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blog | August 27, 2020

Hosting a Virtual Event in a Social Distancing World

For many businesses, planning and hosting events are very common. It is an opportunity to bring your customers together in order to learn more about them as well as...

By Courtney Perry

For many businesses, planning and hosting events are very common. It is an opportunity to bring your customers together in order to learn more about them as well as share more about your company.

With the world in a current place of quarantine and social distancing being a part of our everyday practices, hosting in-person events, meetings and conferences aren’t the safest or smartest things to do now. You may have noticed an uptick in virtual work meetings and phone conferences so that business can continue even in the midst of a world pandemic.

When it comes to events, many are being rescheduled for new times in the future, or simply being canceled, many people have opted to look at how our new virtual reality can assist with event planning.

If your business is thinking of canceling or rescheduling an event due to the current pandemic, try looking into what today’s blog post will focus on, virtual events!

What Are Virtual Events?

All done through technology, typically involving your computer, virtual events are held online and involves attendees (and the hosts) interaction on the web versus meeting all together in one physical location. With such a heavy emphasis on needing to social distance during this time, virtual events are more convenient than ever.

These types of events aim to accomplish the same thing that in-person events or meetings do, which is to educate a customer base, share new information on a company and its product as well as getting to know customers better. Virtual events can be a one day only scenario or take place on multiple days, as well as use different platforms in order to hold the event, which we will discuss next.

Ways to Host an Event Virtually

There are different ways to host a virtual event. Let’s cover some of the most common (these are virtual event types that you may have attended yourself!).

  1. Webinar: a webinar is a video workshop, presentation or lecture that is hosted online. Webinar sessions are done in order to educate an audience, demonstrate how something works and share ideas and updates with those who are attending. Webinars also bring about the opportunity to develop business relationships and establish your company brand.
  2. Livestream: a livestream event refers to an event that is being both recorded and broadcasted in real-time. Best for small and mid-sized businesses, livestreams are most effective when there will be little to interaction between the presenters and its attendees. The results of a livestream are typically that of fully produced piece.
  3. Virtual Conference: a virtual conference essentially takes the place of what an in-person conference would be like, but places it on a virtual platform. It combines pieces of live streaming and a virtual meeting (like Zoom or Microsoft teams for example) and houses the event in an interactive platform where a larger number of participants can take part. Virtual events can include registration, tickets, virtual stages and even vendor booths. It’s a bit more complex than options one and two.

Is a Virtual Event Right For Your Business?

You may be struggling with deciding to reschedule, cancel or reorganize your event to fit a virtual platform. It can be difficult to decide which is best for your business at this current moment in time. Here are some things to consider if you believe a virtual event is the right move for you.

Virtual events may take just as much time (or more!) to plan than an actual in-person event because technology is more heavily involved. You will want to bring in an IT team or additional tech experts in order to ensure that the event moves smoothly with minimal issues.

Other things to consider is whether you have participants who are willing to put together their own webinar or host a live seminar/livestream. Planning goes into who will present what and what the content of their presentations will be focused on.

You will also want to think about costs for the event: how much will it cost your business to move to a virtual platform and if you want to charge attendees for attending the event.

Marketing is incredibly important whether the event is virtual or not! If you are taking your once in-person event and moving it online, it is important to quickly communicate that to your customer base. You will want them to have all of the important and necessary details so they are able to decide if they want to or can take part in the virtual event.

Things to Remember

Remember, a virtual event can be as equally knowledgeable, fun and successful as an in-person event. There is definitely a learning curve involved, so take the appropriate amount of time to learn all about the platform you are choosing to use and how to best navigate it. It’s important to connect with customers, especially during these times. We wish you much success with planning and executing your virtual events!

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