Virtual events existed in an anemic way before 2020; now that the world has shifted online, because of COVID-19, virtual events have become the new normal – for both hosting and attending these types of large gatherings.
For those of us in the digital marketing world, it’s been relatively easy for us to do this pivot (in fact, it’s more of a transition). For others, the change has been harder. There are challenges with everything from finding the right platform for hosting events to figuring out how to do “what we used to do” at these virtual events as attendees. You remember going to events, don’t you? What was your purpose? To meet colleagues, learn what’s new, finding new vendors, or even get new clients, as well as networking with peers to hear about job opportunities.
If you’ve not yet tried one, or you haven’t seen one done well, this blog post is for you. Here’s what I’ve learned so far from these new virtual events.
- You can still have one-to-one interactions
When you’re at a live event, there can be unplanned and totally spontaneous meetings and interactions – these are some of the “most missed” aspects of these large, interpersonal activities.
I think we’re all feeling the Zoom fatigue at this point. The phrase was coined in April so, now that we’re into summer, some of us are feeling “enough is enough.” I’m all in for learning, especially in the digital world where the pace of change is as fast as you can read. But listening to people talk for almost an hour is way behind my capacity to sit in a chair.
If you feel this way, too, know that not all virtual events have to be this way. There are many new and exciting platforms that can accommodate and even encourage these spontaneous meetings – either in small groups or one-to-one.
- You can sponsor a booth – or visit a sponsored booth – just like “in real life”
There are many capabilities now available for companies that had booths at expos and conferences to show off their latest hardware, software, goods and services. As a booth sponsor, it’s really like you’re there, visiting with someone in real time and speaking with them about what interests them. You can hear about what they’d like to see and you can do demos, based on what you’d like to show them. It’s a great way to showcase and see what’s new, exciting and different.
- You can “wander” the various areas, just like an event
Isn’t that half the fun as an attendee? Wandering around the floor to see where everything is – from the plenary sessions to the exhibit hall to the networking rooms and spaces. If you’re like me, you begin by circling a bit, to figure out the layout, see what’s going on, plan your day and what you want to see, and then go.
If you think that virtual events are just like sitting in a Zoom meeting, you need to see what’s out there! Planning a virtual event for the first time? Contact me and let’s discuss how it might work.