The coronavirus pandemic has given a big boost to the popularity of virtual events. These types of events have been around for a while, but they’ve positively ballooned in popularity in the past twelve months, almost exclusively because it has been impossible to host real-world events. The good news is that a virtual event is no poor substitute to a traditional event: you can get just as much success from one as any other kind of event. However, there are some things that you’ll need to do differently.
In this blog, we’re going to take a look at a few things that can cause a virtual event to fail. Make sure you’re not guilty of any of them!
There can be tech issues at a real conference, but they’re less likely — and in any case, usually easy to remedy. When it’s an online event, it’s much more important to stay on top of tech matters. Having the right online conference platform and checking the quality of the sound before it gets underway is essential. It can be awkward to spend time trying to fix problems in front of an audience, especially online, since at least in the real-world people get to network with their neighbor while the issue is resolved.
When it comes to an online conference, less is more. It’s much better to have a few hours of extremely relevant, high-quality content, rather than several days of talks that people have minimal interest in. When it comes to planning your event, be sure to be highly selective about what you include and don’t include. You can get away with more talks in real events, but people are more likely to become bored/distracted when they’re sitting at home, watching on their computer.
A Lack of Engagement
Real world conferences are interactive by nature. You’re meeting people, there are freebies, you feel part of the event. Online events are less naturally interactive, so it’s up to you to make them as engaging as possible. You can do this in various ways. If you incorporate a virtual photo booth, call out attendees by name, and provide a space for guests to talk to each other (a virtual happy hour is a good way to do this), then people will feel included and involved. This is in addition to the engaging content that you’ll hopefully have included in your programming.
There’s a sea of events out there. If you want people to join yours, then you’ll need to work on promoting your event extensively. Also, don’t take the attendance figure at face value. If people make plans to go to a conference, they usually show up. That’s because as well as getting a ticket to the event, they usually have to arrange travel and accommodation: it’s something that’s a vital part of their calendar. When it’s online, they’re more likely to forget. So make sure that you’re sending a nudging email in the run up to the event to remind them of all the key details.