A virtual event is an online event where people connect and interact with each other by using a web-based solution rather than a physical location. For example, the webinars or the webcasts. Whereas, hybrid event is an event that takes place in a physical venue, but can be attended by a live and interactive audience online.
With covid-19 taking a toll on all of our lives, large business units, schools, colleges, and small wedding functions have switched to a virtual environment, to ensure that there are no issues of crowding and knowledge can be imparted to all. With these events moving online for the time being, organizer and sponsors are finding it difficult to engage their audience because one thing that is missing in the virtual world is the social interactions and one-to-one consultations. While businesses and governments have been tackling the fallout of the climate due to coronavirus, there has been a shift to digital alternatives in organizing events. Looking at all these things, we do not know when this pandemic is going to end, the question remains in our mind, how to foster meaningful connections at virtual and hybrid events?
Social media marketing
Social media marketing is a valuable networking tool for all sectors of the economy. Even when an event takes place in-person social media is a great road to market your event. It offers exuberant ways to hook your attendees before the event takes place. Social media marketing can also be advantageous for organizations to curate instant follow-up surveys right after the conclusion of the event. Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook help you create a social media wall or a digital signage, that is, you need to formulate a fun and easy to remember hashtag for your event, and whenever the attendees search for those hashtags, your attractive digital wall will appear. You must encourage your attendees to use that hashtag whenever they are talking about your event online, whenever they are sharing their thoughts about your online event, uploading a screen grab of your live sessions or when they share conclusive feedback about the hybrid or virtual events that you have organized. This will also help other individuals in getting full knowledge on how your events are being conducted and what they may gain out of it.
Utilize the features of webinar conducting platforms
With webinar taking applications like zoom, gotowebinar etc. helps you enhance the experience of the attendees in the virtual environment. To display the credibility you must include all these valuable features in your event. Starting from invitation to taking a call to action feedback these applications have it all. Nothing works better for building a relationship when there is clarity in the minds of the attendees regarding the date, time and topic of the event. These platforms help you craft a customized invitation to your respective attendees. It also has features like screen sharing, whiteboard where you can put up your points easily and if your attendees want to share their thoughts, they can also participate in just a few clicks. After the webinar is over you can gather essential feedback via polls and surveys on these webinar conducting platforms. This will help you make great relations with your attendees and give you feedback for improvement.
Build an intelligent matchmaking community
Intelligent networking takes a seamless automated approach for networking through recommendations. They help you build up a community with mutual interests. This helps businesses to promote stronger networking before, in between and after the event. When an attendee registers, they must be given an option for opting in. This way they will be able to build personalized relations with the people they want to connect to. Attendees can view profiles of different individuals attending the hybrid or virtual events and connect to them via direct message, video calling or audio calling.
Virtual event games
Gamification is another way of fostering relations in a hybrid or a virtual event. It is an application of typical elements of game playing, that is point scoring, competition with others, rules of play in a non-game environment. It is an online marketing technique to encourage engagement in a virtual environment. In an online event the hosts may use points, ranks or badges to full blown interactive games. This helps you retain those attendees and also helps the attendees be comfortable in the virtual environment. It also keeps them engaged because there is no one who just wants to hear and not keep their points. This also build a community of attendees who informs others to join the next event you organize
Group chat channels
Creating individual chat channels for specific topics, on various channels like discord, LinkedIn, Facebook. On these channels you can create your own virtual event networking program. This will help you set up as many interest groups as you want to let people seamlessly make the connections. Slack is also a great channel for networking with the attendees and making them land on your virtual or hybrid events. There are various mobile event marketing applications. Choose a mobile event app that will help attendees to list their interest when they register for an event and instantly find others having the same interest.
Over to you
While most of us have experienced the need to be socially distant, virtual events have been the need of the hour since the past year. But due to the online platforms being used for everything under the sun, people are becoming increasingly worried about how much time they need to spend in front of the screen. Leaving an event is just a click away that is why you need to follow the best norms and practices to keep your audience engaged. You must ensure that your attendee is feeling comfortable and is gaining something at the end of the event. This will make him/her a returning client and push him to invite others in their peer group. Keep these tips and tricks when learning how to host a virtual networking event.