The days of meeting in person for networking reasons at an industry conference or dinner are long gone. In today's environment, face-to-face meetings are as risky as walking through a minefield. Many firms, especially marketing experts, rely on networking to stay afloat. Networking during a pandemic has become more of a need than an option. While networking remains prevalent in 2021, social distancing and remote work have made it difficult to follow.
Host Virtual Events!
Networking isn't restricted to face-to-face meetings and large conferences, however. There are simple ways to develop and expand your network no matter where you are. Hosting virtual events is a cost-efficient, convenient, and sure-fire way to connect personally and professionally. Professional event planners still very much prefer virtual conferences because the benefits are much more, especially during COVID where attending an event in-person at a designated venue is practically impossible by law. The less talked about the importance of virtual events is the environmental benefits it offers. The development of event technology has made hosting virtual events seamlessly. Another aspect is virtual marketing which is very important in getting a wide targeted audience for virtual events. Here, marketers use digital marketing strategies to create awareness about their brand to a wide audience. They work intending to make their content go viral. Viral marketing is about taking deliberate technical steps to spread messages fast. Think of how biological viruses spread, it goes from one person to the other. The same concept applies to viral marketing, the message goes from one person to another thus creating a large number of views through a considerable amount of shares. A viral marketing campaign should be emotional, it should trigger positive emotions in anyone exposed to the message.
Source: Buzzsumo We had the pleasure of interacting with some of the top experts in the marketing industry! They shared some insights on the upwards trends in virtual marketing:
How do you use virtual events to enhance your marketing operations? (webinars, B2B marketing meetings, virtual conferences, etc.)
“As a frequent speaker and host of in-person events in Silicon Valley, I am excited to see how virtual events are now helping the audience from outside the region to participate and gain value. Thanks to the chat feature, it’s easy to connect 1:1 with at least 10x more people than during an in-person event. We’re participating in virtual events to help people understand how content marketing can help their businesses grow.”
- Sylvia Gorajek, Founder and Head of Content Marketing at B Magnetic Sylvia suggests that virtual events are great sensitization initiatives to help businesses grow, share and connect.
Has the transition from in-person to remote/online work helped to grow and expand your business/reach?
According to Sylvia Gorajek: “The transition motivated everyone to go even more online and be open to businesses from different parts of the country. More activity on Linkedin, more frequent events and the convenience of speaking publicly from the comfort of your home have tremendously helped scale the business reach.”
“Without a doubt, it’s helped to grow to reach overall. People have been more willing to get on a short video call. Plus, it allows for a lot more opportunity to connect with anyone, anywhere without the worry, hassle, and expense of travel.”
-Vincent Orleck, President of Social Media Club PHX These perspectives show that the transition from in-person to remote/online work has helped businesses grow, and created new opportunities for cross-border expansion.
Are virtual events here to stay beyond 2021?
“In 2021 and moving forward, it is safe to say that virtual events will continue to be critical to build brand awareness, generate sales leads, and create and sustain a community. Whether it is a webinar, a virtual summit, a virtual conference, or regular video conferencing meetings with customers or partners, virtual events will continue to be a critical part of enterprise marketing, especially for B2B companies, moving forward.”
-Neil Schaffer, CEO, PDCA Social Digital & Social Media Marketing Consultant, Speaker & Author at Neil Schaffer "Universities have done virtual workshops and conferences along with internal and external team meetings.”
-Vincent Orleck, President of Social Media Club PHX Neil’s and Vincent’s opinions indicate an upward trajectory in virtual events, and that it will not be out of trend anytime soon.
What virtual events “use case” do you utilize the most in your virtual events? Why? (video conferencing, virtual networking, etc.)
“Video conferencing, chat, and virtual networking in random groups have proven to be essential for almost any conference we are a part of.”
- Sylvia Gorajek, Founder and Head of Content Marketing at B Magnetic Vincent held a similar view: “By far it’s video conferencing in sessions and panels as part of a bigger event.”
-Vincent Orleck, President of Social Media Club PHX Video conferencing is the crux of virtual events. Arguably the most essential, however, chats and other features make the interaction more enhanced.
Do you see your company incorporating virtual events 2 years from now to help perform business operations?
“definitely even sooner than that...I’m confident that we'll be using virtual events going forward in a bigger way than prior to 2020.”
-Vincent Orleck, President of Social Media Club PHX Furthermore, virtual connectivity looks like a permeant option for firms looking to expand and tap into areas explored, but not exploited:
“Virtual events will remain a staple of our marketing strategy well beyond the return of in-person events. For us, we find that virtual events provide significant benefits for our community of attendees. They can attend from anywhere, watch on-demand, and engage more deeply with the content. Plus, we're able to iterate faster on virtual events since they don't have the overhead and pre-planning required.”
-Kevan Lee, Head of Marketing at Oyster HR said: These similar views show companies' interest to continue hosting virtual events post-pandemic and making them a fundamental part of their business operations.
In conclusion, based on our conversations, we believe that many companies will continue with the virtual format of event hosting. Eventually, some companies may want to go hybrid, that is, the combination of in-person and virtual event hosting. While some companies may want to go back to in-person event hosting, there has been a shift in how companies connect with their customers. Virtual events are highly effective and successful. It would be the right step in the right direction for companies to continue to go virtual. There will likely be fewer in-person events in the future while virtual events become the norm. Here are 5 ways virtual events drive business goals.