More and more businesses are now shifting from hosting in-person events to virtual events.
In order to create a fun and memorable virtual event experience for you and your attendees, you should make it a point to make the right preparations, be aware of the possible outcomes, and prevent any problems as soon as possible.
In this blog post, we list down seven factors to make your virtual event a success.
6 Factors for Hosting a Successful Virtual Event
1. Plan Your Event
Whether you’re hosting a small or big event, having plans and strategies is always important. You can start planning and strategizing once you have a big idea of what you want your event to look like
Before hosting a virtual event, you should answer these following questions:
- Who is your target audience?
- What kind of experience do you want to give your audience?
- Will your event be gated or free?
- What will be the date and time of your online event?
- Where do you want your content to be seen?
- How will you promote your event?
- Will you have a partner or sponsor?
- How much will your budget be for this event?
- Will you be holding contests and giveaways to your audience?
- What do you hope to achieve after the event?
- What key performance indicators would you like to track?
2. Choose the Right Date and Time
Choosing the right date and time for your event is an important factor in hosting a successful virtual event.
Before sending invitations and promoting your event on social media, try to do a little research. See if there are no holidays or events on the day/s that you plan to hold your event.
Also take into consideration the timezones of your audience especially if you plan to have a virtual event with a global audience. Pick a date and time that works best for your audience.
If you won’t be able to do that, you can make it a point to make your event’s content accessible to your audience even after the virtual event for those who couldn’t make it on time.
Decide how long you would like to have your online event. A virtual event that lasts for an hour is good enough, but anything longer than that will make people start to lose interest and focus.
You should keep your virtual events short because looking at a computer screen isn’t the same as attending an event in-person.
3. Decide Which Virtual Platform You Will Use
When choosing a virtual platform for your online event, consider if they will be easy to use for your event’s attendees. Not all virtual platforms work well on phones. There are some platforms that are more suited for small, informal gathering than corporate events.
Aside from using formal video conferencing softwares, you can also use social media platforms which are free, accessible, and easy to use. Most people already have social media accounts, so it wouldn’t be a hassle for them to join your online event unlike when you hold an event on a videoconferencing platform which they might have never heard of.
You can use platforms like Facebook and Instagram to host your events. Take note that YouTube Live requires verification while some streaming applications cost money.
Also take into consideration which virtual platform features you should have for your event.
- Would you like to have screen sharing, breakout rooms, chatboxes, lounge rooms, virtual expos, etc. in your event?
- Does the platform offer 24/7 customer support?
- Do you and your team need a platform that will immediately collect and analyse insights from your event attendees right after the virtual event?
- Does the platform have any privacy and security issues?
4. Promote the Event
No matter how good your event preparations, speakers, themes, and topics are, if you don’t promote your event, you won’t get the audience and results you’re looking for.
When promoting your event, always offer your audience something valuable that will make them want to join your virtual event. Show people what’s unique about your brand and your topic, leaning into the insights about your customers.
Invite the most wanted speakers within your industry. Start promoting your event 1-2 months before the date of your event.
You can attract attendees by informing them that joining your event will allow them to have access to audio files, transcripts, cheatsheets, lives Q&As, etc.
Send out event invitations to your current clients in your email list. You can also share your event’s details on your social media accounts as well as networking sites such as LinkedIn. When you post about your event on social media, take note of the best times to post online.
For example, the best times to post on Facebook are on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 5pm, and Friday from 8-9am. The best day to post is on Wednesdays. The worst day to post is on Sundays.
Aside from regularly posting about your event on social media, you can also create paid advertisements for your event on platforms such as Google, Facebook, and Instagram. Make sure to create targeted ads in the right format with an attractive description and event photos.
You can also create a hype for your virtual event by creating an event countdown on your website or on your Instagram Stories.
Also take advantage of your speakers’ social media following. Some speakers are online influencers, so provide them with photos, videos, captions, hashtags, and links that they can post on their social media accounts to promote your event.
5. Run-Through The Whole Virtual Event
Days before your virtual event, you, your team, the speakers, and other people involved should run-through the program to make sure that you won’t encounter any technical problems during the event.
It may be possible that your speakers have spoken in a virtual event already before, but that doesn’t give them an excuse to not participate in the run-through.
Virtual event platforms may look similar to each other, but they also have their differences. Speakers who presented via different virtual platforms may not be used to speaking using the virtual platform that you will use for your virtual event.
For example, a speaker who got accustomed to using presenter notes might be surprised about the speaker notes disappearing when he/she starts presenting. Once your speakers have a feel of the virtual event platform and its features, they should make the necessary adjustments to their presentation.
Remember to prepare backups of the visuals and presentations just in case a file goes missing or won’t open on the very day of your virtual event.
Also take note that not all of your online event attendees are tech savvy. Anticipate the possible technical problems they might encounter and give them a list of FAQs. If you can give full customer support during your event, the better.
6. Make Your Event Inclusive
Your virtual event should be as accessible and inclusive as much as possible. Make sure that you use one language or dialect, readable fonts for presentations, and a high-color contrast. Show captions and visuals whenever you have to display a video or play an audio file.
If ever you will have speakers and panelists, see to it that you have a diverse range or voices having males and females and people from different races or nations.
7. Engage With Your Audience
Giving your audience more opportunities to engage with one another and your speakers will give you a more fun and exciting experience. Before your event proper, you can encourage live tweeting and shoutout the names of your online event’s attendees as they join the event.
You can ask your audience to send their questions or thoughts via your chosen virtual platform’s chatbox. Have a moderator collect all the questions and send it to your speakers for your Q&A session.
You can also host a contest, ask questions via polls, conduct quizzes during the event and then ask for feedback before the event ends.
It’s Your Turn
Virtual events will differ depending on your kinds of business and your target market, but you should always consider the thoughts, feelings, and situations of your online event’s attendees.
You may not be able to always host a perfect event, but you can host an event that your audience will be able to appreciate and relate to.
You can do that by carefully planning, doing your research about your attendees, choosing the right date, theme, and topic, providing opportunities for them to engage with you, and promoting your event online and offline months before your event.
Taking into consideration these seven factors will certainly help you to create a virtual event that will drive awareness of your brand and increase conversions and influence faster that you could imagine.
Now that you know the top seven factors that can make your online event a success, are you ready to create your own virtual event?