Even if you’re a tech-savvy person, organizing a virtual event for the first time may seem like a scary mission. The mere idea of doing everything online from start to finish makes you anxious. You probably fear that it just won’t be as successful as an on-site gathering. However, for tech problems come tech solutions.
Despite what some people think, virtual events have been part of the market for a long time. So much so that today more than ever, we can easily find many tools and resources designed specifically to make the whole process much easier for companies and individuals who aim at reaching a larger audience through these events.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you only need one click to make it all happen. (Wouldn’t that be amazing, though?) But you should definitely consider using the following tools if you want to have a smooth and successful experience.
1. Planning Tools
Just like on-site events, virtual events need you to plan ahead to determine the exact how, what, when, and where of your project.
Among the many things you’ll have to define is the type of event you want to host. For example, a conference won’t require the same resources as a product launch, a webinar, or a workshop, and vice versa.
So, even though some steps of the planning checklist will be the same for all events, knowing the peculiarities of your specific choice is a factor that will put everything into perspective and help you plan things accordingly.
Once you’ve decided, these planning tools might be helpful in different phases of your organizational process.
You’re probably already familiar with Google Calendar. This useful tool is used by thousands of leaders around the world to organize their personal and professional agendas. To make the most out of it, don’t just add your tasks randomly.
Instead, create different calendars with different names and colors to use it as a time-blocking method.
For example, you could use a specific day for a specific type of task, like networking, contacting sponsors, or marketing activities, and group them together under one calendar. This way, just by taking a glimpse at your calendar, you’ll see exactly what you have ahead of you and when.
Trello is your go-to software if you want to organize your plan by due dates and status. It gives you the possibility to create different boards where each board represents a project. You can then create several cards inside and each card can serve as a checklist for tasks that need to be done.
You can add other people to your boards and tag them in their appointed tasks, configure deadlines, notifications, attach files, and much more.
This is a program that will help you tackle different areas separately but parallelly in an efficient way. It gives you the possibility to customize your “workspace” with categories and subcategories and insert as many elements as you wish: documents, videos, audios, etc.
You can also configure the view and properties for each document for your own specific needs. The only downside is that the setup of your workspace can take you some time, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll see that it gives you a lot of freedom and flexibility.
2. Marketing Tools
Just because your event is held online doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put in the effort to promote it the same ways you would for an on-site one. Just the opposite, a successful virtual event needs all your attention to build a strong marketing strategy because word-of-mouth here isn’t as powerful as clicks and shares.
This is where social media comes in. With so many people connected and checking their social accounts daily, it would be a loss to not use this to your advantage. If you don’t know where to start, choose the three main social media platforms you most often use to interact with your audience, stick to them, and use them to their full potential. Here are the most common ones:
An image speaks a thousand words. Don’t hesitate to use visual material to keep your audience interested. You can share behind-the-scenes pictures with them, ask them to guess the theme of your virtual event by posting intriguing images, or transmit any important information in a very concise and compelling way.
Twitter and Facebook
If you’re going to use Twitter or Facebook (and you should), you need to focus on your added value, the strongest point of your event, and make it the highlight of your tweets and posts.
Do you have a special guest or an expert as one of your speakers? Does your event have a networking table for attendees to meet and exchange? Is your event free of charge? Don’t hesitate to communicate this information effectively using relevant hashtags and/or powerful images to catch the eyes of your audience.
Find your strengths and make them attractive to the public.
Not all companies have email lists of potential leads and clients, but if you’re one of those who communicate with their followers by email, this is the perfect time to use it to your advantage.
Whether you have a weekly newsletter, a blog, or a website, you can start an email campaign to promote your upcoming virtual event and introduce it to potential attendees. If your event isn’t free, a strategy would be to start your email campaign several weeks or months in advance and make special offers for pre-reservations or for inviting another person.
This approach will give your audience a sense of exclusivity and make the whole process more personal since you’re addressing them in their inbox and by name.
3. Event Hosting Tools
Probably the most important aspect of a successful virtual event is the hosting platform. As mentioned before, by now you should have an idea about the type of event you’ll be hosting.
You’ll find that there are different kinds of platforms depending on your necessities and the type of activity you want to include.
Social Media Live Streaming
If you want to go live on your virtual event, there are many options available for you. To give a conference, a talk, or a course, the most accessible platforms are the social media live streams themselves, like YouTube Live or Facebook Live.
There, you can schedule a premiere and publish videos or posts ahead of time to invite your audience. Once live, you can interact with the comments from your attendees as well as the chat rooms.
If you want a more formal approach, there are other programs to consider:
This is a virtual show trade platform where you can create a virtual booth, chat, and live stream without downloading anything. It’s accessible on browsers and offers social media integration and analytics.
This is a webinar platform that offers live as well as automated webinars, registration pages, and webinar replays. It’s also available without downloads and has integrations with some of the most common tools.
If you want a platform with a solution to most of your virtual events problems, you should take a look at HeySummit. From building a landing page to creating speaker dashboards or taking care of attendee registration, this program will make it possible for you to prepare your virtual events smoothly. The only downside is that you’ll have to integrate it with tools for live streaming as it doesn’t include them.
4. Engagement Tools
One of the most tricky issues in a virtual event is making sure to keep your audience engaged. As we’ve seen, engagement starts way before the event and this is what your marketing strategy should be all about.
However, we have to admit that keeping your audience’s attention all the way to the end of your virtual event is much harder than on-site. Online, if a person gets bored, they can just log out at any time and call it a day.
The best thing you can do here is prevention. Try to know what could make people lose their interest and what is more likely to keep them engaged all along.
You’ll probably find that there are two main reasons for people just logging out.
The first one is that they don’t understand exactly how to navigate the program (if you’re using a specific platform). In this case, it’s your role to share all the necessary information, guides, and instructions way before the day of the event.
You don’t want your audience to feel lost and waste 30 minutes trying to find something that you could have made easier for them to access. Try to make it as hassle free as possible.
On the other hand—and this is the second point—you should make it possible for your attendees to participate. Make sure to include a Q&A session to answer their questions and respond to their comments. If you don’t want to get distracted during your performance, you can appoint a moderator to gather questions so you can tackle them in a specific timeframe in your virtual event. You can also organize a poll and invite them to give their opinions or vote about a particular issue or topic.
5. Networking Tools
If choosing the platform is the biggest concern for the host, networking opportunities are often the biggest concern of attendees.
For that, there are many solutions you can provide. One of them is using a mobile event app that will make it possible for attendees to connect with each other.
For example, apps like Attendify, Presdo Match, and DoubleDutch are excellent options to consider.
With their messaging capabilities and matching parameters, this kind of app makes it easier for attendees to meet each other virtually and set up meetings.
As usual, you can also include social media in your networking strategy by creating a group specifically for your virtual event and inviting members to share their takeaways from the talks, pictures, and/or feedback.
With all that said, if you need additional support to make sure to have a successful virtual event, MVT can assist you in organizing and planning all these steps from start to finish. With our extensive experience managing remote teams and events, you’ll be sure to have all the boxes checked before you take the leap and go live.
“The world will never be the same after the coronavirus pandemic.” This is a statement that you may have heard a lot. And for a lot of people and industries, it’s certainly true. But does it necessarily mean that this change will be negative or detrimental in most cases? Not really.
For many companies, the global pandemic served as a wake-up call for how they tackle their marketing strategies. Corporations all around the world, which used to rely on on-site events to gain exposure and promote their brands and sponsors, were faced with a new challenge: canceling their events altogether or finding a new alternative that would generate the same benefits.
In a world where the events industry is worth millions of dollars per year, canceling events once and for all didn’t seem like a realistic approach. Luckily, that’s where virtual events come in.
Why Switch to Virtual Events: The Top 6 Advantages
Virtual events aren’t exactly new, but they’ve been gaining more and more popularity over the last few years, either because of major changes such as financial crises (2008), global pandemics (2020), or simply to stay up to date with the latest technologies. Whatever the case, it really seems like digital events are here to stay.
Whether you’re thinking about hosting a trade show, an exposition, or a webinar, switching to a virtual approach will offer you a lot of benefits. Here are some of them:
1. Cost Effectiveness
Probably one of the main reasons to choose a virtual event over an on-site one is the significant difference in price.
The cost of organizing a physical event is quite impressive. From banner and booklet printing costs to service staff and operating expenses, plus attendees’ accommodation, food, and drinks... It all adds up pretty quickly.
In fact, a 2018 study showed that the global events industry is worth more than $1.1 trillion and is on its way to reaching $2.33 trillion by 2026. That’s huge!
On the other hand, your virtual events budget will mostly focus on fees for the hosting platform you choose and your online marketing campaign. Sure, this process isn’t free either, but it’s nothing compared to the physical one.
2. Time and Flexibility
Another important factor to keep in mind when organizing an event is the tight schedules of the attendees.
By hosting your event online:
- You’re saving your attendees the hassle of finding several days in their busy schedule for travel.
- They won’t have to spend an entire day (or days) in hours of presentations, expositions, and activities, trying to grasp all angles of the event and not miss anything.
- You’re saving your audience precious travel time that they could use to do their own thing while giving them what they need right in their home office.
Virtual events also give you, as a host, a lot of flexibility. You don’t have only one single day when it’s all or nothing. Online, you’ll have the opportunity to present your showroom, conference, exhibition, or any other information in bite-sized pieces so as not to tire your audience. You can organize it in different sessions, formats, or activities.
The key here is to keep it concise but still enjoyable. This kind of experience is much more likely to make your attendees want to come back for part 2 or 3.
Nowadays, it’s crucial for any business to consider the impact they’re having on the environment and physical events aren’t exactly something that could be defined as eco-friendly. The number of flights to meetings and in-person events totals millions per year in the US alone.
Virtual events won’t only save your audience long hours of travel, but going digital will also help decrease the negative impact that on-site events have on the environment.
One of the main benefits you can enjoy from hosting a virtual event is that it doesn’t just stop there.
Since everything is done online and in a digital format, the post-event phase is just as important for your business as the marketing and performing stages.
Depending on the type of events you’re hosting, you can make parts of it accessible online for your audience to share, comment, and react to on social media.
You can go as far as you wish in making the key components of your events available to the public, not only to keep gaining exposure in the long run but to also make it easy for your current audience to access what they most enjoyed during the performance.
5. Networking Opportunities
Maybe one of the greatest fears when talking about the switch from physical to virtual events is the lack of networking opportunities.
It’s a given that personal interactions will always be the number one way to establish a strong connection with others. Whether that person is a potential client, investor, or partner, some people just click with each other without any specific reason—this is part of being human!
However, today’s world has become so used to using technology in our daily communications that it has become much easier to interact with others online than you would face to face. In fact, a lot of people admit to being even more comfortable talking to strangers in a virtual booth than in-person. To use this to your advantage, you can include many tools and activities to make the public fully engage with each other.
When it comes to the strategic aspect of this type of networking, virtual events can give you a greater opportunity to target potential leads or business partners. You’ll find that some digital platforms give the attendees the option to see the list of speakers, hosts, and other guests.
This kind of profiling is much more precise in making the right people connect with each other than any random conversation you may start with someone in search of new business opportunities.
6. Greater Reach
Obviously, for all event planners, the goal is to reach as many people as possible. The more, the merrier!
In virtual events, that’s not very complicated. All you have to do is promote your virtual link the right way, using different platforms and social media, and people from all around the world will be able to access your event with just one click. Your main focus should be making the registration process as user-friendly as possible and tailoring your marketing campaign to your audience’s needs.
If you’re thinking about hosting a virtual event but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place.
At MVT, we strongly believe that a goal without a plan is just a wish. This is why we use our knowledge and expertise to guide you through every step of your virtual event’s organization and planning.
Contact us today to start implementing an efficient plan to reach your goals and succeed in this digital life-changing experience.
Yes! All meetings should have a short icebreaker, even your daily stand-up. Icebreakers allow team members to quickly chat about a topic/activity that you have proposed.
A part of your team works far away from the main headquarters, and you have started to notice that those team members are slowly disconnecting: they are less communicative, participate less in meetings, and seem to be less engaged. The truth is that they are lonely and feel very disconnected - fix it with icebreakers.
It only takes 5 minutes to start building up trust, as well as bonding, between team members. The first step to good communication is trust. Team activities, like icebreakers, are the only way for you to build a team in which communication flows well, and people are not afraid to ask each other questions.
- Explain the activity.
- Define the order that team members will follow to ensure that everybody participates.
- Establish a time for each person to speak, ensuring that the meeting will not revolve around one person that talks too much, as well as encouraging others to go beyond only giving one-word answers.
Examples of icebreakers
Share your interests
- Send out an email, several days before the start of the meeting, asking participants to choose something that is meaningful to them (e.g., a shirt, award, photo, etc.).
- Have them prepare a short description about what they will be sharing.
- Start the video conference and instruct team members that they will have one minute to show the item via their webcam and talk about it. Encourage team members to ask questions.
Timing: Give a 2-min. explanation of the icebreaker, 2 min. per participant, and a 1-min. summary by the facilitator at the end.
- Kick the idea off by beginning a team meeting with a song that has a significant meaning to you.
- Have the music playing as the team joins the call.
- Make sure all team members hear at least some of the song.
- After the song is over, explain to the team why you chose the song as your "theme song." Providing an in-depth explanation will set the tone for the rest of the team when it's their turn.
- Let the team know that a different person will start the team meetings in the same manner until everyone has had a chance to play his or her song.
Timing: 5 minutes.
Ask random questions
Ask 1 question that everybody in the team has to answer. Examples:
- What book are you currently reading?
- What is the last movie you have seen?
- What do you like about the city where you live?
- What do you usually eat for breakfast? (An especially interesting question for multicultural teams.)
Timing: Give a 2-min. explanation of the icebreaker, max 1 min. per participant, and a 1-min. summary at the end.
Find hundreds of icebreakers for free here!
Working remotely separates us by default. What was typically warm communication in an office turns into quick communication that can lead to misunderstandings. A lack of trust is one of the first elements to appear. Team members don’t know each other as well and can’t see what others are doing or thinking, so cracks start to appear. One of the best ways to rebuild your company culture is to create regular online company events.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Social Interactions
If your team is used to regular face-to-face meetings, after-work activities, birthday parties, and so on, they’re going to miss that interaction. It’s your duty to not let those events that bring people together disappear. The social aspect of work is key to employee motivation. Even in teams made up of introverts, knowing that you’re part of a team is a big motivational driver.
Use Company-Wide and Project-Based Activities
Don’t put all the pressure for organizing these activities on team leads and team managers. They must be planned at that level, but you’ll also need to organize company-wide activities to reconnect employees with the higher purpose of the company, so that they can see the big picture. This will also help create synergy with other departments.
Bring the Events That Already Worked into the Online Office
If your company was previously office based or if you previously worked in an office, take the events that were already working and translate them to the online world. This isn’t going to be a literal translation, though. You’ll need to maximize and exaggerate some aspects to make them work.
Here are a couple of examples:
- You’ll want to make sure that the opening of the event really sets the tone. For that, you’ll need to make sure that everybody has a voice. Or, if it’s a mass event, you’ll want to open with a big bang to get and keep people’s attention.
- The same applies to the end, so make sure you end on a high note. Preparing events isn’t always easy. That’s why we have a course that will help you master the preparation for and execution of online activities.
The Power of Regular Events
Working from home requires a lot of self-discipline and coordination with the other people in our lives. Help your team members by always planning certain events for the same day of the week at the same time. One of our favorite IT-related clients organizes two events every week, “Learn at Lunch” on Wednesdays and an “After-Work Party” on Thursdays. This helps their team members stay organized and plan other activities with the rest of their social circle.
The Power of Special Events
You have the power to surprise your team with special events, so take full advantage of that. Remote teams crave social/fun interactions. Give these to them.
Internal Product/Service Presentations
Has a team achieved something that will have company-wide impact? Create a special event for them. Not the typical PowerPoint, writing-emails-while-I-attend, kind of event. Prepare something fun. Make the different people involved in the development of the product or service present it in a creative way, include anecdotes between presentations, and make the event interactive.
It’s not easy to plan things like this in a remote setting. We have more than 10 years of experience organizing such events, so contact us. We’d be happy to help you.
Holiday Related Parties
Take all of your typical holiday-related parties and strengthen them for your virtual office. Employees look forward to these. They offer a chance to take their relationships with other team members to the next level, to feel like they belong, and to reconnect with the company.
Embrace and celebrate the multiculturalism of your team. (Here’s a course that will help you work better in a multicultural setting.) Curiosity is one of the main human drivers, so feed it using the multicultural diversity of your team.
In order to be successful, these kinds of celebrations require a good amount of preparation – especially if you want to surprise your team members. We have a lot of ideas. Let us know if we can help you.
You can be sooo creative for these! Here’s one tip: Think about the personality of the person whose birthday is being celebrated and build the party while keeping that in mind. If they’re a deep person, choose an activity that will connect with team members on a more profound level. If they’re a fun or lively person, go for a themed party full of fun activities. If they’re studying French, go for a France-themed party. Just make it personal. We’ve compiled hundreds of team activities you can use.
Create new events
It’s time to think outside the box. Why? To keep your team together, you’ll need to organize more events than when you were in the office. Not only that, but you’ll also need to make them fun.
Awards for Challenges
Challenges are so popular, so why not bring them to your company? Create a set of challenges that employees can do remotely and announce a grand awards ceremony for the end. HR and middle management can be in charge of coming up with the idea, but they don’t have to do all the work. You might be surprised by how much people are happy to host and co-organize these kinds of events.
The benefits are clear: increased motivation, increased identification with the company, a stronger connection with the company culture, and increased knowledge of the people working in other departments. Transversal activities, which reach across departments, help the company stay strong.
In-Company Networking Events
On a remote team, it’s harder to get to know the people working in other departments. But your new best friend might just be in a neighboring department and in a remote setting, it can be hard to meet that person. The common denominator for team members is that they all share the same values as a company.
Why not promote people from different departments getting to know each other better? Plan regular networking events for team members, starting the event with a very organized beginning. Then, at the end of the event, break the room up into different groups and let them just talk. Here’s another tip: Make sure to ask for feedback. Great ideas for future events will come from these meetings.
The sky’s the limit, but we don’t always have time to think of everything. Come to us with your needs and tell us what exactly you want to achieve. We’ll give you creative options for your events and prepare the meeting structure for them.
Surprise with a virtual party
If your company is trying to enhance its online positioning and be among the top companies in this medium, what better way than to host a virtual party? A virtual press conference? An online product launch? Invite the press and your own VIP list to a unique, inimitable and one-of-a-kind event that is sure to create a buzz.
If you have a company where your customers or workers are on the web, like a software as a service company, what's better than to connect with them at a virtual party? Celebrate your company's birthday and surprise them all with activities, networking opportunities, concerts, gifts... surprise your customers!
Technology makes it possible
Thanks to the latest advances in technology, we can plan events with our customers or teleworkers. From simple meetings on Skype with activities to motivate the team to online Ping-Pong games through Google Hangout; and even Christmas parties where secret-Santas give gifts chosen special for the recipient and awards ceremonies for our employees.
We can apply these new technological advances in a way that humanizes the medium and builds relationships much like in onsite offices.
A virtual event for every business objective
The particular objective you have for your business will determine what kind of event to plan, here are just a few ideas:
- Building customer loyalty: VIP Meetings, webinars, parties for charity...
- Product launches: Press conferences, parties
- Team motivation: Anniversaries, Christmas, award ceremonies, webinars, online sports competitions, conferences...
We take care of everything:
Depend on Our Team to handle all aspects before, during and after your online event.
- Concept, strategy and creation of the event based on your company's specific needs, where the participants are from, languages, type of audience...
- Invitations and guest list.
- Logistics, atmosphere, decoration, technical characteristics...
- Marketing: promotion, publicizing and communication.
- Production of the event.
- Post-event analysis with statistics and impact.