Some events such as natural disasters, industrial revolution 4.0, change the way we run businesses and cause a gradual shift towards new normal. Global Pandemic has forced us to rethink how we operate on many levels, can we survive in work from a home model, do we have enough protective gear for gig workers on the roads, telemedicine and tele-education are being adopted on a wider scale. The scope of virtual events has also increased tremendously amid all these changes since some business will operate even amid natural disasters.
Businesses are finding innovative ways to connect with their customers and serve clients while maintaining the schedule. Schools and colleges are coming up with timetables suitable for home-school-education while boarding parents for video conferencing. They may need to educate parents or engage students through some fun webinars, which again is an event. Even for brick and mortar businesses, a virtual event is a great idea to connect with the audience and engage them for loyalty. The more people remember them, the more likely are the chances that they will visit their shop later.
So what are virtual events?
Online sessions for any duration from 10 minutes to full-day multiple sessions are virtual events. Virtual events can have audience size from tens to thousands and a wide range of businesses can use them for employee briefing, clients pitching, students education and customer interaction.
Similar to physical events, virtual events can be categorized into private and public events. Public events have already into virtual space for a long time. Although not on such a wider scale. Livestream concerts, Q&A sessions, Ask me Anything sessions, webinars, live-tweeting, short stories on social channels, online conferences and shows are some of the examples of virtual events. You can even use online ticketing platform for conferences and workshops as with physical events. Nothing much changes for virtual conferences management, except vendor, venue and decor costs.
Private events have not been conducted virtually often, and are seeing wider acceptance now. We may have done video calls and occasional video conferencing among friends, but celebrating events virtually is a new concept. Classes, how-tos and school session by teachers is an again private virtual event. You can conduct full sessions online to get the business going.
How to manage Virtual events?
If you are going to manage an event virtually for the first time, there are lots of online tutorials and event management apps to start. You may start with ensuring you have some high-quality mobile/web camera for video and calm environment to shoot. Be it a private or public event, maintaining silence and having your content ready is also a good practice.
Be sure to engage people and make the session interactive to hold the audience attention span. You can have fun games, virtual treasure hunt, word games and hidden objects which people can find during the session.
Many video conferencing tools are available for free and some have paid subscription. You may choose your tool depending on your usage and frequency of events you want to conduct. For example, if you are conducting online school classes for kids on a daily basis, you better purchase a commercial subscription to prevent people load and bad quality of conferences. If you are conducting a one-time event like celebrating a birthday party of your kid online with friends, a free video-conferencing tool may be a better option. You can even have chat options in video conferencing tools so that people can interact in real-time with each other, as well as the host.
You can use event management apps even for private events which are for 50-100 people. Some of these apps offer free, freemium subscription for private and small scale events. Utilize them to ensure you do not forget any important detail.
Benefits of Virtual events
Virtual events have some benefits over physical events, which you should take advantage of. Some of these are:
- Venue, transportation and catering costs are zero. Most of the money allocated to these can now be instead spent on great design and technology in the event.
- Social Sharing becomes easier as the event is already online. You may record the event and people can watch it/download it later. Webinar and live streaming of conferences are some of the examples where people are already doing it.
- As people will be joining virtually, there may be greater participation. Often there are meetings, location and time constraints which force people to avoid even registering for the event.
- And of course, virtual evets can happen during an outbreak of Global pandemic and when people are home quarantined. Individuals can still conduct presentations and pitch to future clients.
The event industry is an important part of our society, which will adopt new technologies, work culture and practices best fit for survival. Virtual events are being used for many years now, So they are nothing new. So, when are you planning a virtual event for your business?