Succeeding at Virtual Conferences 1.2 - During the Virtual Event

Now that we have covered the steps of planning for a virtual event (The Prep Work for Virtual Events) it’s time for the fun part! Just like exhibiting at a physical event, your virtual attendance should be exciting and beneficial for business. To help make this happen, here are some tips for you to get the most out of the day and embrace the transition:

  1.   The Dream Team

As with an in-person event, it is vital that on the day of the virtual event, your brand is equipped with the absolute best team members your company has. Virtual event fatigue is not only a problem for attendees of a virtual event, it is just as damaging for your team and overall event performance and ROI.

Create Team Schedules

It is important to have a schedule in place with a fair distribution of workload, do everything in your power to avoid keeping team members tied down to their workstation for endless hours. It is always best to have many members rotate throughout the day of the event to keep spirits high and prevent your team from getting tired and underperforming when it is most crucial.

Create Incentives

Create incentives for your team to enjoy the event and experience – internal target focused competitions, catered lunch, coffees and refreshments, prizes, giveaways and so on. The idea behind incentives is that your team is typically excited to go to a physical event and would be more motivated to perform, as these events involve travel, lunches, dinners, parties, and new experiences (and closing deals of course). Create an exciting experience for the team involved and it will certainly pay off!

Dress the Part

Encourage your Dream Team to dress the part. Yes, this might sound funny, but dressing as you would at a live event when staffing your virtual booth will help get the team in the right mindset and keep everyone focused on the task at hand.

Get Multilingual

Lastly, do not forget that virtual events typically bring in a more international crowd, so if you have multilingual team members or multiple office locations it would be wise to promote the spoken languages of each member in their personal event profile.

  1.   Use the Tools Provided

As common practice of most virtual event platforms and organisers, exhibitors are given access to the platform prior to the event date in order to familiarise themselves with all the tools, areas and functionality of the upcoming event – use this opportunity and think outside the box!

Triple Check All the Functions

Double-check, and then check again, that all your booth materials are available and look perfect if you have a workshop or a webinar check that it works and is visible in good quality, have your team check their profiles and make sure they are comfortable using the platform. Do everything in your power to avoid last-minute hiccups and confusion. Familiarise yourself with different areas and tools available such as public chat rooms, auditoriums, the event agenda, and of course your competitors.

Get Creative with Every Tool Provided

·        Prepare a few members of your team to be responsible for manning the public chat rooms and make sure they have some conversation starters and icebreakers ready. Have them actively participate in live Q&A sessions and comment on chat topics (but not hijack the conversation).

·        Share relevant and informative articles on public chats or in your booth chat – not sales or marketing posts, but actual educational content of value. This will help differentiate you from others simply trying to mass sell their product or express their opinion.

·        Make sure at least one of your team members is present at every speaker session – you never know where you will meet your next potential client and where the topic of a session may come up. Some speaker sessions will have a public chat room which is the perfect opportunity to start a conversation that may lead to a future sale.

  1.   Use Speaking Opportunities When Presented

When it comes to virtual events the biggest challenge for event organisers and event exhibitors is audience engagement and audience interaction. Knowing this, most organisers aim to create an interactive solution for delivering information to all participants and in most cases, as an exhibitor, you may have an opportunity to participate in a virtual audience engagement solution.

Gain Exposure Benefits from Speaker Sessions

Good examples of such solutions would be speaker panel sessions, workshops and webinars hosted at the time of the event. In many cases, the sessions are made available to view long after the event is over, giving your brand even more exposure if you choose to participate. This type of commitment will need some meticulous planning and plenty of work to be put into the preparation of quality material to represent your brand on the day of the show. This type of exposure truly pays off!

Be the Brand that Customers Trust

A booth manned with a strong sales force is undoubtedly a strong weapon, but never forget that customers buy more frequently from brands that they trust. Take advantage of this opportunity to build a customer relationship that’s outside the traditional sales cycle. Once you have secured a speaking opportunity, focus your presentation on the value it delivers to your audience and steer clear of overly promotional language (this is not a sales pitch). Instead, aim for your brand's personality and knowledge to take centre stage. Give a few tangible learning takeaways that determine you as an industry expert. This value will encourage attendees to want to learn more about how your products stand out from the rest.

Engage with the Audience Wherever Possible

Some speaker sessions and workshop slots will have the option of engaging with the audience during the time of the session or throughout the event. Make sure someone from your team is always available to answer any questions regarding the presentation.

  1.   Get Busy on Social Media

In today's world, it is near impossible to imagine everyday life without social media. However, when it comes to business, it is easy to sometimes neglect and forget the power of the almighty #hashtag.

Keep Your SM Channels Active

Make sure that at all times at least one of your team members participating in the online event is keeping your social media accounts, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Linkedin (better still – all of them) as active as possible.

Use #Hashtags in Your Posts

Most online and physical events have a hashtag, make sure to use it along with other hashtags that attendees of the event may be using. Post screenshots of your virtual booth, selfies of the team manning the booth with a virtual background, your thoughts on speaker sessions, fun features you are enjoying at the virtual event – be present and get the word out there!

  1.   Be Patient and Creative, Not Pushy and Needy

Our final piece of advice for all the newbies in the virtual event space when it comes to Day Of Event actions is the following: Be as ‘human’ as humanly possible!

Don’t Be Pushy

It is easy to get carried away and become too pushy and borderline harass the event attendees, especially when you have the comfort of hiding behind your monitor. We have all experienced needy shop assistants; let’s not carry this practice over into the virtual world.

Use Creative, Value-driven CTAs

Be patient, invite the guests to enter your booth, browse, chat, explore and ask questions. However, don’t be passive – calls to action still remain the best closing line. Have some predetermined leading lines ready (e.g.: Ask us about our rates – they are the best on the market), have a specially designed landing page where you can send your hot leads, treat your guest to a virtual coffee (using online vouchers or delivery services), think fresh ideas and push your creative boundaries to stand out from the rest!

Author: Xenia Petrova, Production Manager at Ultimate Fintech

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