At Event Marketing Summit 2011 in Chicago this week, our very own Chris Meyer and Dan Lotzof hosted a Breakfast Roundtable titled “7 Things You May Know Know About Virtual Events.” The roundtable sessions were 20 minutes in duration. At the conclusion of each session, attendees were free to select another roundtable to attend. Here are the “7 Things” we shared.
1) Virtual events do not need to include physical event metaphors
A virtual trade show does not need to include 3D representations of booths, auditoriums and lounges. Instead, attendees often tell us, “just get us to the content, quickly.”
2) Virtual events can stay open year round
Like my local 7-Eleven, virtual events never close. Virtual event platforms can be used to build and sustain a loyal community of enthusiasts around your brand – whether you’re a corporation, association or publication.
3) Virtual events can extend and augment physical events
Virtual events can significantly widen the audience reach of your physical event, allowing a global audience to view the keynote presentation, chat with peers and interact with exhibitors. Virtual attendees who got a taste of your event this year may decide to attend the physical event next year.
4) Virtual events can incorporate social networks
You probably knew this one already, right? Social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn make integration into virtual platforms nice and easy, by way of widgets and Application Programming Interfaces (API’s). The integration makes things seamless for the user experience – and, provides you with interesting data points on attendee engagement.
5) Virtual events have their own set of social networking tools, too
Virtual event platforms have text chat, video chat, message boards, ratings, status indicators and blogs. In fact, many of these social features existed before the term “social network” entered our lexicon (and well before the movie of the same name).
6) You can play fun and engaging games at virtual event
Just as games like FarmVille have enhanced the Facebook experience for some users (I don’t happen to play ;-), social games can increase engagement within virtual events. Virtual platforms now incorporate both fun and challenging games, complete with high scores, leaderboards and sharing to your Facebook Wall (of course).
7) The best content at a virtual event comes from the physical event
This statement really applies to hybrid events, which combine face-to-face events with digital elements. The point we’re making is that the content from the physical event drives the virtual experience. Any good hybrid event, however, will allow the virtual audience to play a part in the face-to-face experience.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then I hope you actually did know a number of the items I’ve covered above. Leave a comment below to let us know what other things folks may not know about virtual events!
Post contributed by Dennis Shiao