In a digital world, consumers expect to be connected with brands and organizations 24/7. Hosting virtual events offers an engaging opportunity to build relationships with consumers, deliver content and establish brand credibility.
In 2020, virtual events' importance is more evident than ever in the face of COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines. Virtual events are no longer just a creative strategy to reach audiences but a socially responsible way to connect and support consumers. The WVU Marketing Communications "Virtual Events Guide" provides a comprehensive look at planning, promoting and executing successful virtual events.
Here are three tips for a better virtual event:
1. Define Your Audience
Before planning a virtual event, consider who you want to engage and attend. This will help decide the theme, agenda and platform for the event. Defining the audience will also largely help with promotions. Like an marketing campaign, understanding where your audience goes for information about virtual events and experience will increase attendance.
Potenital Event Platforms:
2. Prepare For Difficulties
Technology and human-error are likely to occur during your virtual event. By being pro-active with testing platform functionality and considering what could go wrong major complications can be avoided.
Always have a Rehearsal before a virtual event:
Encourage participants and presenters to log in to the event platform or social media account a half hour before the event starts. During this time, participants can test audio, screen sharing capabilities and login procedures.
Ensure there is a plan if a participant cannot attend last minute, loses internet connection or has difficulty with their audio. Make sure there is someone who will be providing “tech support” if needed during the event.
3. Engage Your Attendees
In a time of social distancing, people are craving interaction. Be sure to plan an interactive element to your event, whether this is as simple as having an event chat room where attendees can comment and ask questions about the content being delivered or creating an event specific hashtag for attendees to share their thoughts on social media.
Ways to engage attendees:
- Create live polling to ask attendees opinions on topics
- Distribute surveys before, during and after the event
- Provide incentives for answering and asking questions
4. Repurpose Your Event Content
Once an event has concluded, keep your attendees engaged with your brand. Send follow up newsletters, recordings of video session and additional related materials. If you are hosting future virtual events, be sure to invite past attendees through a newsletter, notifications or other messaging. Recorded session can also be repurposed to reach a larger audience who may not have been able to attend.
Ideas for repurposing content:
- Split recordings of video session in to short-form content pieces for social media
- Upload full recorded sessions to YouTube and IGTV
- Create a blog recap or transcribe recorded sessions
- Convert video sessions or transcriptions into a podcast
For more tips and best practices for hosting virtual events, check the WVU Marketing Communications "Virtual Events Guide."
Interested in attending a virtual event? Check out the Integrate Online series hosted by WVU Marketing Communications.
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