This year has been a difficult year for the events industry in the US, with a report by Pollstar predicting revenue losses of up to $9 billion. The country is going through a period where meeting in person is extremely dangerous, and with no end to the current situation in sight, it’s time for event professionals to adapt to the new normal and find alternative ways to hold events. Luckily, technology has come a long way and it is now possible to hold a virtual event live for thousands or even millions of people from the comfort of your home. Whether you already have an event in mind or you’re looking for ideas, these are some of the things you can do to create an impactful virtual event that extends well beyond a computer or smartphone screen.
Choosing the right time
If you want people to attend your event, you must do some research to find out the best date and time for them. First of all, make sure that there are no holidays or competing events that would interfere with attendance. If you have a global audience, consider timezones and pick a time that works for as many attendees as possible. If your audience is spread out across multiple timezones, make sure the content can be accessed after live presentations by those who couldn’t make it. For a firmer consensus, you can conduct polls on your social media pages asking your audience for scheduling suggestions.
Promote your event
Once you have settled on a date and time, the next step is to promote your event to your potential attendees. Determine the key selling points for your event — it could be a special performance, noteworthy speaker, skill-sharing, and more – and communicate that to your audience clearly through email, social media posts, targeted ads, and other marketing platforms at your disposal. Speakers and performers often double as influencers especially if most of your audience knows them, so provide them with all the details they need to promote the event. Don’t forget to come up with a catchy hashtag to promote your event and drive online conversations.
Choose the right technology
When it comes to software, there are so many options available today from video conferencing apps to social media platforms. The first thing to consider when choosing a platform is your audience and the devices they’re most likely going to be using. Engagement is also key during an event, so choose a platform with a live chat where conversations can happen during the event. If you can, hold your event on multiple platforms to reach as many people as possible. However, before using any platform, make sure that it is secure to protect yourself and your audience from the rising cybersecurity threats. On the hardware side, invest in a good camera and headset that delivers a rich, immersive experience that will keep your audience glued to their screens.
Make it fun
In a virtual setting, the content is your event. Attention spans tend to be limited when people are watching something and you risk losing your audience if they get bored for even just a few seconds. As such, make sure that a great lineup of speakers or performers that know how to deliver captivating, informative, and entertaining performances. You can also encourage engagement through live chat, live polls, and live Q&A.
Although it is a lot cheaper than normal events, holding a virtual event is no easy fete. But, with careful planning and application of various technologies available today, you can host a fully functional virtual event that your audience will remember.