Are online networking events the future?
In short, yes. Online networking events are indeed the future Last last year or so has shown us the importance of building meaningful relationships. Even if you can’t meet in person you can still build a strong rapport with your clients or friends. Online networking events are shooting up everywhere. But will the vaccine rollout change this? Probably not. Studies show that people have taken a preference at home events. For example, Forbes talks about how the stay-at-home economy is growing as we speak. Some of the stay-at-home benefits include:
- Better gender balance in the workplace for stay-at-home parents.
- More flexibility with work hours.
- More cost-efficient for employers.
- Increased global possibilities for your company with online networking events.
Now that we know why online events are here to stay, let’s talk about the essentials when you are networking.
Make a plan
Before your event starts make a clear plan of how your event will encourage networking. Firstly plan the answer these questions:
- Who are my guests?
- Who is my team?
- What virtual events platform will I use?
- What is my virtual events budget?
- How will I market my event?
Once your answer these questions gather your team and make goals for the event. If it’s your first virtual event I would start small and use your first event as a pilot.
Use an engaging virtual events platform
Not all virtual event platforms give the same features. You need to pick one that will help you reach your online event networking goals. Make sure the events platform allows your guests to change tables so if they’re bored they can move. Some interactive features include polling, gamification, and Q and A function.
Provide good network support
This could be the first virtual event for many of your guests, so things are new! Try your best to provide live support throughout the event. But, it’s better to solve the problem before it starts so encourage your guest to check out the virtual events platform before the event starts. As well as that, it’s also a good idea to create a list of FAQs. This might seem like a lot of work but it will pay off in the long run when you have this for future events. Also, if there are no technical issues there will be a lot of networking between guests at your online event.
Introduce your guests before the event
Send out an email in advance of the event to allow the guests to see who is attending. They could create a profile on your website with a picture and some short details of their background. This will give your guests the chance to plan some questions before the event. The short profile will spark some interesting networking opportunities for your virtual event.
Make your guests feel at home
Even though your event is happening online you need to add a personal element. Make sure to greet everyone and encourage them to turn their cameras on. The key thing is to treat them like a person in front of you- not a screen. Ask a fun question, for example, their favorite holiday destination. Try to avoid generic questions like, “how are you?”. They won’t open up any conversation and your online networking event will be a flop. For more ideas to loosen up your guests, check out this icebreaker ideas article.
Ask for feedback
Post-event surveys are a great way to collect data for your next virtual event. It also gives you a good opportunity to network with your guests after your virtual event. Your guests will feel like you really value their opinion too. Don’t forget that your guests are the people who will keep your event alive, so their opinions are a priority. No matter how much research you do, you won’t know if your event was a success until you ask your guests themselves.
Say thank you
Make sure your guests know that you appreciate them coming and thank them for their participation. Let them know about the future events you plan to host. Use your marketing strategies everywhere that you can by advertising future events. You could even send some branded goods to your attendees before or after the event to thank them for coming.
Are you ready?
Now that you have read our top essentials on virtual event networking you’re ready to make your dream event come true. As we already said, a virtual event platform is a key to your event success. Remo is the top virtual events platform, in terms of networking. With our interactive features, your guests won’t stop talking to each other.But don’t take our word for it, check it out yourself. We have a free 14-day trial so you can use the product before paying.