Live events are one key aspect of brand marketing that required an alternative strategy since the pandemic, and several brands have stepped up and hosted virtual events instead. In the fast-paced online world today, brands need to be adaptable. Nothing exemplified this as much as the pandemic in 2020 did. Having one strategy without the ability to pivot on cue is detrimental to brands.
These virtual events have been a game changer for several businesses and hold a lot of promise even in a post-pandemic world. In this blog, let’s dive into the basics and best principles for hosting such events.
What Are Virtual Events?
As the name suggests, these are branded activations that take place entirely online. Sure, there are perks to meeting key stakeholders in-person and building that personal relationship. However, virtual events allow you to take the same event and amplify it to a far wider audience through the reach of the internet. As per a study by Bizzabo, more than 80% of event organizers could expand their reach through virtual events, and an overwhelming 93% of event professionals plan to invest in these events going forwards.
Types Of Virtual Events
Even in a physical setting, webinars are predominantly displayed digitally to the audience present. This makes it effective in a virtual setting as it drives customer relations, retention, and education. Video conferencing tools today allow audiences to present their queries to the brand, taking care of the interactive element. The nature of these events enables live webinars as well as pre-recorded videos to translate effectively into an online environment.
Any conferences that happened physically before the pandemic are now being carried forward by brands, even in the future, where physical conferences would be possible. Not only are these virtual events cost-effective, but they also offer a high degree of convenience and flexibility. With the right community engagement tools incorporated, brands can run hassle-free virtual conferences from anywhere in the world.
Instead of choosing one way or the other, audiences and attendees prefer hybrid events that allow them to attend remotely or in person. These could include internal hybrid events such as corporate town halls, sales conferences, training programs, or R&R events. Brands can also implement external events such as industry-wide conferences or product launches.
Eight Key Reasons You Need To Run Events Virtually For Your Brand
Conferencing tools, plug-ins, and community engagement tools make it increasingly possible to run any type of event virtually without completely reinventing the wheel. For brands that host physical events, there is a different level of expertise required, not to mention the costs of running various events. Whether you use trade conferences, product launches, or sales meetings, it is almost a simple plug-and-play model.
A virtual meeting can host exponentially more people than any boardroom, conference room, or banquet space can seat. Even earlier, the live events would cater to a small audience and be recorded to be presented to the broader world. Now virtual events allow you to be more inclusive and spread your net to the lengths and breadths of the globe! Just share the meeting link with concerned audiences, and voila!
This is a culmination of the 2 points mentioned above. Virtual events help you save money on the actual organizing, execution, and planning of the events and the experiential costs associated with every attendee. These saved costs can be repurposed by brands to further strengthen their SEO efforts, and ad spends, leading to a better ROI.
Ease of management
This has got to be the most crucial point for brands to consider purely from an operational point of view. Think about the elements of planning a physical event – logistics, equipment, staff, training, and audience engagement. With a virtual event, all these are taken care of simultaneously, allowing you to focus on the critical elements required to make the event a success.
Insights and data
Imagine hosting an event and looking for feedback from attendees – this would involve physically tracking and interacting with each of them to gain inaccurate data. Virtual events capture quick feedback and audience responses, better understanding the audience’s expectations of the brand. This will also help you fine-tune your efforts for future events.
These events allow you to establish multiple brand touchpoints with attendees. Something like event branding can take on a new meaning at such events through creative visuals that enthrall the audiences online. The brand’s unique look and feel can help drive home your brand’s identity to the audience.
For a brand hosting an event with potential customers, it is crucial to reaffirm the brand recall with them by staying in touch through free goodies or other collateral. With virtual events, brands can integrate themselves with online gifting platforms that send them virtual gifts and links immediately after the event, creating that sense of brand recall. The sends can be virtual or physical. This also gives you additional customer data in the form of their address, contact information, and other intimate details that you can use for insights.
The many tools available to you through the virtual platform of your choice can help boost loyalty towards your brand among the attendees of your virtual event. Brands can also set up network sessions, allowing current customers to interact with potential customers, and use their consumer base as advocates to attract new customers. There is no better influencer than a customer who is already loyal to your brand.
Examples Of Brands Dominating The Virtual Event Space
- Campaign: Notion At Work
- Description: A series of live YouTube videos that train users, new and old, on the nuances of the platform and how to navigate it effectively.
- Key elements: Room for back and forth with the audience, a dedicated host who even calls out regulars by name
- Tip for brands: Work with your audience to figure out what they want from virtual events and then retroactively build your streaming event around that
- Campaign: Salesforce Live
- Description: A 11-part live series on LinkedIn Live to educate organic viewers through industry leaders
- Key elements: Salesforce advertised the events on LinkedIn and garnered over 600,000 organic viewers through the series
- Tip for brands: Instead of bringing your audience to you, go where they are! Opt for the platform according to current and potential customer presence
- Campaign: Segmented live webinars
- Description: Live webinars on the website that allow users to understand the best ways to get the most out of Slack
- Key elements: Segmented webinars for different audience segments based on expertise and the ability to ask questions for real-time feedback from experts
- Tip for brands: Create different experiences for different user personas as they have various pain points and respond to other propositions
Bonus: 2022 Trends For Virtual Events
AR and VR
In a virtual environment, there can be no better way to enhance the user experience than augmented reality. Virtual reality, on the other hand, allows users to step into a virtual 3D world that is computer generated. These are great for customer engagement and could be highly effective for events like a product launch.
These are easy-to-develop platforms that are becoming increasingly popular in the B2C industry. This allows the personalization and streamlining of experiences for desired audiences. Content can also be gamified through QR codes for higher engagement.
Live streams are non-negotiable for brands looking to run events virtually as it helps recreate the live experience online. It also helps streamline the broadcast for your audience to create a better sense of connection through real-time interactions and feedback.
Virtual Events Are Here To Stay!
Whether you believe in them or not, virtual engagement is far more effective than a live experience as it has too many additional benefits to discount. Soon, influencers will interact with multiple audiences through a virtually recreated live experience that brings them straight to your customer’s computer or mobile.
With AtisfyReach you can set up an influencer marketing campaign to achieve your desired goal. Whether you want to elevate a social media marketing campaign, your product packaging, your E-commerce site, or even produce a live AR event, AtisfyReach can find the best influencers to do it. Book a free demo with us today.