6 Virtual Event Disasters…and How to Avoid Them
“We are the authors of our own disasters” – Latin Proverb.
Virtual events are an ideal way to cost-effectively connect and share information with your internal teams, customers and partners. But although the technology now exists to bring together people from wide-ranging geographic locations and different parts of the organization, there are several pitfalls of running a virtual event as well. The unfortunate truth is that many of the common problems that companies face when launching a virtual event are self-inflicted. The good news is that with proper planning, each of these disasters can be avoided and we can once again become the authors of our own success.
How to avoid the 6 most common virtual event disasters
- Lack of attendance. You can’t have an event without an audience. Unfortunately, too many virtual event planners fail to “build buzz” for their events ahead of time. Virtual events do not exist in a vacuum; every virtual event needs to be part of an overall strategy for engaging with customers and other key audiences. The event doesn’t truly begin on the day of the event itself – the event “begins” weeks or even months ahead of time, with a strong foundation of community-building and engagement. Ideally, you need to build an audience that cares about your organization’s mission, long before you ask them to attend a virtual event. Ask your guest speakers and panelists to promote the event to their own networks, using Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and any other appropriate channels.
- Technical difficulties. There’s nothing worse than a virtual event where the facilitators and participants don’t know how to operate the platform, or where the platform fails to function. Whether it’s lack of audio, delays on the video or slide show, or a slow-to-respond collaboration/communication feature within the event, every minute lost to “technical difficulties” creates inconvenience for your audience and undermines the credibility of your organization. Unfortunately, not all platform providers are created equal and it always pays to ask the right questions before deciding who to work with.
- Boredom. Too many virtual events take a “cookie-cutter” approach – they all look and sound the same. This is a huge missed opportunity! With the right choice of a virtual events platform, your company can create a sensational audio-visual experience. Instead of just another bland slide show, your virtual event can entertain your audience with videos, music and artful design. Instead of just a mundane recitation of information, you can create a compelling theme that draws and holds the attention of your participants. Instead of the standard polls and quizzes, use creative games and prizes to create feelings of teamwork and unexpected surprise. In 2020, there is no excuse for a boring virtual event. All the tools exist to create memorable, sensational, immersive experiences online. All you need is some creativity and courage to make it happen.
- You don’t learn anything from your attendees. Virtual events are not a one-way street – you’re trying to share information with your audience, but more importantly, you want to learn more from your audience. What do they want to buy from you? What challenges can your company help them overcome? Who are your biggest fans and most influential customers? Some virtual event platform providers, including Social27, offer Social CRM (customer relationship management) tools that enable you to sort and profile your event’s attendees and connect them with other people who they would most like to meet.
- Security breaches. Virtual events are not immune to security risks. Before hosting a virtual event, every organization needs to make sure that the event platform can deliver the right level of privacy and security. You don’t want unauthorized people to be able to access the event or obtain classified information. Make sure that any virtual events comply with your organization’s guidelines and standards for privacy and security.
- The event “ends.” The best virtual events take on a life of their own. If nothing happens as a result of your virtual event, if the ideas and conversations stay wrapped up within that one date and time, then the event is a failure. Ideally, you want the participants in your virtual event to come away feeling energized, inspired and engaged. You want them to come away with a list of “actionable items” and new insights that they are eager to share with the world. You should make it easy to share the event with the rest of the world, by posting a recording on the company blog and by making it easy for participants to share content and ideas via social media (both during and after the virtual event).
Successful planning is the key to a successful virtual event
Virtual events can present their own unique challenges, but your next virtual event doesn’t have to end in disaster. With advance planning, an integrated strategy, creative presentation and careful sharing of the content beyond the event date, your virtual event can provide ongoing value to your organization and your customers.
Host your own virtual event:
Interested in hosting your own virtual event? Social27 has been enabling organizations across all industries and sizes to host their own engaging virtual events since 2010.
The Social27 Virtual Events Platform brings the best of content streaming, networking with rich profiles, virtual sponsor pavilions, lead generation, gamification with points and badges, AI chatbot support and deep analytics powered by machine learning.