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What is a Virtual Networking Event and How to Create One?
Did you know that according to the vFairs survey, 88.1% of the respondents hosted at least 1 virtual event in 2022?
By understanding what these events are, why they matter, and how to maximize your participation, you can harness their potential to
- expand your network,
- gain valuable insights, and
- advance both personally and professionally.
So what is a virtual networking event, and how can you create one? Read on to find out all the nitty-gritty details.
Let’s dive in!
What is a Virtual Networking Event?
A virtual networking event is an online gathering where individuals, professionals, or businesses connect, share information, and build relationships.
Since there is no one-size-fits-all, virtual events can take many forms:
- panel discussions,
- virtual trade shows, etc.
However, all virtual events leverage digital platforms or apps to facilitate participant communication and engagement regardless of their type.
Why do Virtual Networking Events Matter?
Virtual networking events offer a wide range of benefits for individuals and businesses alike.
1. Global Reach
By breaking down geographical barriers, virtual networking events allow you to connect with a diverse and global audience.
Furthermore, interacting with such a diverse audience helps you get fresh perspectives, new opportunities, and a broader pool of potential collaborators.
Or, simply put, you can foster international collaborations and explore new markets without leaving your desk.
Without the need for travel, accommodation, or physical venues, virtual networking events are more cost-effective.
Thus, you can save money while still accessing valuable networking opportunities.
3. Time Efficiency
Virtual events often offer flexible schedules, allowing you to attend sessions or meetings at times that suit your availability or time zone.
Attending virtual networking events means you can participate from your home, office, or any location with an internet connection.
Therefore, they reduce the time and effort associated with traditional in-person events.
5. Enhanced Networking Opportunities
As well as attracting a diverse audience, virtual events often offer diverse networking formats, such as one-on-one meetings, group discussions, and breakout sessions. It is this diversity that enhances your chances of making meaningful connections.
6. Access to Expertise
Virtual networking events frequently feature renowned speakers and experts as presenters, providing you with direct access to industry insights and thought leadership.
7. Data and Analytics
Thanks to digital technology, most virtual events can offer data and analytics that measure your participation's impact.
So, for example, you can track metrics like engagement levels, attendee demographics, and session popularity to refine your networking strategy.
8. Interactive Features
To replicate the in-person networking experience, virtual events often incorporate interactive features like chat rooms, breakout sessions, and virtual lounges where participants can engage in meaningful conversations.
By embracing virtual networking, you can tap into a world of opportunities, save resources, and adapt to the changing landscape of networking and business interactions.
How to Host a Virtual Networking Event that Grabs Attention?
Regardless of the event format, hosting a virtual networking event must have the following 3 elements:
- a strategic approach focusing on engaging content,
- effective promotion, and
- seamless execution.
In addition, preparing a virtual networking event covers 3 stages: before, during and after the event.
Top 10 Activities You Must Before the Event
1. Define Your Goals and Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Before you start planning, establish clear objectives for your virtual networking event.
- Are you aiming to connect professionals in a specific industry?
- Are you aiming to promote your business?
- Are you aiming to facilitate knowledge sharing?
In addition, identify what sets your event apart. What unique value or experience will attendees gain from your event?
2. Understand Your Audience
Know your target audience's preferences, pain points, and interests so you can
tailor your event to address their needs and provide solutions.
Also, consider their time zones, schedules, and language preferences when planning the event.
3. Set a Date and Time
Choose a date and time that accommodates your target audience's schedule.
You should consider time zones if your audience is global and try to avoid scheduling conflicts with other major events or holidays.
4. Choose the Right Virtual Platform
Selecting the appropriate virtual platform is essential for a successful event.
Therefore, you should select a reliable and user-friendly virtual event platform that aligns with your event's objectives.
Moreover, ensure it offers essential features like
- breakout rooms,
- compatibility with your content format (webinars, panel discussions, workshops), and
- customizable branding options.
And last but not least, make sure it supports the intended number of attendees.
Want to know more about the best conference apps for your next virtual event?
Jump to our blog Top 10 Conference Networking Apps You Must Try In 2023, to find what’s currently hot.
5. Craft Compelling Event Title and Description
Crafting a captivating event title and description isn’t only about grabbing your audience's attention.
It’s also about clearly communicating the event's purpose, benefits, and what attendees can expect.
6. Create Engaging Content
Develop a content plan that includes a mix of engaging formats, such as keynote speakers, panel discussions, workshops, and interactive Q&A sessions.
Furthermore, feature industry experts or thought leaders who can provide valuable insights and provoke discussion.
7. Promote Your Event
Create a comprehensive promotion strategy that leverages various channels, including social media, email marketing, your website, and industry networks.
Moreover, create eye-catching promotional materials and a landing page where attendees can register.
8. Early Registration Incentives
Encourage early registrations by offering incentives such as
- discounted tickets,
- exclusive resources, or
- early access to event content.
Tip: Limited-time offers can create a sense of urgency.
9. Check Technical Requirements
I probably can’t stress enough how important it is to do a technical checkup. Therefore, check
- The internet connection,
- quality audio and video equipment, and
- familiarity with the virtual platform's features.
The same applies to your guest speakers - Check if they are familiar with the platform you are using, and run through any technical questions they might have.
Tip: If possible, share the software demo, so your guests can experience the interface beforehand.
10. Conduct a Test Run
Do a test run to iron out any technical glitches and ensure that all presenters are comfortable with their roles and equipment.
Top 3 Activities To Do During the Event
1. Emphasize Networking Opportunities
Create opportunities for networking within the virtual event by using breakout rooms, chat features, and structured networking sessions.
In addition, keep sessions dynamic, concise, and informative.
2. Create Buzz
Maintain the excitement during the event by running real-time contests, challenges, and giveaways.
Furthermore, encourage participants to share their experiences on social media using event-specific hashtags.
ProTip: Did you know that some digital solutions, such as Tapni, can act as a gamification tool?
The first person who scans the QR code and provides some info from your profile gets a small reward.
For more fun virtual ideas, hop on to 10 Virtual Networking Ideas You Should Implement Today.
3. User-Friendly Experience
In order to ensure a seamless and user-friendly experience, provide clear instructions on how to navigate the virtual platform.
Also, offer technical support and troubleshooting resources to address attendee issues promptly.
Top 3 Activities To Do After the Event
1. Post-Event Follow-Up
After the event, send personalized thank-you messages to attendees, share event recordings and presentation materials, and provide continued networking or engagement opportunities.
ProTip: Did you know you can easily connect your CRM to your Tapni Business Profile and set follow-up reminders? Handy, right?
2. Gather Feedback
Don’t forget to collect feedback from attendees through surveys or feedback forms.
You need to analyze this data to understand what worked well and where improvements can be made for future events.
3. Do Content Repurposing
Make the most of your event's content by repurposing it. Share recordings, presentation slides, and key takeaways with attendees and those who couldn't make it.
Not only does this extend the event's reach, but it also reinforces your expertise and thought leadership.
Wrapping It Up
Hosting a successful virtual networking event involves careful planning, effective promotion, technical preparation, and post-event follow-up.
However, managing all of the aspects on top of hosting a virtual networking event is overwhelming.
Luckily, digital solutions like Tapni help you run smooth and engaging virtual events.
Why Go for Tapni?
🔥 Get actionable analytics and measure ROI at events.
🔥 Automatically send a message to all the attendees who have contacted you or visited your profile after the event
🔥Organize your new contacts into meaningful editable lists.
🔥 Use your QR code as a gamification tool.
🔥 Put a direct link to the social media profile you want attendees to see.
🔥 Schedule follow-up reminders so you don’t forget to reach out to your new contacts.
🔥 And so much more.
Feel like giving Tapni a go?
Download the Tapni app today and create a memorable virtual networking event next time.
1. How do You Plan a Virtual Networking Event?
To plan a virtual networking event effectively, start by defining your event's objectives and target audience.
- choose a suitable virtual platform,
- craft compelling content, and
- develop a comprehensive promotion strategy.
Finally, ensure a seamless user experience, engage your participants during the event, and gather feedback to refine future virtual networking events.
2. What are The Stages of a Virtual Networking Event?
The stages of a virtual networking event typically include:
- Pre-event planning - Define goals and target audience, choose a platform, and plan content.
- Event execution - Run sessions and facilitate networking.
- Post-event activities - Do follow-ups, content sharing, and gathering feedback to assess the event's success and make improvements for future events.
3. What are The Challenges of Virtual Networking?
The challenges of virtual networking include potential technical issues such as poor internet connectivity, which can disrupt conversations and hinder engagement.
Also, building meaningful connections in a virtual environment can be more challenging than face-to-face interactions, as non-verbal cues are limited.
Additionally, virtual networking events can sometimes be overwhelming due to the sheer volume of participants and information shared, making it harder to stand out and make lasting connections.
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