Our Toast of the Town event planners have been knee-deep in planning and orchestrating virtual events since early 2020, and suffice it to say – we are virtual event pros by this point. We see that virtual events, or blended hybrid style events, are going to be around for quite some time. Yes in-person gatherings are surging again, and there certainly is a draw to attending in-person. But with so many people in the world utilizing, attending, or simply being forced to learn how to operate or attend a virtual event over the last couple of years, they are just de rigeur at this point. This comfort with, and embracing of, virtual events, adds a unique and valuable component to any conference or seminar, in that, there is a simple way to expand accessibility to a much wider audience. There is another, follow-up advantage virtual events create – community. Read more below for the HOW and the WHY of focusing on building community is your new event ROI.
The most obvious factor to growing, building and engaging a community via virtual events, is that your ‘audience’ is now worldwide. Simply offering a virtual component to your event grows your audience exponentially AND at a fraction of the cost. Your community of educators, leaders, and other like-minded professionals are no longer limited to your town, region, city or state. In turn your group, organization or singular conference, can now likewise be viewed as a resource amongst that community. This 2-way impact is beneficial (and accessible) for both parties. If this isn’t reason enough..keep reading….
Said another way, a virtual conference can help to foster a community by ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to be included and to contribute. In essence, in a virtual environment, everyone has a front-row seat, and everyone has a voice in the room. An attendee, a supporter, a fan, a professional, etc. is no longer required to be in-person in order to learn, to share, to gather or to engage. Virtual technology has developed quickly in line with folks’ needs for specific functions and capabilities, and event planners can use virtual platforms, tools, widgets, and more to gather and share information before, during and after an event, helping to build and foster this community throughout the entire event journey. There are a plethora of virtual platforms and tools that offer networking capabilities, private messaging and live chats, 1:1 video meetings, gamification, polling, and other interactive 2-way activities that create a much more immersive experience than a simple Zoom meeting.
COMMUNICATION & REMARKETING
Event planners are always thinking 10 steps ahead, and virtual platforms and capabilities now allow event planners and event marketers the ability to act 10 steps ahead as well. When managed correctly, a virtual event can provide not only access to a wider audience, plus the ability to engage a wider audience, but further the opportunity to nurture this audience and influence their decisions and actions moving forward. This is where the strength of community building really gets interesting. Opportunities for real-time event or workshop feedback, pushing out instant event notifications or sponsor messages, effortless scheduling or breakout session updates, and future event announcements. You can poll your community for speakers they would prefer to listen to, notify your audience of changes, or upload materials for download. By actively communicating with your audience and asking for this valuable feedback, you offer an opportunity for attendees to be heard and turn a passive attendees into an active and engaged supporters.
These recommendations, when operated effectively in conjunction, have shown to be extremely effective in engaging and activating an attendee base, and strengthening the community around a conference theme or mission. The end goal here should be to recognize and take advantage of opportunities to engage and communicate with your audience, before, during and after your event. For more insights on how to strategically set this up for success for your organization’s next conference, contact us today for help and a FREE 1-hour consultation.
We can help by :
- Evaluating and adjusting current tactics
- Expert tech stack recommendations customized for event needs
- Holistic and effective implementation strategies
For more effective ideas contact the Toast of the Town events team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 907.302.2323