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Virtual Conference Planning & Hosting: All You Need To Know

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The way conferences are conducted has undergone significant changes, and now they are mainly organized online. Hosting a virtual conference offers numerous advantages to businesses, such as reaching a wider audience, cost savings, and making events more accessible and environmentally friendly.

Meetaverse is a top-notch virtual conference platform specializing in planning and hosting virtual events. It helps businesses create engaging experiences without the usual challenges of in-person events.

Whether you’re a pro at organizing events or just starting to plan virtual conferences, this guide has all the info and tools you need to make the most of this exciting world of planning virtual conferences.

How to Plan a Virtual Conference: Step-by-Step Guide

We recommend starting with planning a virtual conference checklist. Planning is key to success. It helps make everything smooth and enjoyable for both organizers and participants. From setting clear goals to using the right technology, a good virtual conference planning list ensures the conference meets its goals and goes beyond expectations.

1. Define Goals of Your Virtual Conference

​​Defining your goals is the guiding star for your virtual conference management, influencing planning and execution. It helps you:

  • Focus efforts: Clear goals enable effective resource allocation and prioritization.
  • Measure success: Defined goals provide a benchmark to evaluate conference effectiveness.
  • Attract the right audience: Tailor marketing efforts to attract interested attendees.
  • Secure sponsors and partners: Clear goals attract potential sponsors and partners.

Remember to set SMART goals, it is essential for ensuring each objective is clearly defined and achievable within a set timeframe, a crucial aspect for monitoring progress and attaining success. For example, the general aim of driving immediate sales is transformed into a tangible target with “Aim for a 2.5% increase in sales from attendees of the virtual conference from February 2-5th, assessing and reporting the results by February 10th.”

Consider these objectives you can work for setting SMART goals for your virtual conference:

  • Foster relationship strengthening
  • Elevate awareness
  • Introduce new products
  • Expand customer base
  • Enhance customer loyalty
  • Drive immediate sales

2. Choose a Theme of Your Virtual Conference

A captivating theme is like a story that ties your conference together. It should connect with your audience, match your goals, spark interest and go well with a virtual conference format. Whether it’s “Science and Education Forum” or “Learning Design Summit”, pick a theme that captures your event’s vibe and gets everyone excited for a great experience.

3. Prepare the Agenda

Now, let’s focus on something important: creating an exciting agenda. It’s key to how to do a virtual conference successfully. Consider adding:

  • Informative presentations: Share industry insights, the latest research, and practical case studies.
  • Interactive workshops: Give chances for hands-on learning and collaborative problem-solving.
  • Engaging panel discussions: Encourage lively debates and different perspectives on important industry topics.
  • Fireside chats: Provide intimate conversations with experts for in-depth knowledge sharing.
  • Networking opportunities: Set up special spaces for attendees to connect, build relationships, and explore potential collaborations.

Remember to strike a balance between informative content and interactive activities to keep your audience engaged throughout the virtual conference planning timeline.

4. Select a Virtual Conferences Platform

The right platform from all those virtual conference hosting services is your trusted guide in navigating the complexities of the online world. Meetaverse stands out as a leading choice, offering a robust suite of features, including:

  • Immersive virtual environments: Create engaging spaces for networking, workshops, and exhibitions.
  • Intuitive live streaming: Deliver high-quality presentations and interactive sessions.
  • Interactive tools: Foster audience participation through polls, Q&A, and gamification features.
  • Robust analytics: Track key metrics and gain valuable insights into attendee behavior.
  • Dedicated support: Ensure a smooth experience with readily available assistance.

Beyond these core features, Meetaverse offers extensive customization options and seamless integration with popular marketing and communication tools, making it a comprehensive solution for all your virtual conference programs needs.

5. Establish a Clear Schedule

Time is of the essence. Create a detailed timeline with deadlines for every crucial step, including:

  • Speaker invitations and confirmations
  • Session content finalization
  • Marketing campaign launch
  • Platform setup and testing
  • Pre-event communication and registration
  • Live event management
  • Post-event follow-up and feedback collection

Breaking down your goals into manageable milestones and adhering to the timeline will ensure your virtual conference schedule runs smoothly and efficiently.

6. Curate Speakers & Content Management

Speakers are the stars of your virtual show. Carefully curate your lineup, prioritizing expertise, diversity, and the ability to captivate an online audience. Collaborate with speakers to finalize presentations, conduct rehearsals, and pre-record sessions if necessary. Don’t forget to create compelling speaker bios and promotional materials to generate excitement among attendees.

7. Make Branding & Customisation of Your Virtual Conference

Transform your virtual conference hosting into a dynamic extension of your brand. Tailor every aspect of the digital landscape, from the color schemes and typography to the comprehensive customization of avatars, booths, and banners. Encourage participants to personalize their avatars, integrating their photos and company logos akin to digital business cards, facilitating seamless networking and recognition.

Elevate the visual appeal and functionality of your virtual space by designing booths that are not only visually captivating with product images or service videos but are also strategically placed for maximum visibility, like along the pathway from the reception to the stage. Consider adding interactive elements and surveys within these booths to engage attendees actively, foster meaningful interactions, and glean insightful data for lead generation and feedback.

In doing so, you reinforce your brand’s presence and create an immersive, interactive environment that resonates with your company’s ethos, ensuring a memorable and impactful virtual conference experience.

8. Concentrate on Marketing & Promotion

Craft a targeted marketing campaign to reach your ideal audience. Utilize:

  • Social media: Leverage platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to engage potential attendees with relevant content and event updates.
  • Email marketing: Send targeted email campaigns to your existing network and industry contacts.
  • Industry publications: Partner with relevant publications to promote your conference through articles, press releases, and sponsored content.
  • Influencer marketing: Collaborate with industry influencers to reach a wider audience and build credibility.

9. Think about Virtual Conference Monetization

Virtual conferences offer diverse monetization opportunities beyond ticket sales. Explore these avenues to maximize your ROI:

  • Sponsorships: Partner with relevant companies to showcase their products or services within the virtual environment. Sponsors can have dedicated virtual conference booths, sponsor sessions, or offer exclusive giveaways.
  • Paid content: Offer exclusive content like downloadable resources, in-depth workshops, or premium networking opportunities for an additional fee. This caters to attendees seeking deeper engagement and valuable takeaways.
  • Ticket tiers: Implement a tiered ticketing system with varying levels of access and benefits. For example, a basic tier could offer access to all live sessions, while a premium tier could include bonus content, networking opportunities, and VIP access to speakers.

By strategically incorporating these monetization options, you can generate additional revenue to support your virtual conference setup and potentially turn it into a profitable venture.

10. Maintain Pre-event Communication & Engagement

Don’t let the buzz fade after the virtual conference marketing campaign ends. Maintain consistent communication with registered attendees, keeping them informed and engaged:

  • Send informative emails with detailed agenda updates, speaker introductions, and platform access instructions.
  • Host pre-event webinars or Q&A sessions to address any attendee concerns and generate excitement.
  • Encourage social media interaction with event hashtags and polls to build a sense of community among participants.

11. Manage Your Live Conference

The moment of truth has arrived! Ensure a smooth and engaging live event experience by:

  • Having a dedicated team to monitor the platform, address technical issues, and answer attendee queries promptly.
  • Utilizing platform features like polls, Q&A, and chat functionalities to encourage audience participation and interaction.
  • Moderating sessions effectively, keeping discussions on track, and ensuring everyone has a chance to be heard.
  • Promoting social media engagement by encouraging attendees to share their thoughts and experiences using the event hashtag.

12. Maintain Post-event Activities & Follow-up

The online conference may be over, but the journey doesn’t end there. Keep the momentum going with these post-event activities:

  • Share recordings of sessions and presentations with attendees for future reference.
  • Conduct surveys and gather feedback to measure the success of your event and identify areas for improvement.
  • Send follow-up emails thanking attendees for their participation and showcasing key takeaways from the conference.
  • Maintain engagement with your virtual community through online forums, social media groups, and future event planning updates.

By following these comprehensive steps and leveraging the power of a robust online virtual conference hosting service like Meetaverse, you can orchestrate an engaging and successful online event that delivers lasting value for both organizers and attendees. Remember, meticulous planning, innovative technology, and audience engagement are the cornerstones of a thriving online virtual conference hosting experience.

Virtual Conference Planning Checklist

We’ve prepared a handy checklist to guide you through planning a virtual conference. Use this checklist to ensure you don’t overlook any crucial steps in your preparation. Happy planning!

And that’s how do you do a virtual conference! Remember, success comes with meticulous planning and engaging your audience effectively.

Overcoming Tech Challenges During Virtual Conferences

Even the best plans can face unexpected tech challenges during virtual conference activities. To keep things running smoothly, it’s essential to be ready for any technical hiccups. Here are some tips on hosting a virtual conference:

  • Backup plans: Don’t let a glitchy internet connection ruin your event. Pre-record key sessions and have backup presenters on standby. Picture seamlessly switching to a pre-recorded version while someone fixes the router!
  • Internet redundancy: Don’t rely on just one internet thread. Get backup connections, like a squirrel stocking up on nuts. If one connection fails, the other takes over, keeping your virtual world online.
  • Rehearsals aren’t just for rock bands: Before the live audience shows up, have thorough rehearsals with speakers and your tech team. Practice transitions, troubleshoot issues, and ensure everyone’s on the same page. 

Using these strategies, you can eliminate unexpected interruptions during the conference.

How to Host a Successful Virtual Conference

Pre-event preparations

  • Send clear communication and instructions to attendees, including platform access details, agenda overview, and speaker information.
  • Conduct test runs of the platform to ensure everything functions smoothly.
  • Prepare marketing materials and social media posts to promote engagement during the event.

Live Event Management

  • Have a dedicated team to monitor the platform, address technical issues, and answer attendee queries promptly.
  • Moderate Q&A sessions and encourage audience participation through polls, chats, and interactive features.
  • Utilize social media walls and live streams to showcase attendee engagement and generate excitement.

Post-Conference Activities

  • Share recordings of sessions and presentations with attendees.
  • Conduct surveys and gather feedback to measure success and identify areas for improvement.
  • Send follow-up emails thanking attendees and showcasing key takeaways.
  • Maintain virtual conference audience engagement with your community through online forums and social media groups.

How to Make a Virtual Conference Engaging: Useful Tips & Activities

Engaging your audience is key to a successful virtual conference. Here are some activities and tips on how to create an engaging virtual conference:

  1. Gamification: Incorporate interactive games to make sessions more enjoyable and encourage participation.
  2. Polls: Conduct polls to gather instant feedback, involve your audience, and spark real-time discussions.
  3. Q&A sessions: Encourage audience interaction with dedicated Q&A sessions, allowing them to directly engage with speakers.
  4. Virtual booths: Set up virtual booths for sponsors and exhibitors, providing interactive spaces for networking and showcasing products/services.
  5. Social walls: Create a virtual space where attendees can share thoughts, comments, and pictures, fostering a sense of community.
  6. Networking lounges: Design virtual spaces specifically for networking, allowing attendees to connect, share insights, and establish valuable connections.
  7. Live chatrooms: Implement live chatrooms for different topics, enabling real-time discussions and fostering a sense of community among participants.
  8. Interactive workshops: Host hands-on workshops where attendees can actively participate, learn new skills, and collaborate with peers.
  9. Virtual team challenges: Introduce team challenges or competitions to encourage collaboration, friendly competition, and team-building among attendees.
  10. Virtual swag bags: Provide virtual swag bags with downloadable resources, exclusive offers, and additional content to enhance the overall attendee experience.

By incorporating these additional elements, you not only maintain virtual conference engagement but also create a memorable and interactive virtual conference environment.

Virtual conferences present a dynamic and cost-effective alternative to traditional events, opening doors to a wider audience and fostering global connections. We covered all the information you need to know on how to run a virtual conference. By following this comprehensive guide and leveraging the power of platforms like Meetaverse, you can create immersive and engaging virtual conference entertainment experiences that deliver exceptional value for both organizers and attendees. 

Remember, meticulous planning, innovative technology, and audience engagement are the cornerstones for you to host virtual conferences. Embrace the possibilities of the virtual realm and embark on your journey to hosting unforgettable events that leave a lasting impact.

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