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Virtual events: how businesses can leverage them

By Merritt Strodel

With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, many events were cancelled as people quarantined and social distanced. The lack of events initially had a negative effect on many businesses, but as the world adjusted to the new reality, there was a transition to virtual events. 

As of recently, virtual events have taken off as businesses have utilized them to engage with their external audience and bond their internal teams.

Internally, businesses have tried to continue employee bonding and productivity by fostering a close work culture through virtual meetings and events. Externally, businesses have hosted virtual events to connect with their audience despite the physical distance.

From virtual fitness classes to panel discussions to tech conferences, businesses have been able to coordinate both live and recorded events for their customers and audience.

Platforms for the event

The plethora of social and online platforms in today’s society make hosting online events easy and accessible for the audience. Zoom has been the most popular platform for events – both large and small – with over 300 million daily participants. Similarly, Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts are also great for virtual meetings, talks, panels, and discussions.

Additionally, businesses have been utilizing social media platforms for events. Instagram has been one of the most popular platforms for events, as the Instagram Live and IGTV features allow for businesses to host live events and save them to their account – a great way for local businesses to interact with their following.

Promoting your event

Because of our virtual reality, there’s a lack of in-person communication, making it even more important to promote your online event. 

Creating an event page, taking advantage of email marketing, advertising on social media, and posting on local event pages are all strong strategies to reach your audience. Ensure you’re consistently advertising your event, especially on social media platforms.

Engaging your audience

One of the most important items in an event is to keep your audience engaged. Platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts all allow for the audience to actively participate, and have features like “polls” as alternative ways to interact with the audience. 

While social platforms don’t allow for this as they are more of a stream, you can monitor your audiences through the comments on the recording. Content like Q&As about your business or products are also great to deliver meaningful content while interacting with the audience.

Benefits of virtual events

The transition to virtual events has proven to be beneficial in many ways. 86% of participants in online events report that virtual events have equal or higher levels of engagement compared to in-person. 

Additionally, virtual events allow businesses to reduce costs of travel, event spaces, and admission to events, allowing businesses to save money or invest more of the budget into the content of the event.

Whether you’re a local boutique hosting a virtual fashion show, a fitness studio offering online classes, or a business creating a virtual networking event, leveraging virtual events can help to continue your business’ event schedule, keep your audience engaged, and promote your business during the pandemic.

Need help coordinating your next virtual event? Contact the 1893 Brand Studio.