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10 Virtual Events Best Practices You Should Know

Virtual Events
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Remo Staff

Hoyin Cheung

9 mins

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Updated:

April 23, 2024

Top 10 Best Practices for Hosting a Virtual Event
Table of Contents

As the world goes digital, virtual events are the new foundation for strong connections and networking. But moving from physical spaces to online ones brings its own set of hurdles and possibilities. In this guide, we will explore seven best practices that will help you create a successful virtual event that leaves a lasting impression on your attendees.

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1. Define Your Objectives and Audience

Before you go deeper into the planning of your virtual event, you need to know why you’re hosting this event and who you’re hosting it for. 

Defining your goals and audience will set the stage for everything else that follows – the format, your promotion strategies, what technology to select, and how to keep everyone engaged. 

This guide is your roadmap, packed with examples and real-life stories to help you nail this vital first step. 

Step 1: Set Clear Objectives

What do you want to achieve with your event? Is it to generate leads, educate attendees, build brand awareness, facilitate networking opportunities, or something else entirely? Setting a SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound) goal will help guide your event planning and ensure a focused and successful outcome.

Once you have identified your objectives, it's important to communicate them effectively to your team and stakeholders. This will ensure that everyone is aligned and working towards a common goal. Consider creating a mission statement or a vision board to visualize the desired outcome of your virtual event.

Step 2: Who's Coming to This Party?

Knowing your target audience is crucial for hosting a virtual event that resonates with attendees and meets their expectations. For example, a virtual conference on digital marketing might attract marketing pros, agency owners, and business owners who want to rock their online presence.

Conduct market research (surveys, social media, and past event info) to understand their needs, preferences, and pain points. This will help you tailor your event content and format to address these insights, providing valuable and relevant information to your target audience.

Engaging with your target audience before and after the event can further enhance the attendee experience. Consider sending out surveys or polls to gather feedback and understand their expectations. This will not only help you improve your event but also build a stronger connection with your audience before it even starts.

Step 3: Content that Rocks and a Format that Fits

Use what you learned about your target audience to pick topics and speakers that directly address their interests and challenges. This will result in higher attendee satisfaction and increased engagement.

When choosing your event format, remember to keep in mind both your event objective and your target audiences’ preferences. Consider incorporating keynote presentations, panel discussions, workshops, and interactive Q&A sessions. Adding a variety of formats will cater to different learning preferences and keep attendees actively involved.

For example, an education non-profit might host a series of small, interactive virtual workshops on literacy development strategies for educators and parents. 

2. Choose the Right Platform

After defining your event needs, it's decision time. Choosing the right virtual event platform is one of the most important factors for hosting a successful virtual event. With so many popular options out there (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Hopin, Remo), it can be difficult to make that decision. So, it’s helpful to focus on a few key factors:

  • Focus on features: Identify each platform's strengths and see if they align with your event goals. Do they have the features you need for your event (breakout rooms, webinar-mode, whiteboard)? What kinds of interactive features do they offer (polls, Q&A, chat)?
  • Ease-of-use: Test the platform yourself first – is it easy-to-use? Look for event platforms that offer intuitive interfaces and clear instructions.
  • Customization options: With so many virtual events happening, it’s important that yours stands out as memorable, so select a platform that makes it easy to make your event your own.
  • Price matters too: Choose what fits your budget.
  • Do your research: Read user reviews, watch demos, and talk to the platforms. This gets you the inside scoop to find a platform that excels in both logistics and attendee engagement.

Check out how Remo's Virtual Event Platform can help you boost attendance and engagement!

3. Engaging Content is Key

A virtual event will not be successful without engaging content. As the event organizer it’s your job to come up with interesting content and deliver it in a way that captures audience attention. In an online setting, that job becomes even harder, when it’s so easy to get distracted..

Here are some strategies and tips for creating engaging content:

A. Diversify Your Content Formats

  • Mix it Up: Make your presentation interesting and less boring by adding images and videos to your text. This caters to different learning styles and keeps your audience engaged.
  • Show, Don't Tell: instead of just presentations, consider adding live demonstration or walkthrough for technical topics or product demos. It adds a practical element, makes it far more dynamic and makes it easier for your attendees to understand the value.
  • Teleport Your Audience:  Offer virtual tours of places, manufacturing processes, or anything visually explorable. It's a great way to immerse attendees in the topic.

B. Leverage Live Interactions

  • Live Q&A: Open the floor for live Q&A! Let attendees ask questions in real time, either by typing in the chat or speaking up directly. This creates a two-way conversation and keeps your audience engaged.
  • Interactive Polls & Surveys: Liven things up with polls and surveys during your event. Get instant feedback and see what interests your audience. This helps you tailor the content on the fly and keep them hooked.

C. Liven Up Your Event with Interactive Activities!

  • Dive Deeper: Break into smaller groups for focused discussions or workshops. This lets participants tackle specific topics and get more engaged.
  • Test Your Knowledge: Make learning fun with quizzes! Include quizzes based on your event content, letting attendees test their knowledge while keeping things light.
  • Game On!: Boost engagement with gamification! Turn learning into a friendly competition by incorporating points, leaderboards, or participation rewards.

D. Focus on High-Quality Visuals and Audio

  • Stunning Graphics & Videos: Don't settle for boring visuals! Invest in high-quality graphics and video production. Eye-catching content keeps attendees hooked and engaged.
  • Crystal-Clear Audio: Make it sound amazing! Ensure your event has flawless audio. Fuzzy sound quickly disengages attendees and drowns out valuable content.

E. Use Storytelling Techniques

  • The Power of Story: Weave storytelling into your presentations. Stories make complex points relatable and memorable, leaving a lasting impression.
  • Real-World Examples: Showcase the "why" with case studies. Share real-world examples that highlight the practical applications of the theories or concepts you're discussing. This adds credibility and sparks audience interest.

4. Robust Event Promotion

Reaching your target attendees is not easy. A strategic approach should be applied. Using social media, email marketing, and partnerships are your keys to maximize registrations. Below are tips on how to use these channels effectively:

Social Media Promotion

  • Create a hashtag people would easily remember. Use it in all your posts and ask the sponsors, speakers, and other attendees to use it. 
  • Share a sneak peek of your event like speaker interviews, behind-the-scenes and others to build anticipation. 
  • Post updates, live sessions, reels, and stories on different platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and others. 
  • Respond to inquiries, messages, and questions promptly. 
  • You may use targeted ads on social media platforms to expand your reach.
  • Don’t focus on all social platforms at once, pick a few that your target audience spends most time on and do those well. 

Email Marketing

  • Craft personalized messages that resonate with each of your attendee groups.
  • Reward those who sign up early.
  • Send regular updates to attendees. 
  • Send reminders to attendees as the event gets closer. 
  • Do not forget to send appreciation after the event. 

Partnership

  • Look for organizations, influencers, and leaders with a wider audience that would be interested in your event. They will be your partner in reaching the right people. 
  • Propose a partnership that will benefit you and your partner. 
  • Work with your partner on co-promoting the event. 
  • Attract sponsors who can add value to your event. 

5. Technical Rehearsal and Support

Your virtual event is like a grand performance, and just like any great show, it needs a flawless opening night. That's where your technical rehearsal comes in - it's like a dress rehearsal for the digital stage!

Before the big day, get your whole crew together - speakers, hosts, and the tech team. This rehearsal is more than just checking mics and slides; it's about making everyone comfortable with the platform and agenda. Run through everything, from links and transitions to interactive elements, just like a live audience is watching.

Use this practice session to smooth out any bumps. See if there are awkward pauses, clunky transitions, or unclear cues. It's your chance to adjust the lighting (figuratively speaking!) so that every speaker delivers a powerful presentation and your message hits home.

Imagine your tech team as superheroes, always ready and prepared to deal with any glitches that could affect the digital flow. It does not matter if it is a speaker lagging, video on the fritz or your audience is having a problem logging in, your tech team will be there to fix any issue and keep the event running smoothly. 

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6. Maximize Attendee Interaction and Engagement

Engaging your audience throughout the event is key to keeping them actively involved and interested. Incorporating interactive elements and facilitating networking opportunities can help achieve this goal. Here are some tips to make your event memorable for attendees:

  • Networking Hotspots: Think of these as cozy corners in the digital world. Create virtual networking lounges with random breakout sessions. It’s like seeing your favorite people at a coffee break. 
  • Deep Dive Discussions: Divide your audience into smaller groups with breakout rooms. They will serve as think tanks for specific workshops, project collaborations, or topics. 
  • Get Rid of the Lecture Vibe and Gamify Your Event: Make your event exciting. Use quizzes, games, surveys, and polls with rewards to turn passive listening into active participation. Bonus points if you respond to their questions and comments, this makes them feel heard and valued.

7.  Accessibility and Inclusivity

Imagine everyone feeling welcome and engaged at your virtual event. That is how you will make the event accessible and inclusive. Accessibility is not a checklist, you tick points off of; it’s about creating a space where everybody can participate, connect, and learn.

Here's how to open the door to a wider audience:

  • Captioning: Captions are like subtitles, ensuring everyone can follow regardless of your audience's disability or distraction such as hearing ability, background noise, or language fluency.
  • Sign Language Interpreters: For some individuals, sign language is their means of communication. Adding sign language interpreters shows that you value their participation and creates a personal connection. 
  • Technology that Works for Everyone: Make sure that the platform you choose will work well with screen readers. It is also important that your audience will be able to navigate with a keyboard instead of a mouse. 

8. Follow-Up and Feedback

Your virtual event doesn't end when the last attendee leaves. It's important to follow up with attendees by sending post-event emails, surveys, or personalized messages. 

Show appreciation for their participation and gather feedback to understand how your attendees felt and how you can improve future events. Act on the feedback received to continuously enhance your virtual event strategy and ensure that each subsequent event is better than the last.

The best part is that when you ask for feedback, it shows that you care about the attendee's experience. This is also a good way to keep them connected even after the event. Using their feedback to make your future events better, only shows that you value their opinion and will continue to work to make things better. 

9. Leverage Analytics for Insight

Take full advantage of the easy data and analytics that virtual events offer. Get rid of spreadsheets full of boring numbers - this is about getting real insights into what resonates with your audience. 

You will see the difference in your future events. More people will attend, they will stick around longer and they will interact more in the event. You can compare your previous events with your present events to see how you’re progressing as well. 

But the true goldmine here is what you can do with this intel. Imagine having a cheat sheet for planning future events! You can tailor the content, format, and engagement strategies based on what truly captures your audience's attention. For example, if you saw a drop-off 20 minutes into a presentation, maybe at the next event you should consider shorter, more interactive presentations.

Think of it as a two-way conversation. You learn from their behavior, and they get an even better experience next time around. Data becomes the key to unlocking truly legendary virtual events – events that leave your audience engaged, informed, and wanting more!

10. Sustainability and Social Responsibility

Virtual events are already a win for the environment by cutting out travel and big venues. But there's more you can do to make them super eco-friendly!  This could involve using technology that uses less energy or partnering with companies that prioritize green practices.

Virtual events can also be a force for good!  You can use your platform to shine a light on important issues, raise money for charities, or even dedicate parts of the event to social responsibility initiatives.  This not only helps make the world a better place, but it also shows your attendees you care about the same things they do. It's a win-win!

Hosting virtual events has become an essential practice for businesses seeking to engage their audience in today's digital age. By understanding and implementing these 10 virtual event best practices, businesses can create memorable and successful virtual events that deliver value to both participants and organizers. With the right approach and attention to detail, virtual events can be an impactful and efficient way to connect with a global audience.

Hoyin Cheung

Hoyin Cheung is the Founder & CEO of Remo, where he focuses on enhancing the authenticity of connections at virtual events. With a wealth of experience in event planning, he translates his insights into compelling content aimed at improving virtual interactions. His mission is to empower event professionals with practical tips to foster genuine connections in every virtual gathering.

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