1. Treat your event planning as you would a physical event.
Just because your event is going to be delivered online, it still needs the same preparation and commitment you would invest in a live event. One of the advantages of virtual events is that they provide a plethora of data and metrics, so factor in a quantifiable objective, such as number of students attending a recruitment event, or number of graduates attending a careers fair. Use the data available to make future improvements such as, offering supplementary sessions for those who registered but didn’t attend as well as adding other events to ensure ongoing engagement with those who show interest in a specific area.
2. Engage and involve key departments and faculty members who will have a presence at the event, and do it from the outset!
Particularly if it is your university’s first foray into the world of virtual events, make sure you brief members from other departments and faculties. Resistance to change coupled with fear of the unknown, are often barriers to getting people fully on-board and engaged with any event, live or virtual. Our tip is to involve key individuals in the planning process so that they become familiar with how your event will work virtually and what their role will be. It could be that colleagues are as yet unaware of the variety of formats available to deliver the content at a virtual event, such as audio rooms and video chat, so this is also a great opportunity to discuss content and its delivery, so that it is engaging, interesting and useful.
3. Offer event delegates multiple opportunities to attend
The benefits of virtual events are many, but one of the main reasons our university clients tell us they couldn’t go back to only offering physical events, is that virtual events are not restricted to taking place on just one set day and time. An iVent license allows users to run an unlimited number of virtual events. So, if you’re planning to host a student recruitment event virtually, offer several dates and ensure you offer plenty of time (without being too far ahead) for students to sign up – and then remind them that they’ve done it and when and how to log in. The chances are this is their first virtual event too so a little hand-holding probably won’t go amiss. Finally, don’t forget to tell delegates that the content from your virtual event is available ‘on-demand,’ allowing them to visit and revisit the event time and time again. Providing unrestricted access to all the information they need to make an informed decision about applying for and/or accepting a place offer, could (and often does) make all the difference.