Most of us this past year have experienced at least one poorly planned virtual event that does not even remotely compare to its physical counterpart. Poor Internet connection, awkward breakout rooms, timezone mix-ups, and that one person who forgets to mute themselves, all have the ability to completely sidetrack an event that looked quite good on paper, leading to a thoroughly dissatisfied audience and quite possibly a worse outcome than if the event had just been entirely cancelled.
However, this does not have to be the case. As much as we might hate to admit it, virtual events in some capacity are going to be with us for quite a long time, and truly have the possibility to be fulfilling experiences filled with genuine human connection and shared enjoyment.
The key to pulling off a successful virtual event comes down to how well you understand what it means to effectively create an experience without being face-to-face. The following tips can help you optimize your next virtual event, and create an experience that is just as successful via virtual platforms as it is face-to-face.
One of the most important factors, when it comes to hosting a successful virtual event, is understanding the limitations and benefits of the medium. There are certain physical moments of human connection and interaction that virtual platforms cannot begin to replicate, and it is key that virtual events do not try in vain to recreate experiences that are not possible. Virtual events must instead leverage other advantages they have in order to create connection and interaction in new ways.
For example, a virtual platform allows you to vastly expand the reach of your event. Virtual platforms remove the constraints of physical location and prohibitive cost and can allow you to reach new people across the globe in a way that is just not possible when hosting a single in-person event. This expansion of event participation in return enriches the event itself, by enabling people with extremely diverse backgrounds and social perspectives to come together for joint experiences and engage in meaningful dialogue.
Break Out Rooms
Virtual events also offer unique opportunities to segment a larger group into customizable break out rooms, which can be done so repeatedly throughout the course of a virtual event. Once again, the physical limitations of coordinating space and time are removed, as event participants do not have to spend time moving between “break out” sessions or figuring out how to navigate to a specific location. This ultimately increases efficiency and allows you to create a series of unique experiences that all have the opportunity to offer individual insight and foster more intimate connections within a smaller group of people.
Another key element of hosting a virtual event is maintaining a strong brand identity in the virtual space. There are often very clear markers of brand identity during a physical event; often some combination of signage, lighting, merchandise, and other physical marketing materials all contribute to an understanding of the identity of the event. In the virtual world these physical elements are out of the equation.
Although the loss of these classic methods of branding may seem like a massive setback, virtual events truly open up a wide range of unique marketing and branding opportunities.
During a virtual event you have the ability to leverage the massively growing fields of graphic and video design that allow you to truly immerse the participant in a world of your own creation. Brand specific virtual avatars, high quality video presentations/tours/performances, unique audio tracks and playlists, omnichannel touchpoints via social media, virtual backgrounds, and so much more, allow you to truly create a unique and extremely engaging experience for event participants. Virtual events may very well be the perfect testing ground for improving your digital branding and marketing presence, using new technological tools that have the ability to engage the viewer to a much greater extent than traditional branding techniques.
Ultimately, if you adjust your frame of mind, virtual events create a plethora of opportunities that you would not otherwise have access to when launching a physical event. The virtual space allows you to overcome physical limitations such as space, money, and time, and simultaneously allows your imagination and creativity to be set free, inventing entirely new experiences for your audience. If you are looking for further ways to improve your brand’s digital appearance, take a look at the Tips and Content Marketing categories on the Issuu Blog.