Chances are most of us have been a part of a virtual event in some capacity, especially during the current COVID-19 world, whether we’re watching a panel discussion, an interactive webinar or logging onto Zoom to partake in discussions with colleagues or friends. But what really makes a virtual event a success?
Our consumer marketing team at Lovehoney recently ran three online “sexual happiness” events called Virtual Camp Lovehoney, which were executed across the U.S., U.K. and Australia, where they invited the public to learn and take inspiration from a wide range of leading sexperts in virtual workshops.
Following the success of these events, I decided I would share their tips on how to virtualize your own events.
Planning and Promotion
With all of the technology on offer, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. You might be asking yourself, “What platforms should I use?” “How will they integrate together?” “How will the overall attendee experience be affected?”
We chose to run Virtual Camp Lovehoney through video conferencing platform Zoom. This allowed us to transform our content into a fully formed virtual event in which our panelists could discuss their chosen topics together, plus it also offered additional tools such as chat, Q&As and live polls that allowed the audience to interact. It also gave us the option to video-record the event, so we can exhaust the content post-event on our social media platforms.
As you get into the specific details of what you want your virtual event to look like, it’s important to take into consideration any conflicting time zones when setting an agenda. We scheduled our U.S. workshops for the afternoon, for example, to ensure we were accommodating to both the East Coast and West Coast demographics, so we could ensure we had the greatest number of attendees tuning in.
Social media is one of the best ways to drum up interest before a virtual event. We built a Facebook event prior, which linked to the Virtual Camp Lovehoney landing page, ensuring they were both kept up-to-date with regular posts, introducing each of the speakers.
Keep It Engaging
When participants are spending the day with your brand from the comfort of their own home, there can be no limit to what can drag their attention away from your event. Choosing a diverse pool of speakers who are experts in their field, and will deliver strong and engaging content, is key to maintaining your audience’s attention.
Design particular engagement points throughout each session such as Q&As and polls and ensure speakers are fully briefed before going live, so they know to shout out these functions.
If any product is discussed, allow speakers to become acquainted with them ahead of the event, so they can be woven into conversation in an organic way that won’t come across as advertorial. We used the event as an opportunity to discuss any new products to give them a spotlight.
The Benefits of Going Virtual
In times of uncertainty, going virtual allows us to open our doors to consumers in an intimate way like never before. Virtual Camp Lovehoney widened our demographic for potential attendees considerably, as people could dip in quickly with no travel time and costs.
Although virtual events are certainly the new normal, physical events will eventually return. Virtual events should be seen as a new format to capture your wide range of audiences rather than an alternative, and should be considered as part of a smart marketing strategy.