16 Best Practices to Rock Your Virtual Event Content, Exhibits, Sponsorships, and Networking
Maeve Carey, Conference Managers
Deanne Rockola, Sponsorship Boost
Andrea Schermerhorn, Sponsorship Boost
Corey Siembieda, Conference Managers
By now, we hope you’ve read our blog series on virtual events. If not, you can read our posts on virtual event strategy, technology, networking, marketing, and ROI. In our final installment in the series, we’re going to conclude with best practices for your virtual event.
Overall, there are three main areas you need to consider when creating your virtual event: content, exhibits and sponsorships, and networking. Think about the big picture and what is most important to your association and attendees.
Engagement and Production Matter When It Comes to Content
The production level of your sessions including introduction videos, scrolling ads, timer countdowns, music, scrolling notes about sponsors, or updates, is important. Investing in high-quality production helps keep virtual event attendees engaged.
Shorten the duration of sessions because attention spans are shorter online than in person. Try a conversational format with multiple people talking to each other. A variety of speakers makes for a more engaging discussion.
Ensure that your content is accessible for the visually challenged, hard of hearing, and those who might need translations.
To make sure your content is well done:
● Pre-record presentations so that you have them ready if the streaming video fails for any reason
● Allocate time for presenter orientation to ensure it runs glitch-free
● Address time zone differences
● Troubleshoot technical glitches
● Assign a facilitator/moderator to engage the remote audience
● Capture real-time feedback
● Plan for strong customer support
● Treat attendees as collaborators
Address the Needs of Exhibitors and Sponsors
The needs of exhibitors and sponsors are just as important as the needs of an attendee. Their experiences can determine whether your organization continues to hold virtual events in the future.
To ensure their return on investment is positive:
● Leverage sponsors as partners.
● Select software that allows for matchmaking, video calls and discussion boards within the virtual exhibit hall.
● Show your exhibitors and sponsors how to use the virtual booth format and how to make the most of it.
● Showcase exhibitor services or products that can translate virtually.
● Allow exhibitors/sponsors an option of digital communications.
Add in Cool Networking Functions
For many people, the best part of in-person events is the networking and social element. It is possible to make the same true of virtual or hybrid events!
● Get social media ambassadors in the community to promote the virtual event.
● Select software that allows for matchmaking, video calls, and discussion boards within sessions.
● Build breaks into the schedule.
Build a New Events Model
Final thoughts – virtual events are at their prime due to current world circumstances, but it doesn’t need to end. Virtual events and hybrid events can become an important part of your new events model. Bringing in virtual elements and combining them with in-person functions can increase the reach of your event, attracting new, more diverse audiences, who may not have had the time or resources to attend in person previously.
To learn more about virtual events, download our free ebook. In addition, you can contact us for help transitioning your meetings and events model to include virtual events. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.