Conferences are the backbone of many industries. They get people together to discuss advancements in their industry, network with one another, and generate leads. The long days in packed conference centers provided ample opportunities for many business professionals. However, in-person conferences came to a halt in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic. Fortunately, event organizers and industry leaders found another, even better way to hold conferences. 

Virtual conferences provide all of the traditional benefits of a conference, in a more flexible and accessible format versus an in-person conference. They are typically designed to attract a larger audience and often run for multiple days. Virtual conferences may feature keynotes, panels, exhibition booths, networking opportunities, product demonstrations, and other informative content. 

Why are Virtual Conferences So Popular? 

Virtual conferences have gained popularity due to a number of key benefits: 

  1. Expanded Reach. For many companies, a conference is the largest yearly event in their event strategy. Virtual conferences have a larger reach than in-person conferences and can attract attendees from all over the country – or the world.  
  1. Sustainability. Many large companies are cutting back on business travel for environmental purposes. Many individuals and small businesses cannot afford travel and accommodations after tightening their budgets during the pandemic. Virtual conferences allow event owners to continue to attract wide-spread audiences without requiring travel expenses. 
  1. Networking Opportunities. Attendees are drawn to conferences to network with others in their industry and learn from respected thought leaders. Virtual conferences can incorporate plenty of networking opportunities without requiring attendees to physically travel to the conference location. This eliminates a major barrier to attendance, as attending an event in person can require a large time and financial investment and can present accessibility barriers. 
  1. Speaker Availability. For event organizers, booking high demand speakers can be easier for virtual conferences. Notable speakers have busy schedules. They may not have time to fly into a conference for multiple days – but finding an hour or two to speak remotely is less challenging. Having prominent and respected names also helps attract attention to your event and your brand. 
  1. Customized Experiences. Virtual conferences also benefit from their ability to provide a customized experience. According to a survey by Demand Metric, 80% of respondents found that personalized content was more effective in achieving their marketing and business goals than impersonalized content. Social27 Recommendation and Prediction Engine provides personalized content and connection recommendations to attendees throughout their event experience. Based on their interests and activity, they will be directed towards Happy Hours, speaker sessions, sponsor and exhibitor booths, sponsored content, and other event content.  

Virtual Conference Use Cases 

Almost every industry you can think of has major conferences tailored towards it. Here are some ideas on how to make the most of virtual conference capabilities in your industry: 

The great thing about virtual conferences is they don’t take doctors and healthcare providers away from their patients. Attendees can join from their homes or offices instead of traveling across the country. This is important as many dentists, doctors, and specialty healthcare providers try to make themselves available for emergency appointments for their patients. If something comes up during a virtual conference, they can respond to the patient’s needs and then catch-up on what they missed with on-demand viewing. 

Healthcare: Providing optimal care to patients is a team effort. There is a lot of work that goes into healthcare from manufacturing healthcare devices and pharmaceuticals, to providing direct patient care. Healthcare conferences provide the perfect venue to bring everyone together to discuss important healthcare issues, patient care strategies, and learn about new developments in medicine, treatment options, and health technology. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) held their 2020 Learn Serve Lead conference on Social27 Virtual Event Platform to bring a diverse group of medical professionals, educators, and researchers together to learn from one another, find common ground, and build organizational capacity.  

Finance: Virtual conferences are a great way to bring together the finance industry to learn about compliance updates, earn continuing education credits, and to network. Conferences in highly regulated industries like finance are important as they provide opportunities for continuing education including ethics discussions, workshops, and information sessions on legal updates. 

A virtual conference for accounting and finance professionals should provide a balance of education, career development, and networking content. Speakers should include CFOs and leaders who can share unique operational insights and motivating stories of their growth in the field. Virtual conferences for finance professionals often offer different tracks and specialized sessions for different segments in the industry such as accounts payable, leadership, CPAs, and those looking for or working with investors. 

Professional Associations: Many professional associations hold annual conferences to bring their members together to learn and network. While regional associations may be able to get everyone together in-person, it’s not always practical for national associations. A virtual conference is the perfect solution to this problem. Hosting a virtual conference allows everyone to join and ensures that they all get an equally amazing experience, rather than leaving the event planning to local chapters. 

The Association of Talent Development (ATD) hosted their 2020 Virtual Conference on Social27 Virtual Event Platform. The 5-day event attracted 12,562 attendees. The virtual conference was focused on education in order to help association members learn and grow in their careers. The ATD conference highlighted one of the largest benefits of virtual conferences; on demand content. On demand content allows attendees to watch event content on their own schedule or revisit event content that they viewed live. At the ATD 2020 Virtual Conference, there were 17,565 uses for on demand sessions over the 5-day event period. 

Tech: Tech conferences are very popular – and the audience is already adept at communicating virtually. The technology industry is constantly evolving as new advancements are made each year, so it’s important to bring everyone together to share and learn from one another. New and quickly developing fields like Artificial Intelligence (AI) can especially benefit from the ability to brainstorm together, share updates, and network. 

Virtual tech conferences are also a great way to encourage networking among underrepresented groups. Many segments of the tech industry are male-dominated, so women in tech conferences, networking hours, and virtual events are a great way to bring together those with common experiences and challenges in the industry to share ideas, tips, and career opportunities. 

Host a Virtual Conference on Social27 Virtual Event Platform 

Social27 Virtual Event Platform provides all of the necessary tools to host an educational virtual conference tailored towards your attendees’ interests. Our platform offers a host of networking features that will allow everyone to make meaningful connections from the comfort of their own home or office. 

Set up a demo today to learn more about what Social27 has to offer event organizers and sponsors!