How to create the virtual event of the year

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Written by: Natalia De la Peña Frade
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Let’s start with the obvious: A virtual event doesn’t always have the same appeal as a face-to-face event. The quality of networking is lower, the ability to meet the speakers in person is lost, and, perhaps most importantly, you can’t enjoy the delicious catered food.

Jokes aside, however, virtual events offer some important advantages. This is good news given that it is not always possible to choose. The pandemic has forced us to cancel face-to-face events around the world, starting with the internationally important Mobile World Congress.

That is why so many companies and organizations have set their sights on the world of virtual events. Check out this graph:

At Genially, we organize online events frequently, and we’re pretty good at it. We’re not saying this just to show off – we’re telling you because we’ve talked to the people on our team who contribute most to this success.

cris marcos

Cristina Marcos
Country Manager of Spain

marga gonzalez

Marga González del Hierro
Head of Training

How to create the virtual event of the year

Clara Rodríguez
Community Manager

From their experience, we have compiled the best ideas for virtual events which have worked well for us. We’ll share them with you so you can take advantage of them too! But first…

What is a virtual event?

It’s an event where interaction between participants takes place in an online environment: through a screen, rather than in a physical location.

The goals of a virtual event are the same as those of face-to-face events: to present or promote a brand or its products or services, connect with the target audience, and gain loyalty.

Virtual events make it possible to increase reach and connect with larger audiences, as people can attend from anywhere in the world. In addition, one of its main advantages is that organization costs are greatly reduced.

In short: they’re infinitely scalable, cheaper and 100% secure. These are important advantages!

Virtual events today

Have we already overcome the pandemic? No one knows. Little by little we are resuming some activities, but recovery is not going at the same pace in all parts of the world, and uncertainty is still looming.

We like to think that soon we’ll be able to meet in person like before, attend conferences, concerts, and other large events, but for the time being, the most prudent thing is to organize your event online. You don’t want to spend the days leading up to it suffering with the fear of having to cancel it, right?

Luckily, there are now many tools and platforms for holding virtual events.

In addition, social media has been adding the possibility of live broadcasting in recent years, and programs continue to compete to improve their streaming abilities. You have plenty of options to organize your event at a low cost.

What kind of virtual events exist?

Here are some of the most common kinds:

Online conferences

In an online conference, professionals and people interested in a particular sector meet virtually to discuss interesting information or news about that sector. It’s a good channel for educating the audience and generating awesome networking opportunities.

They are usually held on a regular basis. In addition, it’s common for conferences to last more than one day and include several presentations. An example? Gamification Week, or #GeniallyGames, brought together 194,200 people from 120 countries over 10 days. Our Genially Games included 14 events and attendees had access to the itinerary in advance, so they could choose which events to sign up for which was handy!

How do you organize all this information and communicate it to your audience effectively? A microsite works great for this because it allows anyone to register for events of interest with just one click. Look at the genially with the #GeniallyGames schedule:

Creating a microsite with Genially is easier than you think. You’ll find several templates specially created for scheduling and communicating events. You can display the schedule in an interactive format and integrate access forms or other information. That’s how you fulfill a basic premise: Make it very, very easy to register for your event.

Webinar

The word “webinar” can be translated as “online seminar.” It’s an educational event, perfect for training the audience on how to use your service or product and talking about its advantages.

At Genially, we host a webinar for new users each month where they can learn how to use the tool in a simple and fast way. It is held in three languages and, despite being a closed event, about 1000 people usually join. By the way, if you want to learn how to use Genially with little effort, join the next edition here.

We’ll also leave you with these tips to organize your own webinar:

  • How long does a webinar last? It can last from a few minutes to several hours. A word of advice: Make it as short as possible. If you have a lot of content to go over, share it over several sessions. This gives you more time to go in depth about interesting concepts without risking losing your audience’s attention.
  • Include a live chat to answer questions in real time. It’s a good practice to enhance participation, which is one of the keys to success. You can also leave some time at the end to respond out loud to the questions that seem most interesting to you. This will benefit the entire audience and enrich your webinar.
  • Support your talk with a presentation. Your communication will be more effective and the audience will remember the content better. Also, if your presentation includes interactivity and animation effects, your audience’s attention is guaranteed.

You don’t need to know how to code to create presentations with interactivity and animation. Genially’s presentation templates already include these features, and there are hundreds of them! Take a look at these examples.

Examples presentation templates

Online workshops

An online workshop is a virtual session that teaches the people who participate how to do something. It’s like a webinar, but unlike a webinar, it often ends with a hands-on part that uses the knowledge you’ve learned.

The online workshop will help your audience to deepen their knowledge, while also helping you stand out as a reference in your industry and helping you make your brand more present in the community.

Roundtables

A roundtable provides an opportunity to generate a debate on any topic of interest to the community. Thanks to this format, participants benefit from the sum of knowledge provided by the people involved in the debate, and gain information at a much deeper level.

To organize a roundtable, it is very important to know both the audience and the people you want to invite. It’s key to finding affinity points and achieving a result that adds value for each participant.

With this clear, we need to draw up a thread and define the questions following a logical order, and without losing sight of the time available. A good practice is to categorize the questions and plan two or three questions per category. Since it is impossible to calculate in advance how much time is going to be spent on each question, it is advisable to have some extra questions prepared in case there is a lot of time left at the end.

Livestreaming

Are you up for livestreaming? It’s perhaps the fastest, easiest and most economical type of online event. You can use social media as a platform or any other streaming tool. Streaming lets you show the most human side of your brand and have more natural interactions with your audience.

Did you know that you can stream on multiple social networks at once? This can multiply your reach and visibility exponentially, it’s worth investigating this option!

12 Tips for organizing virtual events that work

  • Choose the video platform you are going to use carefully. Make it easy for those who attend so they are not frustrated by not knowing how to use it.
  • Offer incentives for participants: Raffles, contests… Rely on your partners for this.
  • There are many online events, why should they choose yours? Find your unique value and emphasize it. Whether it’s your content, speakers, or creativity, be sure to communicate this value to your audience.
  • Make your event content dynamic and create community. We know that virtual events don’t offer much space for networking, so bringing a sense of community helps a lot.
  • Remember that it’s difficult to stay focused in front of a screen for hours. Include games, dynamics, and pauses to try to keep people from disconnecting. They may have you in the background and few people are going to be paying 100% attention.
  • Have a plan B in case the connection for a speaker fails. Prepare a video, a webinar, a slide, etc. Yes, it is extra work, but you get peace of mind in return.
  • Be focused on delivering value – it can’t just be commercial.
  • Create and respect visual consistency. Make your event shine not only with the quality of the content, but also with the appeal of its design. You can learn more about this here.
  • Make it easy and fun to interact by offering different ways to do it. Some people don’t feel comfortable writing where so many others can read their words, but they will feel comfortable “liking” a post. Other people will want their moment of glory. Whenever possible, offer all kinds of options.
  • Once the event is over, summarize it in a video or infographic. That way, other people will be able to learn the content even if they have not participated.
  • Offer the opportunity to save that content forever. You can decide whether you want to offer premium or free access.
  • Don’t forget to analyze your results. After all the work of organizing and getting the event up and running, you should spend some time looking at how it went. Review the metrics with the tools you have used to understand the scope of your event. If you created a microsite with Genially, you can monitor all the information in your Google Analytics dashboard.

How to manage your virtual event on social media for an amazing result

Before the event

Start by setting goals and defining communication channels, which will depend on your audience. The first goal will be getting people to sign up, and next are reach and engagement.

  • Make posts to the social media platforms you chose, including the name of the event, subject matter, and some additional information, such as who the speakers are or what you can learn there. Of course, don’t forget to include the link to the registration page! Also send a newsletter with information about the event.
  • Include an image in each post with a design to visually differentiate your event, giving it personality. With Genially, you can create these images very easily, choosing the format that best suits your needs or even defining the exact dimensions of your creativity.
  • Add an emoji to visually highlight the text of your post.
  • Create an event hashtag:. You’ll help identify it, you can group all the posts that are made about it, and track them. In our international gamification week, we use the hashtag #GeniallyGames.
  • How much in advance should you advertise? It depends on how often events are held in your company. In general, the advertisement can be made from one month earlier (for unique events) to about ten days earlier.
  • To create hype and set the stage for your event, you can make posts with open questions that help to dynamize the conversation. Do you want to see…? Or, What do you think they’re going to talk about…?
  • As the date of the event approaches, posts will become more frequent. In the final part, three days before the event, you can even let yourself be a little pushy: “There are only two days left, you can still sign up for…”. Always include the registration link!
  • Remember that you run the risk of the people who do not participate in the event getting tired and muting you or even unfollowing. It’s okay! You’ll attract more people than you’ll lose

During the event

Has the day of the event arrived? The goal now is to try to have the minimum possible difference between registered people and those who attend, that is to say, to gain engagement. Remember to include the event hashtag in any posts you make!

  • Before the event starts, make a post with a message such as “It’s all ready, we’re waiting for you.” Include the event link so people can join easily.
  • During the event, make another post to inform you people that you are live and the event is taking place.
  • Monitor the event hashtag to interact with people who are posting about it. Like their posts, respond, and boost the conversation as much as you can. You can even ask a question that raises a debate. Do you put this into practice? Do you agree?

After the event

Is it over? If so, then it’s time to thank the attendees, and if the event has been recorded, remind them where they can watch it again.

You can also take advantage to ask your audience if they liked the event, and generate a little conversation. Or, direct your audience to other content such as other events or related courses. You can even ask what they would like your next online event to be about.

Finally, analyze the audience’s reactions and draw your conclusions about the feelings the event generated. Did they like the speakers? Has the audience shown interest in the topic? Is it worth repeating? This will help you learn interesting things to succeed with your next virtual event as well.

Natalia De la Peña Frade
Natalia De la Peña Frade
Content creator: I try to write things you like to read
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