Things around us are changing at a rapid pace especially, in the online world. And the pandemic gave a boost to this process. Not only individuals but also organizations moved quickly to the internet. Those who didn’t adapt to this change became irrelevant. As the world moved online, virtual events became more common. These events were used for different purposes which we never imagine. From hosting general meetings to trade shows to graduation ceremonies, everything happened virtually. And one thing that stood out of the crowd of events was the virtual conference.
Hosting a virtual conference can sound challenging, but many people and businesses already hosted them successfully in the past. To host a successful virtual conference, one needs to avoid common mistakes. These mistakes can ruin your event and can hamper the reputation of your event. So let’s look at some of these mistakes.
Not planning properly
Someone has rightly said, “failing to plan means planning to fail”. Planning is the most primary and necessary step for hosting a virtual conference. If not done carefully, your whole event can fall apart.
Planning a virtual event can primarily be divided into three stages – before, during, and after the event. And each of these stages is important.
Every decision in planning matters identifying the target audience, selecting the format to date, and timing of your event. Therefore all the related factors must be considered while planning.
Selecting the wrong platform
Opting for the right platform for your event is necessary. If you select the platform which doesn’t offer the features that you require for your event will be troubling for your event. And this can also affect your visitors’ experience. For example, you need a platform that can host 1000 people simultaneously. But the one you selected can host a few hundred people only. This can lead to chaos and can turn away a lot of people.
Failing to manage your budget
Often people aren’t able to manage the budget for their event efficiently. If your expense is less than your allocated budget, then it is alright. But if your costs exceed your budget, then it will be a significant problem. The problem is not with the amount of budget but with the spending of it. People often spend too much money on things which are that important. And in the end, they are left with no money. So, you should plan how much money you want to spend on a particular thing beforehand.
Too much content
The promotion of a virtual conference/event relies heavily on social media. So you need to prepare content keeping the limitations of each social media platform in mind. You cannot bombard people with emails, text messages or push notifications that will annoy or confuse them. Also, posting too much content on social media can make it difficult for people to keep track of your event. And some crucial piece of information might get buried any a heap of information.
Forgetting to plan breaks
Planning breaks are as significant as planning the sessions for your event. If you don’t place enough gap within your sessions, attendees might simply leave. The tendency of getting distracted in a virtual event is a lot higher than in a physical event. A long, continuous session can make your attendee feel boring or monotonous. It can also make it hard for them to focus and can simply turn them away.
Not promoting your event on social media
Ignoring social media for promoting your event can prove to be a disastrous mistake. In today’s world, every news item travels on social media. And many people are entirely reliant on social media for any announcement. People prefer to follow what is trending on social media or being discussed on social media. In other words, if you are not on social media, you will be missed by millions and billions of people. So, not only do you need to market your event on social media, but you have to do it effectively.
Not introducing Speakers
This can be the most disastrous mistake. If you don’t introduce the speakers of your event, it won’t create desired hype. People won’t get any reason to attend your event hence, lack of interest in your event. Even the attendees will feel disconnected. You won’t be able to engage them. And eventually, they will either won’t attend or leave it in the middle.
Not proper rehearsal
Hosting an event without a rehearsal would cause lots of misadventures. Apart from speakers and guests at your virtual conference, you also need trial runs before the event day. Otherwise, you will end up creating confusion and chaos on the day of the event. You need to practice the order of introducing your speakers and other itineraries of your event. Whereas your speakers and guests need to practice how to interact with each other and attendees. Remember, some of your speakers are participating in their first virtual conference, so they need rehearsals.
Not preparing for technical issues
You are about to host a virtual conference and, if you are not prepared for technical issues, then your every effort might go in the drain. And it won’t matter how much you worked hard in hosting the event, inviting speakers and guests or engaging your audience. Technical issues are the most common problem in any virtual event. So you cannot afford to ignore them. Instead, you must be prepared for them. For this, try to run trials of your event as much as possible to identify the technical issues. After that, start working on these issues. And also, get some backup for the event. It could be in the form of a tech person or extra equipment.
Not engaging with attendees
Doing all the necessary preparation for your conference is good. But if you won’t engage your audience, then it won’t help you. According to a survey by Apricot, “those who don’t try to engage attendees in their virtual events have chances of failing 150 times more than those who do”. In short, the success of your event depends upon the experience of your attendees. And there are lots of ideas to engage attendees. Some of them are Gamification, live polling, and competitions, to begin with.
Not providing networking features
Networking is one of the most desired opportunities that attendees look for in an event. As a matter of fact, many people’s sole reason for attending an event is to make new connections, so you cannot ignore this feature. You can add specific features for networking in your event, for example, a “networking lounge”. Here attendees can have one-on-one interaction with speakers and guests. Promote this feature, this will engage your attendees and will attract more people to your event.
Forgetting to collect feedback
You hosted a grand virtual conference, lots of people showed up, and speakers also had a great time. But you forgot to collect feedback. It means you exactly don’t know what worked and whatnot. Or what was attendees’ favorite part of the event or what they didn’t like? Collecting feedback is a very critical task. It gives you information about your attendees’ preferences, opinions, experience,s, and expectations. These are valuable insights. They will help you to make requisite changes for your future events even if you have a successful event.
We hope that this article will guide you. And you will have an excellent virtual conference with outstanding success.