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How to Host Virtual Events and Webinars
Virtual events such as video staff meetings, webinars, online consultations, and even concerts are on a rise. With the COVID-19 outbreak, this is a necessity, however, such events have been gaining popularity for the last couple of years. The internet empowers us to share content worldwide and allows others to enjoy it wherever they might be.
In this article, you’ll discover the most important things to consider when hosting virtual appointments, webinars, and more.
What is a virtual event?
A virtual event is an online event that involves people interacting in a virtual environment, rather than meeting in a physical location. Virtual events are hosted for a variety of reasons such as lower costs, wider audience reach or the uprise of a crisis situation to name a few.
Common types of virtual events include online classes, product launches, conferences, concerts, game streaming, etc. When hosting such events, the most important things to keep in mind are:
- How to best schedule virtual events
- What virtual event or webinar software to use when webcasting
- How participants can engage with the event host and others
Let’s take a look at these areas, shall we?
How to schedule virtual events
One of the biggest challenges a company faces is to coordinate with its clients and event attendees in different timezones. The way around this is by defining whose priorities come first, whose schedule should the meeting or event line up with.
If you are a service-based business, the answer is easy: The client comes first. There may be multiple slots and resources available for the service that your company offers that the client can choose from.
If the event is centered around a performer or a band, it will most certainly be scheduled according to their availability.
The best way to run virtual events effectively is with the help of an appointment scheduling tool. Such software will allow you to arrange meetings or webinars with attendees in multiple timezones, set up virtual spaces where you can e-meet and even communicate with the participants via SMS or email.
10to8 virtual appointment scheduling software, for example, can deal with customers and staff members located in different parts of the world and can organize them to attend virtual events at the right time. With the Zoom Video Conferencing integration, you too can run remote meetings even if you have never done something like this before.
How to webcast virtual events
A webcast is a type of media presentation distributed over the internet using streaming media technology to share a single content source to many simultaneous listeners or viewers. Virtual events can be webcast in the form of webinars.
Webinars are hosted with the help of cloud-based conferencing service providers like Zoom Video Conferencing or Demio.
Zoom Video Conferencing
Zoom Video Conferencing is a modern enterprise video communication tool, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars. Zoom allows you to broadcast across social channels with Facebook Live and YouTube integrations.
Zoom can host up to 100 live panelists who can share their webcams and interact with the audience. You can expand your impact with on-demand and recurring webinars. It provides the option to monetize your webinars via the PayPal Zapier integration.
Getting reports and analytics about registrations, attendees, engagement, Q&As, and follow-up has never been easier. Webinars can be automatically recorded and made available on demand. They can also be saved as templates.
With many musicians, DJs, tutors and even online personal trainers using Facebook for streaming their virtual events nowadays, Zoom can easily enable you to share your sessions live on various platforms too.
What’s more, with the native 10to8 Zoom integration, scheduling these events and making sure that attendees show up is a breeze.
Demio offers automated and live webinars and an option for hybrid mixes of pre-recorded and live virtual events. Businesses that want a dedicated, hassle-free webinar tool with automated replays and live events will find this software fitting.
Demio ensures webcasting webinars with frictionless joining in almost all major web browsers. Interacting with your audience in a real-time chat and switching between private and public chat mode at any time to enable or disable conversations are a few of the key features of the tool.
Demio integrates with a number of marketing apps and can connect with the tools you’re already using.
How to host highly engaging virtual events
Like any other face-to-face event, keeping attendees engaged is of key importance in virtual events as well. So what are some ways you can achieve maximum engagement?
One of the downsides of hosting a virtual event is the lack of in-person networking opportunities, however, at least you won’t be bumping elbows like you would in a crowded conference venue.
Allowing attendees to set up 1-to-1 meeting rooms with each other can replace in-person networking. A more advanced way is to use algorithms to help attendees find like-minded people and help them connect. This will buzz powerful connections and fantastic virtual networking opportunities.
Creating polls before, during or after the event can be helpful in understanding the key interests of the attendees, level of understanding of the topic and expectations towards the event. This data can be used for hosting even better virtual events in the future.
Depending on the type of event, running contests for the attendees could be a great way to keep them engaged. Ideas like “retweet to win” or “tag a friend” is a great way to promote the event as well as to create brand awareness. You can also come up with dedicated event hashtags.
Q&A at the end of virtual events may be one of if not the best learning experience and engagement opportunity both for attendees and hosts. You can set up a live chat after the event or create a forum where attendees can ask questions. This can encourage engagement within those who watch the recording and want to get involved later.
Do you have other useful tips on how to host virtual events and webinars? We’d love to read them in the comment section!
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Karan is a Digital Marketing Intern at 10to8. He is passionate about the music and tech industry, and keen to learn more about business in general.
As a current MBA student, Karan aims to broaden his knowledge and move into a managerial role.
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