This guest post was written by the event management experts at Whova.
Events are a great way to connect, learn, and grow from others while building meaningful, professional connections. From the fun handouts and swag bags to the positive energy radiating between you and others in your industry when discussing the area of interest to you both, events can be a game-changer for both you and your employees.
So, why adapt and continue to host events with what’s happening in the world today? It’s simple, really. There are so many benefits to a virtual experience. Some of which were never considered a possibility with an otherwise in-person hosted event.
The thought of creating a virtual event from the ground up can seem overwhelming. During your whole planning process, keep in mind that engagement is key. Engagement before, during, and yes, even after your event!
Keep in mind that to start anything successfully, you have to have an established clear vision with goals in mind. Once you’ve discovered what you hope to accomplish with your virtual event, and have laid out a clear plan to how you wish to achieve those goals, you’re ready to start marketing your event.
There may be some learning and information needed to create effective engagement, strong activity, and excitement around your event. In other words, how will you create the buzz in making sure people know about your upcoming virtual experience? You may want to consider utilizing social media before, during, and after. You will want to set up a great, measurable marketing campaign to gauge audience participation and record attendee signups.
Depending on the type of event you are hosting, practice the live streaming aspect with co-workers or family members and friends. This will rule out any issues, glitches, or technology fails before going live.
As said before, engagement is key! Engagement throughout the virtual event and afterward can tell you a lot about your attendees. This in return, will help with future events you host in the same space. Track your data from the beginning. From the first email submission for learning more information to event signup forms, to any data collected throughout the event.
With a virtually hosted event, you can give attendees a similar, personal experience they would receive from attending an event in-person, assist in their growth with professional connections, and guide those who attend in learning new skills.
Virtual events can offer advantages that were not available before. You can do this without much, if any, overhead cost to you as you have the opportunity to save a significant amount of money while offering more flexibility to both hosts and attendees. To continue the tradition of the swag bag for participants, send those who have successfully filled out the signup form a gift one to two weeks prior to the event.
From there, logistics are simple. Keep in mind that as the host, there is no need to rent out space or set up catering to host a large number of people. And for an event participant, they have flexibility in coming and going from your virtual event while continuing to tend to other priorities. This creates an added bonus. You have the ability to reach a wider range of potential event signups. Do this by expanding your audience to those who wouldn’t normally be able to attend your in-person event due to travel or scheduling conflicts.
Whether you are hosting a live or silent auction, communication will be key. Hosting a virtual auction gives you the ability to open up new channels of revenue by targeting buyers from anyplace. This can be extremely beneficial to participants who would have not been able to attend otherwise.
Raising money for a business, project, or charitable cause? The definition is in the name. Getting a crowd of people to help achieve and attain your goal can be accomplished with the use of virtual technology.
Who says dressing up and attending an event from the comfort of your home can’t be fun? Having a night in with friends or a significant other while attending a nonprofit or gala can be just as interactive and enjoyable as in-person attendance. Offering giveaways throughout the night, encouraging audience engagement, and even playing interactive games can make the night memorable.
Currently, it seems as if a race to contribute to conquering sickness or hike to benefit a friend or family is nowhere close in site. Although, a virtual, active fundraiser is a great replacement. Get everyone out and moving recording their run, hike, or even swim, by utilizing their phones and submitting their data.
We’ve seen how successful this new virtual event type can be. Live concert streaming can be a great way to both raise awareness, and fundraise for a purpose.
Here we are seeing creativity take a new spin. Wine tastings and pairings don’t immediately mean cancellation today. Getting creative by sending attendees a case of wine with ingredients to make their own pairings is a great, fun, and creative way to virtually fundraise for your event.
Have every attendee do a simple pre-registration for your event. With this gathered information, you can determine any spam-like signups. By doing this ahead of time, you have the ability to weed out those suspicious accounts in advance.
Be sure that your streaming service is secure. With so many online portals for virtual fundraising, you can opt-in for a security service add-on from the beginning. This is highly recommended and a great feature for your event attendees.
Consider password-protecting your event. This means that only those who have fully registered for your upcoming event will receive a password to enter.
To add an extra layer of secure protection, you can require those who attend to first input the password to access the virtual portal, and then add an anti-robot authentication. This just adds an additional layer to any spambots.
Be sure to set standards and guidelines for audience participation. Having clear, set rules will help eliminate most, if any, hostile behavior from the start. You also may want to consider having a dedicated person, or persons, to monitor online engagement. This is an added security bonus to be able to remove someone if necessary.
Choosing the right platform to host your event is key. Researching and knowing reputable hosts will help make your selection for you. Many have built-in security options and are tailored to be event-specific.
Evaluating your data from before, during, and after your event will help keep your virtual hosting data secure and private. Pay attention to user actions, be ready to act on any suspicious behavior, and always have a plan for collecting this data and keeping it secure.
Don’t let circumstances today, cancel the plans you once had for an in-person event. Consider adapting with the change, utilizing the technology we’ve been given, and hosting a virtual event in its place. If you are interested in learning more about how to make your virtual event private, safe, and protected, contact us today.
We can help you see that the possibilities are endless. You don’t need to sacrifice privacy and security to host your virtual event. You can create and use many online, virtual tools targeted to almost any experience while keeping security and privacy for your attendees, at the forefront.