The ongoing pandemic has drastically changed the way people interact with one another. Events, be those social, professional, or simply for the sake of entertainment, have gone from physical to virtual.
That said, virtual events provide numerous benefits apart from the reduced risk of spreading infections. They spare the organizers the humongous labor of tedious tasks arranging the venue and accommodation for overseas attendees. Hence, they cost less. At the same time, it is easier for the host to reach a wider audience with just the click of a button.
However, arranging an online event is not as simple as setting up a zoom meeting. It does require some effort and systematic planning, just as in-person events, to ensure it is successfully entertaining. If you plan on hosting one soon, this article will outline some tips that may come in handy. These include:
Allocate the right amount of time
The timing of any event may vary depending upon its nature/purpose and the type of audience. For instance, if you’re organizing a virtual conference, you might want to keep the duration concise to prevent your viewers from getting bored. On the other hand, if you’re organizing an online talent gala featuring various magicians including, illusionists, trollkarl, and mentalists, you may want to be a bit more flexible with the duration. Keeping events concise helps in avoiding drag. Furthermore, you may also want to choose a time in the day that does not overlap with working hours.
Select the correct platform
There are several platforms available for hosting virtual events. However, every digital platform has its pros and cons and is better suited for specific types of events. Therefore, select the digital venue accurately. You should weigh the pros and cons and ensure that it is accessible to your target audience.
Furthermore, also evaluate whether your chosen platform has features necessary for your event. For example, if you want to host a fun, interactive live session or podcast, social media platforms with a built-in live streaming option, such as Instagram & Facebook, would be an ideal choice. These platforms provide a comprehensive range of features plus the bonus of your target audience already being on them. If you want to go big for hosting an online concert, consider other paid media like Dacast, IBM Video Streaming, and Live streaming support live streaming and VOD for a better online experience. Select a required platform that is not too heavy in your pocket and falls within your event’s budget.
Keeping your audiences engaged during a virtual event can be tricky, especially when there are plenty of distractions online. Hence, it is crucial to be relevant and concise and avoid mundane content that bores the audience. According to studies, engaging content positively affects the behavior of attendees during a virtual event. Therefore, focus on making your content appealing, compelling, and interesting.
For example, if you live streaming a stand-up comedy act, do not repeat exhausted jokes. Instead, use new references and recent events to make people laugh. Furthermore, also be sensitive to language and content as the audience can be vastly diverse.
Engage the audience via interactions
Another way to keep your audience hooked to the event is by making it more interactive. Encourage your audience to comment in the live chat. Ask them questions, and provide answers to the ones they ask during the event. Take the names of attendees to show them that you’re paying attention and you value their participation. You can also use features such as live polls, surveys, gamification, and contests to grab their attention and ensure involvement. A highly engaging experience will make your virtual event a success and ensure people mark their attendance for the next one in advance.
Market the event properly
It is a no-brainer- people will not attend it if they do not know about it. Analyse and identify key selling points of your event and create a marketing strategy accordingly. Pre-event communication is essential to ensure that the audience signs up and turns up. Leverage social media to reach out to a broader audience via paid advertising. You can also approach influencers to promote your event on their social profiles. Also, create SEO-friendly landing pages for your event and promote them on Google via organic search and PPC. You can also use traditional marketing tactics such as flyers and brochures to gain more traction offline. It would be wise to set aside a dedicated marketing budget and team to ensure maximum ROI.
Arm yourself with the best technology and troubleshooting
With all the merits of technology, the biggest demerit is that it can let you down at any point, any time. Hence, always prepare yourself for any glitch. Check your internet connection as the increased load may cause connectivity issues and also affect the streaming quality. Also, ensure that all the devices you will be using are in good working condition. Share a list of basic connectivity requirements with your attendees to ensure they do not experience problems while viewing at their end.
If feasible, try out a pre-event rehearsal to anticipate what sort of issues you may face. Even though everything may seem fine and good, always have a backup plan. Keep a tech expert on board to fix any unanticipated glitches.
Make a guideline for joining the event
Many people would love to join the event but may not be good with technology or using your selected platform for the first time. Hence, make a clear and concise guideline that explains how to access and participate in the event for people who are not tech-savvy. Also, assist them during the event before you begin.
Virtual events have emerged as a new method of conducting social and professional gatherings in the wake of the pandemic. People are going through considerable mental stress, and a virtual event that provides quality entertainment to viewers is like a silver lining in a sky full of gloomy clouds.
This article mentioned a few fundamental tips for organizing a successful event online. Ensure that you select the right platform for your event, allocate the proper time, and provide relevant content to your target audience. Engage your audience by asking questions and encouraging them to participate in the comments. Market it properly to make it a success. Last but not least, ensure that you have a contingency plan for technical mishaps and prepare a guide for less tech-savvy people.