products or services. You can then decide on the speakers. For instance, your employees will have valuable expertise to offer your audience, while you can find industry experts by contacting businesses in your industry; industry experts can provide cutting-edge insights while introducing your business to an entirely new audience.
Choosing the right tools
There are plenty of basic social networking tools like YouTube Live, Facebook Live, and Instagram Live that allow you to host a virtual event free of charge. These tools are easy for all participants to use, and allow for easy connection and engagement. However, if you want more flexibility and functionality, it’s worth upgrading to a dedicated virtual events platform. Some virtual events platforms come with unique features that help you make the most of your online event. For example, an activity feed allows you to create a community where participants can post comments, videos or photos, collaborate, and have discussions in feed threads. This can allow you to hold live Q&As with the audience during your event. High-quality video technology is also a must. In particular, instant video replay lets you publish an on-demand recording of the event, either as soon as it finishes or at a later time of your choosing.
Prepare for technical difficulties
If possible, do a practice dry-run the day before your online event to ensure that all the video conferencing software is running smoothly. If your event involves extra tech, several practice sessions may be necessary to ensure there are no problems. Sometimes, however, technological hiccups are inevitable — whether they’re on your end or one of your participants. So, have staff members on hand to help participants with any technical problems they’re experiencing. It’s also beneficial to create backups of your visuals and slides, just in case something goes wrong. In fact, you should implement thorough backup plans for everyone on your team to make sure you’re fully prepared and that risk is mitigated wherever possible.
Planning an online event certainly takes plenty of effort, but it’s an enjoyable and effective way of building momentum for your business. Following these simple tips can help ensure your virtual event is a big success for everyone involved.