How Virtual and Hybrid Events Changed Everything
The transformation of the virtual and hybrid events space happened at lightning speed. In fact, 67% of businesses now use virtual events complementary to in-person events. Though this transformation happened faster than anyone in the industry was expecting, it’s changed the events space for the better. Through this process, Social27 has picked up a lot of knowledge on how to make virtual and hybrid events better for event owners, attendees, speakers, moderators, sponsors and exhibitors.
One way to share our wealth of information is through industry podcasts. Here, we can share industry best practices, tidbits of what our organization has learned along the way, and a little bit more about Social27 as a whole.
In our first podcast feature, our CEO and Co-Founder Ike Singh Kehal joins Kate Kennedy and Rachel Calkins on Triple Seats’ Two Chicks, Three Seats Podcast to discuss changes in the event’s industry and how virtual (and hybrid) events are continuing to shape it.
Why Virtual Event Personalization Makes Everything SO Much Better
Personalization is everywhere in our daily lives. From Spotify, to YouTube or Netflix, the experience you have as a user needs to be relevant and revolve around your interests. At Social27, we believe virtual events should be no different.
In Two Chicks, Three Seats, Ike mentions, “When I think about events, I think of them as content and collaboration. So, looking at how people were collaborating online and how people were consuming content online is what we took inspiration from.”
At Social27, we want to change the way attendees consume content and create an experience that is personal to every attendee. We do this by giving attendees the ability to interact and engage with content in a way that’s familiar to them, but in the event space.
With our Recommendation & Prediction Engine, we’re able to give a tailored, personalized experience to attendees. Backed by AI, our Recommendation & Prediction Engine learns from the activity of each and every attendee so that they’re served up the best possible content throughout their entire event experience.
That way, it gives your attendees the best possible experience while consuming content, networking with peers, meeting sponsors, and more. This puts the attendees at the center of the event – exactly where they’re supposed to be.
Meeting Your Virtual Event Attendees Where They’re At
Understanding your attendee’s needs is key. But, in the virtual environment, is that possible?
Ike notes in the podcast that an event owner, you may ask yourself, “…as soon as [attendees] come into registration, what sessions did they watch? How active are they in the sessions? What questions did they ask? … What Roundtables did they go to, what documents did they download, and what [sessions] did they actually watch?”
With the help of the Recommendation & Prediction Engine, you’ll know exactly when, where, and what attendees are engaging with. They’re put in front of the right (and relevant) content, peers, speakers, and sponsors at the event – and as the event owner, you’ll have all of this information at your fingertips.
See how University of Washington School of Medicine used our Recommendation & Prediction Engine at their virtual event for college students to boost networking and content engagement.
How Do you Know What Attendees Want?
“Events are the biggest treasure trove of being able to engage your customer,” Ike says.
Attendees send out thousands of intent signals on what it is they’re interested in learning more about. Knowing all of this information helps you not only look for all those different signals, but it also helps you figure out how to and when to take action on them.
And on Social27 Virtual Event Platform, that’s as easy as “track[ing] how long … they spen[t] on a particular document and so forth” (Ike Kehal, Two Chicks, Three Seats.)
Combined with the ability to view attendee data in real time by looking at these intent signals your attendees are sending out, you can schedule meetings and get in contact directly with the people most relevant to your organization – right from within the platform.
What Virtual and Hybrid Events Will Look Like
We already know that the future of events is hybrid. But, that doesn’t mean that virtual events are going to be kicked to the curb. Instead, they’re going to play a key component in the hybrid experience through priming your audience on introductory knowledge, networking experiences, and sponsor interactions before your in-person event begins.
Virtual Events + Hybrid Events = The Perfect Pair
Paired with a platform like Social27 Virtual Event Platform, attendees can engage with you, your sponsors, and their peers before your in-person portion even starts. Once your attendees go to your in-person event, you can move past the ‘101’ and ‘201 level content’ and go straight into the heart of your event.
This helps accelerate your event experience for your attendees, while giving them what they love about in-person events. Ike notes, “When they’re in person, they’re actually moving the needle forward versus starting from scratch.” Start your event early, virtually, so that your attendees get the most out of their in-person event experience.
And as an event owner, you’ll receive beneficial intent signals and data on who to reach out to during the in-person portion of your event, while the virtual event is going on, or once the entire event is over.
Boutique Events – Mega Events’ Little Sister
Another approach is tailored, boutique events. Mega events often aren’t as focused or tailored to the exact audience or customer you’re trying to target. When hosting an event that’s not only personalized for your attendees, but on a more niche level, “[attendees] get massive value out of that two or three days that they get with you,” Ike comments.
Your attendees will get to meet with more of your team members so they can ask questions, participate in conversations directly with your employees about the things they care about, or even schedule a demo – helping move your sales cycle deeper into the event.
How You Can Make Better Virtual and Hybrid Events
Rethinking how the virtual component plays into your events strategy is crucial to getting the most out of your events going forward. Virtual is going to play a key role in helping you get connected with your audience, and getting your audience connected with you, their peers, and your sponsors.
As Ike detailed in Triple Seats’ Two Chicks, Three Seats, virtual events have a treasure trove of information that you can tap into to make sure they’re more engaging and fruitful for your organization, and your attendees.
By making more informative, personalized, and collaborative spaces, your events can be a hub for attendees gain and access information, and to build a community around you and your organization.
Want to See More? (We Know You Do)
Want to check out more podcasts featuring Ike Kehal? Make sure to follow us on LinkedIn and keep an eye out for more highlights from future podcasts.
If you’re looking to host a virtual or hybrid event of your own, we can help!
Head over to our website to schedule a demo to hear from more experts at Social27.