In the past year, every event planner has seen a dynamic shift to the screens.
When COVID-19 hit, companies either canceled their events or quickly pivoted to announce, “Our events are going virtual!”
What does this mean for companies that have employee summits to host, open houses to run, or corporate parties to plan? It means working (possibly twice-as) hard to make virtual events engaging and making sure the video production value of the event is strong.
So, let’s talk about what are virtual events, how to plan a virtual event, how to run a virtual event – and ultimately, keeping your company events engaging in the age of virtual everything. We’re going to walk you through exactly how to host a virtual event!
What is a Virtual Event?
A virtual event is any gathering of people in an online space to participate in the same program/event. It usually comes in the form of video conferencing or live streams.
With the pandemic out there and major cities on lockdown, making your next event virtual is a likely reality.
Types of Virtual Events
Some examples of virtual events include:
- Live-streamed events such as shows, award shows, and weddings.
- Corporate conferences, summits, classes, and workshops hosted on free virtual event platforms like Zoom.
- Health screenings and any type of therapy in the form of teleconferencing.
Virtual Event Tips
When it comes to hosting a virtual event of your own, the key is to consider ways to keep people engaged with your video production. Here are our top 5 tips for hosting, running, and planning a virtual event.
#1 Just like an in-person event, have a vision for your virtual event. Know what will help you bring your vision to life — like pro video production.
Determine your vision of the event and how you’d like it executed. We recommend making it a produced event, similar to broadcast television.
You don’t want your attendees feeling as though they are watching just another Zoom call. Lighting, camera angles, audio, music – all of these polished elements are key to the future of virtual events.
#2 Use a reliable video production company to look professional and polished.
With a video production company, you’ll experience fewer technical difficulties and seamless transitions. Virtual events best practices include working with a company that can add creative elements that will elevate the experience for all attendees.
Professionals can also provide remote speaker support, giving you peace of mind that your event will go off without a hitch.
#3 Think of engaging and diverse presentations with live elements.
Give people the option of attending different “workshops” of their choice by sending everyone to different links (pre-recorded sessions) or small group, live Zoom conferences with their speaker of choice. Begin with a speaker, then wrap up with an engaging questions/answer period.
If you are incorporating a live element, consider using Zoom breakout rooms for small group meetings or icebreakers.
You can also give people the opportunity to connect with presenters after the presentation date, such as having the guest speakers share their contact information and social media channels. B-roll and well-designed presentation slides can also keep people interested when you host virtual events.
#4 Build hype about your event on social media or email.
Before the event happens, let people know the event is coming up and build up their excitement. You can do a countdown, send a nice e-vite (you can design beautiful ones for free online), and also build excitement by word-of-mouth and online social correspondence.
As the event organizer, the goal is to get everyone as excited for the event as possible, so they bring that energy to the event when it comes around. Sending out swag boxes is a great way to get people excited about the event. Marketing is key!
Speaking of marketing, consider video marketing to build up interest in your event.
Here’s a bonus for the savvy event planner: With the event being online, prices for guest attendance (since you won’t need to cover venue or food costs) will also be lower so you can extend the company budget towards producing high-quality video, and you’ll possibly have a bigger turn-out for attendance.
See related post: Video Marketing for Small Business
#5 Prepare for the unexpected with contingencies, such as technical difficulties. When the event is over, ask guests for feedback.
With virtual events, technical difficulties can be a reality. How can you prepare for them?
If video or audio cuts out, have a screen graphic available that lets people know there is a technical difficulty and to be patient.
You can also ensure your team has some IT specialists on board to step in when needed.
But the biggest key to virtual event glitches is simple: Keep a calm, peace-of-mind, “we-can-fix-this” attitude on the day of. People are understanding about technical difficulties, even if they’re disruptive.
Once the Event is Over…
Every event planner knows the secret of a great event is to always seek the satisfaction of the guests. If the event is a first-time occurrence, the organizer should know what worked and what could be improved for the next event. That way, their experience can only get better for future virtual events!
If you need reliable professionals to put together your next virtual event, look no further. Click here to learn more about how we can work together.