5 Tips For Virtual & Hybrid Events
The pandemic of the past year changed how conferences and trade shows look. Now that more businesses have reopened and more people have been vaccinated, there are plans for in-person happenings to take place.
Still, some of the changes that came about due to the coronavirus are here to stay: Northstar Meetings Group found that 36% of meeting planners are focusing on hybrid events, those that have in-person and virtual components.
At this time, many may feel like they are video call pros, but when it comes to showing off your brand and insight to an online audience, there are some important factors to remember. The following five tips are helpful for all digital interactions, for all companies/organizations and, especially, for all the hybrid and virtual events to come this year and beyond!
1. Come up with a game plan.
Before heading to an industry function, you map out where you are going and staying, when you will talk, who all you are meeting with, what all you will bring… Even though some of these factors may be taken out of the equation, you still need a game plan.
When attending online, know where and how to sign in, what time to be there and who will be involved. When hosting an event, make sure all of these details and more are sent out to attendees in advance and in a clear way.
A great thing about conferences is that they bring together like-minded professionals, who will be advertising their upcoming talks. You should do the same, as this gets many more eyes on your field and your product(s)/service(s).
As soon as you have the event info, share it with your employees, customers, followers, clients and fans. Going forward, regularly send out reminders, encouraging people to come and to share the information themselves.
3. Get interactive.
A top tip for any virtual discussion is to keep interaction in mind. It can be hard to keep at-home audiences focused… unless you have engaging visuals, questions and activities! Consider including charts, pictures, Q& A sessions and demonstrations that allow conversations and that cut down on talking at the crowd.
Getting interactive is especially important when it comes to a trade show booth. In person, these may feature raffles and giveaways. Virtually, you can still hold contests, and you can mail out freebies; this is a wise way to market yourself and to incentivize people, as you send things like branded gifts and discount codes directly to homes/offices.
Before the big day, remember to troubleshoot. Anything could go wrong, from technical issues to kids interrupting the call, and you want to plan for the best experience.
Due to the virtual nature, you will want to spend some extra time on your setup, ensuring you are in a quiet, well-lit area that is free from distractions and close to a strong wi-fi signal!
5. Have follow-up conversations.
After the conference has ended, the work is still not done. You now need to have follow-up conversations. These may include hiring the go-getter you met, setting up a coffee date with a potential investor, discussing a collaboration with a similar brand and/or emailing those who showed interest in your brand.
Much of your business, including events, may be done via a screen, but this still provides a wonderful way to spread awareness and boost business.