Need virtual event ideas? Many companies have turned to virtual events to stay connected with their customers, partners, and colleagues. But organizers are finding out the hard way that successful virtual events can be difficult to plan and execute. To help you out, here are some creative virtual event ideas to get you started.
Ideas for Types of Virtual Events to Host
Virtual events have been increasing in popularity in recent years. As virtual events become more commonplace, there are a variety of different types of events that can be utilized to meet different needs. Here is a look at some of the most common types of virtual events
- Industry Events:
- Virtual Conference
- Virtual Trade Show
- Virtual Summits
- Sales & Marketing:
- Virtual Sales Kick-Off
- Product launch events
- User or partner conferences
- Sales education & training
- Human Resources:
- Virtual recruiting and job fair
- Virtual benefits fair
- Virtual health or wellness fair
- Employee onboarding
- All hands meetings
Read the full article: The 8 Most Common Types of Virtual Events
Ideas to Use When Hosting a Virtual Event
Use a Theme
When it comes to virtual events, the challenge lies in creating a unique and engaging experience to make the event stand out. After all, it’s not just about the technology, but also the atmosphere and experience you create.
You can spice up a virtual event to make it more entertaining and engaging by using a theme.
Related article: Virtual Event Theme Ideas
Optimize the Agenda for a Virtual Format
Keep the duration of virtual events less than four hours per day to avoid screen fatigue. Shorten sessions to 30 minutes or less and allow time for Q&A, group discussions, and workshops.
Make sure to schedule “heavier” content at the beginning of the event. But, on the other hand, save the best for last.
Finally, Sprinkle in networking, smaller breakout discussions, exhibit hall time, wellness breaks, etc. between sessions vs. having virtual attendees sit and watch sessions back-to-back.
Webinars are a great way to engage with your audience, teach them new skills, and keep them up to date on the latest industry trends. Hosting a live webinar will allow your audience to interact and engage with speakers in real-time, ask questions, and get instant feedback.
Pro tip: If your speakers are in different time zones it may be difficult for him/her to present live. If so, have them pre-record the session and run it as simulated live. In this case the webinar will play to the audience as if it were live including a Q&A panel for questions. At the end of the webinar a presenter or moderator can respond to questions.
Related article: Virtual Event Speaker Tips & Best Practices
Q&A During Sessions
Attendees will always have questions – give them a chance to ask them! The best way to do Q&A virtually is through a chat, which allows a moderator to approve questions before having the speaker answer them.
Live Polling During Sessions
Engagement is the name of the game. Have speakers utilize live polling throughout sessions to gauge attendee’s opinions in real-time.
Incorporate Unique Speakers
One of the many benefits of a virtual event is that it’s easier for speakers to participate. Therefore, you might be able to snag a presenter that would not typically be available. A few well-known speakers can have a positive impact on attendance.
Related article: Speaker Fees for Virtual Events
Encourage Virtual Applause
Set the stage at the beginning of each session by instructing attendees to either use the clapping emoji (if the virtual event platform offers this option) or a simple applause indicator such as typing in exclamation marks.
Do this and watch the magic unfold. Seriously. In seconds, hundreds of “!!!!!!” will populate in the chat screen. attendees will see other attendee names, and you will cultivate a dynamic source of energy in the virtual environment. You’ll now have your guests engaged!
Design Tracks by Persona
Virtual events cannot be 8 hours long like in-person events. To shorten the event, create content tracks to meet different attendee needs. Build out sessions that align with those needs, then tag content for search to make it easier for attendees to choose the right sessions for them.
Add Production to Sessions
Produce sessions that are more like YouTube or TV to increase attendee engagement. Better production quality can add tremendous value to your event, whether it’s adding graphics, music, etc. to spice up boring slide shows.
Continuing Education Credits
Do not just offer sessions – deliver training courses and certification. Attending a virtual event needs justification and getting CE credits can do just that.
Gamification with a Live Leaderboard
Incent your attendees to cover more ground, visit sponsor booths, and add an element of fun by adding gamification challenges that keep them engaged during the event.
Pro tip: Make sure to communicate and promote how the game works in advance of the event. It is difficult to educate attendees on the day of the event.
Use broadcast messages to announce winners during the event to create excitement. Finally, you can even include a “store” inside the virtual environment where attendees can redeem their prizes.
Host Breakout Sessions
Find a virtual event platform that allows you to create topical breakout sessions for attendees. These breakouts can be used to facilitate smaller, lively discussions during or after general sessions.
Interactive Live Forums
Participants at virtual events want to feel as connected as they would at an in-person event. Offering topical forums that allows attendees to connect during live days create that connectedness they are looking for. In addition, ongoing conversations can flow during the on-demand period.
1:1 Meeting Scheduling
Sponsors and exhibitors are always looking for ways to connect with attendees. Allow attendees to self-schedule meetings with sponsors and exhibitors before the conference and have them added to their personal agenda.
Showcase Products and Services with Virtual Booths
A virtual exhibition is an online space containing an interactive environment for attendees to access content and engage with representatives during live days.
Keep Attendees Informed
Create a great looking virtual event design and programming does not mean that attendees know what to do and when. Leverage these tools to help your guests participate:
- Welcome video
- Broadcast messages
- Tip sheet with FAQs
- Help desk staffed with live chat for questions
- Navigation video
Virtual events offer a unique opportunity to bring people together in the digital space, and with so much creativity and technology available, there are a variety of ways to incorporate entertainment into your virtual event. Here are some ideas to consider when planning virtual event entertainment:
- Scavenger hunts
- Virtual photo booth
- Social media wall
- Mixology lessons during happy hour
- Magic show
- Live concert or performance
Use QR Codes
QR codes represent a massive opportunity for virtual event organizers, offering new opportunities to bolster attendee engagement and participation.
With QR codes it is easy to create clean call-to-actions to get the audience to a certain URL, to fill in a survey/poll, or to download an app. Add the QR code to a rotating banner or directly to the background to a booth and users can easily point their mobile device to the code.
Read the full article: Using QR Codes to Drive Virtual Event Engagement
Pre- and Post-Event Attendee Engagement
Engage attendees from the time they register to weeks after the event has ended. In the pre-event phase, this can include an email campaign, early access to the virtual environment, and a variety of asynchronous engagement activities such as discussion forums, competitions and games, review of pre-reading materials, having the opportunity to sign up for workshops and networking, etc.
Unique Registration for Various Attendee Types
Offering different registration options based on the type of guests or their programming interests allows you to create a more targeted experience. Depending on a participant’s registration type, you might choose to send targeted promotional content before and after your event.
If you’re charging for your virtual conference, consider offering multiple levels of access to sessions or content. Develop offerings and experiences for a standard attendee vs. a VIP guest that are worth the cost difference. Make sure that your virtual event provider has the ability to offer different ticket types as well as role-based access to sessions, rooms, and content.
Create a Hashtag for Your Event
Promote your virtual conference on social media using a hashtag. Have participants use a hashtag to post about the event and use generate a buzz.
Send Swag to Virtual Conference Participants
Swag is a favorite part of conferences. Send registrants hats, t-shirts, mousepads, branded masks, or whatever else is popular at the time. There’s nothing better than a surprise gift.
Conclusion – Lean into Creativity With Virtual Events
There is no limit on what can be done at virtual events to engage and entertain guests and sponsors. As you plan your next virtual conference, use these tips to create your best event yet.