Virtual events became popular in 2020 out of necessity. But they are a great way to engage with audiences online, no matter the reason.
Hosting a unique virtual event this year can help keep your business memorable in the long run. To get an idea of where to start, here are some interesting ways people are hosting virtual events this year:
Social Livestream is a simple and effective way to host a virtual event. Just about every social media platform allows you to livestream, including Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube.
Artists, online companies, and brick-and-mortar businesses are all using social livestream to reach their audiences in 2020. According to Facebook, the number of Facebook Live viewers in the US increased by 50% since the coronavirus outbreak.
Virtual concerts have been a popular livestream option, but you can livestream all sorts of events. For example, Verizon has a weekly streaming series called Pay It Forward Live where they partner with celebrities to support small businesses during the pandemic. They stream on several different social media platforms at once:
You can use livestreaming to engage and entertain your audience or deliver a message that shows you care.
Hosting an Interactive Webinar
Webinars are the most common virtual event out there. They were a popular marketing tool long before social distancing made virtual events necessary. Now that interaction is more important to people than ever, there is a lot you can do to make your webinars more engaging for participants.
Most webinars are live but use only one-way audio and video. Why not make it more interactive by allowing for interactive video conferencing instead? This allows participants to ask questions during your presentation and participate. If your webinar includes too many people to make video conferencing feasible, you can always use live chat so everyone can communicate.
Regardless of which interactive format you use, set it up to encourage participation. Do live polling during your presentation. Have a set time for a question and answer session. Send out feedback surveys at the end of the webinar. There are many ways to make people feel like they are participating in a webinar instead of just watching it.
Creating Networking Opportunities
One of the most valuable aspects of attending an event is networking opportunities. Virtual event holders are making efforts to facilitate digital networking, and you can too. One easy and free way event holders are doing this is by creating a Slack community to go with their event.
Take advantage of the different tools you can use that help facilitate virtual networking, such as Hopin. This tool allows event attendees to video conference with other attendees and automatically share contact information after meeting:
Creating an Immersive Environment
Many businesses had to cancel or postpone their in-person events in 2020. But some are getting creative by turning their entire event into a digital one. In the most basic way, you can create a website for your event and host virtual expo booths to replace an in-person event. Or you can use a virtual event platform tool to create virtual meeting rooms, including a lobby, exhibit hall, booths, etc. Communiqué and Hexafair are two options to check out.
Some event holders are making their online environment even more immersive. The SBC Digital Summit, for example, had to quickly move their event to virtual at the end of April 2020. They decided to recreate their entire conference center virtually, so attendees could experience moving through the building and visiting different rooms as they would in-person:
Take the Opportunity to Be Creative
There were many ways to host virtual events before Covid-19. Now there are even more possibilities to choose from. Instead of falling in line with what everyone else is doing to market online, take this opportunity to explore the options and come up with a unique way to host an event. This will make your event much more engaging and memorable for your audience, even if it is not in person.