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Hosting a Successful Virtual Event
When we think of events, we usually imagine a large group of people gathered together – but it doesn’t always have to be this way!
Even in the face of pandemics which can make meeting in-person difficult, your corporate event, conference, trade show or exhibition can still go on. With modern technology, you can bring your event online by holding a virtual event.
What is a virtual event?
Virtual events are simply events that are held online. It could be an online webinar, a Zoom meeting or a virtual exhibition.
Instead of gathering at one location, people from all over the world can join your event, as long as they have access to the internet. It doesn’t matter if they are unable to travel down to attend your event in-person, they can still participate from the comfort of their own homes or wherever else they might be! That also means that you can reach out to a wider audience.
Another plus point about virtual events is that they can help to cut costs. There might not be a need to book a grand venue or rent extensive equipment. Moving events to the online world can help to reduce the budget while still bringing in a large group of audience.
While some events are completely virtual, you can also consider having a mix of both in-person and virtual components. These are also known as hybrid events.
What is needed to host a virtual event
For your guests, virtual events can be accessed with a smart device. But on your end, there may be a need for some equipment set-up and installation of software.
To host a virtual event, you may need video production equipment, virtual event platform software as well as a green screen studio.
Whether it’s a pre-recorded video or a live-streamed event, you would need a high-quality recording to ensure that your audience can view the event smoothly. No glitches, no confusion.
Having a good video production can also help your virtual attendees to feel as if they are present at your event in-person. This is especially important if you’re planning a large-scale or external event like a virtual fair or trade show.
In such cases, multiple cameras might need to be set-up to provide a comprehensive viewing experience. Good-quality cameras are also important to ensure clear audio and visuals for your audience and would prove to be helpful when you’re editing the clips as it gives more flexibility.
You might want to engage a virtual event production company to provide video production with the latest equipment, help you set them up, integrate video feed with virtual event platform software and oversee the entire virtual event production.
Virtual Event Platform Software
If you are planning to do just a one-way video streaming, you can hold a live stream on social platforms such as Facebook Live, YouTube Live, LinkedIn Live and Vimeo – find out more about live streaming platforms and services here.
But otherwise, you might want to choose a platform software that’s more specific to your event needs:
1) Webinar Platforms
If you’re organising a webinar, On24, Webex and GoToWebinar make good webinar platforms. These platforms have functional features such as Q&A, pools and post-event surveys that can increase audience engagement. You can also opt to have captions on a live stream, breakout rooms and in-built chat. Other features include recording of video, screen sharing, content moderation, annotation and drawing tools.
GoToWebinar in particular, can support a large group of up to 5000 participants for the Enterprise Plan!
2) Online Meeting Platforms
For online meetings, popular meeting platforms include Webex, GoToMeeting and Zoom.
Besides being suitable for webinars, Webex is also a good option for online meetings as you can host them with HD video, clear audio and screen sharing functions. For more interactive webinars, you can look at Webex Events.
Coming from the same company as GoToWebinar, GoToMeeting works as an online chatroom for group discussions whereas GoToWebinar has a speaker-audience format that is more suitable for presentations and seminars.
Lastly, Zoom has a simple interface that makes it easy to use. It also offers a premium plan at a low monthly cost.
3) Virtual Event Platform
What about a virtual fair, virtual trade show or virtual exhibition? Such events may seem hard to go online, but virtual event platforms Vfairs, Hopin and Run the World can support them!
The three platforms enable the audience to navigate the virtual venue with ease in a visually rich environment and can simulate a physical event with stunning virtual lobbies and interactive spaces. They also allow multiple hosts or speakers and have features to increase engagement such as Q&A, polls and post-event surveys.
Notable mention goes to Vfairs, a virtual expo platform with booths and conversation starter tools. It has exceptionally good customer reviews on Capterra, a company that does research and user reviews on software applications.
Green Screen Studio
Having a green screen allows you to create a personalised background for your event. If your event has a theme, creating a virtual environment can be one way to adhere to it!
Though not always necessary, a green screen provides an opportunity to include branding in your event and set your desired atmosphere. You can also add interesting visual effects, animations and motion graphics to your virtual event, making your event seem more fun and memorable.
A green screen is usually portable and easy to transport. Green screens come in many shapes and sizes, and you can choose to buy one or rent a green screen studio facility for more proper professional setup.
Some video conferencing services have green screen feature option, and you can enable it when you are using green screen. For instance, Zoom’s virtual background feature and green screen option allow you to have a still image or video as your background. You can use that feature with green screen to show a presentation or hide a messy background.
Tips for a successful virtual event
Beyond choosing the right platform, there are several other factors to consider to ensure a successful event. Since there’s no face-to-face interaction, it is all the more important that you plan your virtual event in such a way that will still engage attendees!
Like face-to-face events, it is important to set-up an event website to garner attention and direct your viewers to sign up for your event. Your website should include a write-up on the significance of your event, the event schedule and its details, FAQs and a registration link. To remind your attendees of the event, use emails and social media to keep them informed and updated before the event.
Here are a few more good practices to adopt for your event:
- Have an event host to facilitate your event for a more intimate and authentic experience
- Record your event to re-purpose them as marketing materials
- Make use of chat tools on the virtual event platforms and/or a mobile event application to connect with your audience. A messaging system helps to connect your attendees, allowing them to network and talk one-on-one with each other or in groups
- Track registration data and attendee participation and conduct post-event surveys to improve further events and create more interaction
Holding a Virtual Event
Don’t fret if you need to cancel an in-person event, as there’s the option to make a quick shift to make it virtual instead. All you might need is a video production crew and a virtual event platform software – hosting a virtual event can be simple and successful!