Live streaming and virtual events did not just emerge out of the blue!
It was always there.
Back in 2018 and 2019, when the pandemic was just a theory, companies started exploring its benefits for connecting better with their customers through company event broadcasting. Or conducting employee training to fully optimize every single hour of the day.
Yes, the concept was always there! But, unfortunately, so were the doubts and misconceptions surrounding it. A few of their concerns were not without warrant, of course.
Their reluctance to give live streaming a try was based on vague notions or misbeliefs like – The ROI of live video is difficult to prove.” Or something like “it takes too long to get started.” Or, maybe, “we do not have the required skills, tools or budget to accommodate virtual events.”
Without even giving such virtual events a chance, most of them directly sounded the death warrant!
But the 2020 pandemic changed things for good!
It unfurled the immense potential of virtual events and live streams. These events became the only option left to connect with their clients/customers and team members during the ‘stay-at-home’ and social distancing new normal.
And, we can safely presume these new platforms are going nowhere.
The pandemic changed the accepted status quo, and moving forward; these tools will retain the spotlight.
According to Forbes, “live video will remain a cornerstone of marketing and sales activities even after the pandemic is behind us.”
Live videos and virtual events created a much deeper connection with customers and fostered real engagement, especially when the pandemic disrupted the other communications channels.
And, when practically the whole has shifted online, it is unwise to stay away from the changing tide.
Are you still skeptical about the new normal channel of communication?
For better or for worse, you should focus on finding out how virtual events and live conferences can change the game for your business. Because that’s where your target audience resides.
#1: Organizing Virtual Conferences to Connect with Customers
Apple has done it, so did Google.
Both these companies organized their annual events, WWDC and Google I/O, virtually, and the response was magnanimous.
These two events were much sought-after by tech-developers around the world. But, watching them unfold live was feasible for a lucky few.
Courtesy to the pandemic of 2020, more and more people could easily watch the events live from their smartphones or laptop screens. Mediums like Google Meet and Zoom bought such events right at our doorstep. It didn’t cost us much, but these events gave us a lot more.
Now, we didn’t have to rely on tech blogs to get updates on what happened in these events or what new announcements were made. Instead, we could all watch them live from the safety of our homes.
If you consider an event of a similar nature for your company, you have to consider so many parameters before you can say yes to the event. The first concern would have been budget and operational cost.
It is not that easy to organize events for company clients and employees. A lot of effort, planning and plotting go behind them. They take a toll on your time and finances as well!
But, virtual events do not cost much; in fact, nothing at all.
All you need to do is fix a date and share the Zoom/Google Meet invitation with the interested parties. Then, you are all set for your event.
It is that simple!
These virtual meetings can easily connect with your clients and end-users irrespective of their physical location. You can see them, connect with them, and enjoy an evening of interactive sessions without spending a single penny.
There are ways to make these sessions highly interactive.
#2: Fight Meeting Fatigue with Webinars and QA Sessions
Yes! Attending conferences in person can be a bit tedious for the audience.
Those are one-man-show, and very rarely people get a chance to put across their questions or gain a chance to interact with the speaker or speakers. Why?
They have a time limit.
There’s always a possibility of your question getting unheard or unanswered.
You can argue that virtual conferences always have time limits. Yes, they do! But those conferences can be extended if the session turns out to be quite engaging.
Also, you can always ‘raise your hand’ and get yourself heard by the speaker. The latter will not miss you out because you are visible to them online.
These conferences work more like one-on-one sessions.
When we say the human touch is lacking when a business goes online, we might not be entirely correct. This is because virtual sessions are more personal than in-person conferences.
Getting a chance to interact with the speaker face-to-face breaks the boredom and conference fatigue for the audience. And, the same fatigue can be avoided by releasing a series of webinars and newsletters a few days before the event.
Why do you think fatigue occurs in the first place?
Often, people attend conferences in person where they have vague ideas about the topic for discussion. However, while attending the conference, a human brain can take so much of the information at a time.
Their brains start shutting down in the face of continuous deliverance of information. Without having a fairly good idea about the subject matter, our brain stops focusing eventually.
That’s when the speaker loses connection with the audience.
But, in the case of virtual events, what most companies do is they start sharing the information about the conference days before the schedule using tools like newsletters and webinars.
Mostly webinars give you more than a rough understanding of the matter in discussion. So, at the time of the event, the audience is better equipped to process every piece of information that the speaker shares with them online. Also, they are in a better position to ask logical questions.
They take an interest in the proceedings and enjoy an evening of rendezvous with their favourite speakers.
#3: Build Engagement and Generate High ROI Using VC Tools
Yes! Virtual conferences save time and money. Yes! These events build stronger connections with the audience and build trust too!
But, do you know that these conferences can increase your sales figures and generate higher ROI?
Yes! There are tools to capture leads and convert them into potential customers. How?
Well! For starters. Companies can opt for webcasting platforms that offer real engagement opportunities, including live polls, chat and lead capture options.
There are quite a few platforms available in the market. But it would help if you focused on those that best fit your purpose, i.e., your purpose to host such events in the first place.
During in-person conferences, audience members had to register before or during the event. Your personal details were nothing but prospective leads for the host.
Live polls and chat play similar roles for virtual events.
Secondly, you can seek expert help with the entire event as well, right from the content to creating high-quality videos. All you need to focus on is the right message delivered in the best possible way to create greater engagement.
Such visual presentations are more effective and appealing to the new millennial audience as compared to traditional conferences.
Literally, the virtual space leaves enough bandwidth for the host to explore and make these sessions as engaging and memorable as possible. So, make optimal use of the tools available.
A lot depends on how you present and host the show! Of course, if you succeed to please the audience with those creative visual effects, your job is half done! But, on the other hand, you can expect your audience to develop a feeling of trust and dependency on your services.
They will become your potential leads!
Thirdly, a live presentation can expose your vulnerability to the audience more clearly than in-person conferences could have done.
Just remember! Your audience is keeping a close watch as you deliver your messages. Your body language, eye contact, and silent gestures are well-noticed and remembered.
On the contrary, traditional conferences were better. Your gestures were visible only to the people sitting in the front three rows. You were less vulnerable there.
So it would help if you were straightforward, consistent, and truthful in whatever message you wish to convey to the audience.
Any amount of flamboyant words usage or gestures might not cover the fact that you are actually misleading your audience. This is because your audience is smart and observant. Nothing escapes their watchful eyes. So if you fumble or hesitate, that will reflect clearly to all.
As mentioned in Forbes, “a trusting relationship between you and the audience is what drives real engagement,” if your words, expressions, and consistent actions fail to foster that trust, your virtual events will fail to serve the purpose eventually.
The bottomline is …
Virtual events and online conferences have already proved their worth.
The present data can attest to that. And, the rapid way with which more and more users are resonating with them, it is highly unlikely that these platforms will lose their popularity anytime soon!
This is because these tools are affordable and user-friendly. But, most important of all, they have the potential to bridge the gap and bring the world together on a single screen.
These platforms aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
What we can expect is many advanced applications and features of virtual conferences in the coming future.
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