Insight Into Virtual Events Environment 2020
A few months back, from attending events physically, the trends shifted towards ‘Virtual Events’. And now the internet is brimming with this current trend. We all know that the outbreak of Covid-19 has impacted the marketing strategies of businesses drastically.
2020 can also be called the ‘Golden Year Of Live Video’. Social media live streams in 2020 have brought businesses and customers together in real-time. Being dynamic, authentic, and engaging in nature; live streams don’t need special tools to perform it. The best you can do is to keep the show running from any part of the world.
As the shift has declined towards the virtual events, it is very pivotal to leverage this opportunity.
For the newcomers, here’s an insight into the virtual events environment, from Start to Finish.
“VIRTUAL EVENTS”- In a Nutshell
First things first!
The abrupt cancellation of physical events was very harsh on businesses. But with the introduction of virtual events; marketers are at peace. Undoubtedly, Virtual Events are one of the biggest digital trends of 2020. The marketing world scenario is changing. But honestly, nothing could replace the value of physical events.
Webinars, online conferences, yoga classes, and more don’t demand a physical venue. But the efforts in both physical and virtual events are the same. Speaking of privacy, well, it depends on the kind of platform you choose to organize a virtual event.
The best possible outcome of the virtual event strategy is the ‘Trust’, that has developed between both the marketers and the audience. Customers are more likely to remember such companies who have handled this situation with class. And those who have taken advantage of this situation just to sell will eventually end up losing the trust of their customers.
The best thing companies can do right now is to support each other. As marketers, you need to understand the importance of the audience for your business. Respect your audience!
Best Virtual Events Tools For 2020
Virtual event tools and technologies are focused on making events successful. And to organize such events, the marketers require reliable and accessible technology. Proven to be the same; Virtual Events can be organized using a few tools.
Here’s a mini-series of Virtual Event Tools that will help you host events hassle-free.
1. VIRTUAL EVENT WEBSITE
Just like your business website, every virtual event needs to have a ‘website’. A well-crafted website not just creates an ‘audience base’ for your event but also keeps everyone on the same page. It also emphasizes a sense of realness in the digital sphere.
Mentioned below are a few things that your event website must have mandatorily!
- Time and place: The event website must have the date and start time along with the platform (like any social media platform).
- Concept and reason to attend the event: You can pitch your target audience about your event and give them the reason why they should attend the event.
- Appealing images: Make use of images that showcase the goal of the event and what people can expect.
- Feedbacks to foregoing events: If you are organizing a repetitive event, make sure to ask for feedback from attendees.
2. VIRTUAL EVENT LIVE STREAMING TOOLS
- Live Storm: Founded in 2016 in Paris (France), ‘Live Storm’ can be used to share real-time live streams. From meetings, product demos, sales webinars, online lessons, to onboarding sessions, this tool can host large webinars with up to 1000 live attendees.
‘Live Storm’ includes integration with Google Analytics and other engagement tools. This webinar tool is quite easy to use as well as understands the customer’s needs.
- Zoom: This cloud-based video conferencing tool is a crucial part of the current work scenario. Offering two main tools- Zoom Meeting and Zoom Webinar, ‘Zoom’ can easily integrate with Hubspot. Multiple recording options, best Q&A functionalities, automatically registering attendees, and creating event reminders are some of the specialties of this tool.
But this fully interactive tool comes with some restrictions as well. For instance, streaming high-quality media and organizing large-scale events is not possible with Zoom. To be noted, via this view-only platform, attendees cannot see each other. While the host cannot see the attendees at the same time.
3. SOCIAL MEDIA INTEGRATION AND REAL-TIME COMMUNICATION TOOLS
- Taggbox: Social Media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more, have now become an integral part of our everyday lives. Just like everyone, marketers too haven’t left untouched by this. Social media integration tools like ‘Taggbox’ are serving marketers with its highly advanced features. This tool is not just restricted to just one thing. From collection to curation of content from various social media platforms, Taggbox, creates attractively unique social media feeds. These real-time social media feeds can be integrated into your virtual event through live streaming. Taggbox has made it convenient for marketers to perform virtual events without thinking much.
4. VIRTUAL EVENT REGISTRATION TOOLS
Be it offline events or online events, the audience just can’t attend them without registering. It can be quite tricky to organize a large event virtually. Here come the event registration tools that solve the fuzz. These registration tools aim to create a one-stop destination for Registration, Advertising, Ticketing, and more. The event planners get access to these tools so that they could manage the database of the attendees.
- Eventbrite: This seamless event registration software is an easy-to-use technology for any budget. Eventbrite tool boosts sales and helps your business grow. It is suitable for both small and large scale events. Event organizers can invite, register as well as communicate with event attendees via Eventbrite. Also, it’s mobile-friendliness makes it one of the best choices for virtual events registration.
Mainly there are 5 pages on Eventbrite which are as follows;
- Attendees information page
- Registration items page
- Session sign-up page
- Summary of attendees input
- Payment page
Apart from the above-mentioned information, you may also include questions for registrants. These questions can be “How did they get to know about the event”? “What the attendees like about the online sessions”? and more. From the answers to these questions, you can improve your virtual events in the future in terms of planning and marketing strategies.
Other virtual event registration tools are Accelevents and Cvent. These tools make sure that you get maximum audience participation with maximum registration entries.
5. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT TOOLS
- Sli.do: Do you have to host an urgent meeting online? “Sli.do” makes the audience engagement easier as it works in harmony with V.C. tools like Zoom, Skype, etc. By hosting Q&A sessions, this tool makes every attendee a part of the conversation.
Get ready for an interactive polling session with your audience in real-time!
- Poll Everywhere: How about capturing powerful feedback instantly during virtual events? “Poll Everywhere” hosts interactive remote meetings anywhere. It sparks meaningful conversations between presenters and participants.
HOW TO HOST A VIRTUAL EVENT?
Hosting a virtual event is just like hosting an in-person event. Put yourself in the shoes of the attendees before you jump on to the planning process. Virtual events are better than in-person events and even better. Like you wouldn’t let the attendee be on their chair for more than 2-3 hours. The same is the case with virtual events. But the question is how do you host such events?
Well, it can be a daunting task for the freshers to organize an impactful and big size virtual event. You need to ask questions to yourself like;
- Who will be your audience?
- Whether the content will go live or on-demand?
- Will you charge for the registration fee to access the event?
- What will be the social media platform you’ll use for your event and your promotional strategies?
- What will be your backup plan if any kind of network issues happen?
- How will you keep the audience engaged? Etc.
● Pre- Virtual Event Hosting To-Do’s
1. Create a strong game plan
Doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, online or offline. Keep your goals clear. The success of a virtual event relies on how strongly marketers have planned it. For instance, it is very crucial to know your target audience. Also, decide whether it will be a virtual conference, virtual career fair, or any other virtual event. Only then your team will be able to organize and configure their respective events.
Answer the following questions in this step;
- What do you hope to deliver in the event?
- Where do you want to see your content?
- Will there be any access charges or not?
- What is the best time to host the event?
- Will you require an event registration tool?
- How will you promote the event?
- Do you plan to work with an advertiser?
- Will people still have access to the event once it’s over?
2. Choose the right platform
Before you finalize the virtual event provider, you need to ensure that they support your requirements. Prepare a set of questions to ask your virtual event provider.
- The kind of sessions you’re looking for
- Reporting metrics that will be available at the event
- Number and quality of design options
- The engagement tools that they offer
- Third-party plug-ins or any other affiliations
- The size of customer support as per your time zone
3. Select the right time
Before you send “Save the Dates” invitation to the guests, do quick research work. If you are going global, consider time zones. Don’t neglect the power of online resources. For those who couldn’t make it, plan an after-event live content session. Planning multiple virtual events for different time zones will be worthwhile for you.
4. Market Your Virtual Event
Follow the “Promote it and they will come” policy. Leverage various social media platforms like FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Put event countdown stories or create a Facebook page to promote your virtual event. Whether it’s the registration form or social media profiles, give your audience ‘directions’. Don’t forget to use hashtags to drive traffic on your social media handles.
5. Technical Glitches
Technical errors are unpredictable!
Before you host any virtual event, make sure you know about its cons too. Just like physical events hitches, virtual events have ‘glitches’. Before kicking things off, run a rehearsal. Also, remember all your guests or attendees are not TECH SAVVY. So, preparing easy to follow guides or FAQs can be the best idea for them.
In addition to this, the virtual events organizing team must have the backup in terms of visuals or presentations. Just in case a file goes crooked. Wifi networks could also be another bane. You must have another helper ready to jump in when the signal oscillates.
6. Curate Eye-Catchy Content
Content is said to be the “King” of the virtual events marketing strategy. The content of virtual events is consumed by a global audience. Therefore, put it to work and make it audience-friendly.
● Things To Do During Virtual Events
1. Make It Engaging
Engagement for a virtual event is a ‘two-way’ street. Keeping your audience engaged is extremely important. Unlike physical events, audiences are sitting far away. Give them a chance to be a part of the conversation. Organize polls, live quizzes, Q&A, or live tweets for that. You can also increase the engagement via chatbots.
Another way to increase attendee engagement is through ‘Small-Group Breakouts’. For an intimate experience, consider using a video conferencing tool ‘Zoom’. It helps in breaking a group of 500 people into a smaller one. Attendees can interact with each other and build relationships. Last but not the least, never forget to ask for audience feedback at the end of the event.
2. Protocols For Virtual Events
To maintain a professional environment, both the organizer and the attendees need to follow some protocols.
- Things organizer needs to do:
- Provide the audience with the guidelines
- Share relevant resources with the attendees
- Keep the sessions brief (not more than 4 hours)
- Give attendees breaks to stretch
- Things attendees need to follow:
- Mute devices in case of no use or during breakout sessions
- Keep optimistic and positive behavior
- Avoid nasty behavior towards other attendees
- Give genuine feedback for the event
3. Cyber Security
Another major concern of virtual events is ‘Cyber Security’. Some of the safety measures event organizers must consider taking are:
- Use an encrypted website. It has information in the ‘only readable’ form.
- Only collect relevant information from the attendees
- Perform the event via a secure platform
● To-do Things After the Virtual Event
Your task as a virtual event organizer doesn’t end here. To keep the momentum going, you need to do a lot of things post virtual events.
- Reach the audience on social media using #hashtags of your event
- Share meeting outcomes with attendees
- Post-event survey to understand participants experience
- Share meeting outcomes with attendees
- Make webinars public for those who couldn’t make it to the event
- Provide means for continued engagement and networking
Lastly, don’t forget to thank both the speakers and attendees.
While everybody is doing WORK FROM HOME, companies are trying their best to maximize their ROI and audience reach via Virtual Events. Virtual Events have helped the marketers and companies to survive in this pandemic. When the personal interactivity of the entire world is affected, such events are satisfactory. It is the only medium through which companies can showcase their product and services. Virtual Events as a marketing contender is giving tough competition to all the other aspects of marketing strategies.
We hope that the above-mentioned information would be of great help to you!