Virtual Event Ideas to Explore
Virtual events are nothing new, however, over 60% of event organisers who responded a recent poll indicated that they had never been involved in planning a virtual event.
With the outbreak of the coronavirus and stay-at-home orders around the world, virtual events have become the only way forward in the recent months — and likely into the following year. This has caused many to drastically shift their mindsets and planning processes to embrace the virtual format and everything that comes with it, such as unfamiliar technology, sponsorship opportunities, and networking options.
As more events geared towards going online and the industry focuses on delivering value virtually, let us take a look at some of the creative ideas and best practices that has emerged during this period, for your own upcoming virtual events!
Digital Live Scribing During Sessions
Bringing artists on board to create real-time illustrations is a great way to engage your audience with a unique type of content. These talented illustrators create artwork live as panel discussions go on, providing a graphical representation of the speakers and takeaways that are entertaining, informative, and most importantly, highly shareable!
The artwork can also subsequently used in marketing materials and reports. Digital live scribing makes it easy to bring out key insights from the sessions in a way that is fun to look at.
Live Games or Competitions
As part of Salesforce’s World Tour Sydney Reimagined virtual event, they incorporated a live “battle of the apps” competition between exhibitors, complete with audience voting.
During this session, these exhibitors were given three minutes each to do a live demonstration of their apps. The audience was then asked to vote for their favourite using a dedicated link that was accessible for 24 hours following the session, and the winner was announced the next day.
Involving your sponsors and exhibitors through this sort of competition is a creative way to provide engaging demos while also keeping your attendees engaged. Making the demonstrations succinct is also beneficial, taking into consideration that many attendees of virtual events will be facing some form of distractions on way or another, while viewing at home. Plus, this kind of activity will keep people engaged even after the event, as they check back and engage with the event’s social media pages to see who won.
Just because we’ve moved into an unprecedented era of digitalising our events, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have some fun and entertainment. Certain entertainment opportunities, such as musical performances, can translate very well to virtual events.
There have already been several entirely virtual concerts during these period such as, One World: Together at Home concert that happened in April. The event was hosted by Global Citizen and the World Health Organization and was streamed on most major social media and streaming platforms.
For performances, it can be pre-recorded or live. For live-streamed performances, you can add song dedications as a special touch to your event.
Many people are missing concerts, shows, and countless other in-person experiences due to the pandemic, so incorporating some sort of performance is a nice way to bring entertainment directly to them. Just like every other part of the industry, event entertainment companies are pivoting to virtual and can assist with bringing different types of entertainment to your online event.
Perks to Engage Online
Giveaways are always a good incentive to increase engagement with attendees and can be a fun addition to a virtual event. In fact, you can even save the logistics hassle to hand an attendee their physical prize, by offering virtual goodies.
As part of their event, Google SheetsCon hosted an incredibly popular contest to win one of 25 swag bags that they had put together with branded event shirts and stickers. In order to win, participants had to share something about the event on social media using the dedicated event hashtag, or visit at least 5 of the sponsor booth pages during the event. Making use of criteria like these helps increase brand awareness and also works to engage attendees!
This is only the beginning of virtual events and as they continue to take place — especially from major companies like Facebook and Microsoft that have now cancelled all live events through mid-2021 — there will undoubtedly be more innovation to look to for inspiration.
By using some of these ideas as guidance to continue delivering event experiences to attendees and stakeholders from the comfort of home, start to plan your virtual event as far in advance as you can and know the tools, marketing strategy, and ticket type you’ll need to make your online get-together a success.