During the first quarter of 2020, I have been planning virtual conferences more than ever before, I also participated in several other online conferences with thousands of participants in the middle of this pandemic; and it is surprisingly a new normal! To have the opportunity to attend virtually from the comfort of your own home or from anywhere in the world, I have learned many valuable lessons that I’d like to pass on to our clients and fellow event organizers. In a quick recap here are the 7 leading takeaways I gained as a virtual planner and as an attendee that I hope you’ll find beneficial.
1) Give virtual event attendees the consistent level of housekeeping direction you’d provide to in-person attendees
As the users logged into the live-streaming platform to begin the day as an attendee, there seemed to be often a bit of confusion from the virtual participants surrounding basic logistics. I strongest suggest to let them know how the whole event will take place and what is expected for the user to do to attend, layout all the logistic in you landing page, and refresh the information by emailing everyone, right before your conference.
2) Get an event APP and create interest early
Create an event communication social media team, this team will have to make sure that all attendees receive everything they need, to get the most out of the event, from the chat room, schedules, speaker info, and how to network. They have to build out and update the mobile event app.
3) Create a strategy for how your event marketing will be handled
As in-person Meetings, have a Marketing team in place, or hire professional conference planning support, some companies can map-out all these elements for you such us MTC Global. This team make the right people aware of the event, create offers and timing strategy to boost registration, oversee branding, communicate with registrants, coordinate social media amplification and media relations, and send and measure follow-up materials. Oh, but the way, this team should be great on measurable performance.
4) Keep event sessions educational and relevant
Before the pandemic, some attendees traditionally have always loved the food, entertainment, and décor of events. But one of the biggest reasons they attend your event is to learn new research and discoveries in whenever the conference topic is about. It is up to event organizers or planners to make sure that attendees leave with maximum value from the educational session. There are ways to accomplish all this by defining what is exactly your conference goal.
5) Find innovative ways to keep virtual attendees informed and engaged with online sessions
Virtual coffee breaks, games, trivia questions, surprise gifts, just to name a few, are must-have items. Let’s face it: traditional lectures and presentations can be boring! No one likes to stare at a speaker presentation for hours when in at home, no matter how interesting the topic may be. so keep it entertaining, engaging, and educational and you will have a successfully planned virtual or hybrid meeting.
6) Date and time zone selection
Choosing a date for your event is a very tricky process. You’ll need to do some research to find a good time in the completely new virtual event marketplace–a time when there will be bandwidth availability. You’ll also have to consider dates for your location based on seasonal factors like time zone impediments in case of international conferences.
7) Choosing the rights streaming platform
Choose a virtual meeting technology platform that delivers the experience of an in-person meeting by integrating a full studio production with an in-studio moderator, if budget permits, design a life-size remote display such a massive video wall, to get extraordinary engagement.