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Networking At Virtual Events: What Do Event Organisers Need To Know?

To all, welcome to the new normal, our modern reality, where engagement starts at the comfort of your room, and the success of your virtual event is dependent on the stability of your home internet connection.

Now that events are at the cusp of virtual landscapes and the physical space, we find ourselves living within the confines of the Virtual Meeting Room. Where your traditional meeting room has its usual carpeted floor, 12-seater conference table, and 360° revolving office chairs; its virtual counterpart like Social27’s The Networking Lounge, a specialized ‘social lounge’, boasts more than your usual Native Virtual Meetings, like: Happy Hour Chats, Soapbox Videos, and Exhibitor Booth Microsites. All these interestingly named features allow for fruitful engagement and meaningful networking between all those who attend an event. 

Catering to Niche Markets

Happy Hour is a special feature of Social27’s Networking Lounge to add zing to a rather boring virtual event. True to its name, Happy Hour chats, also known as ‘cocktail hour’ by some, usually involve engaging activities (e.g. Happy Hour Meditation, Happy Hour Cooking, or Happy Hour Yoga) that organisers can inject during the entire course of their event which can involve either the entire group or just a small group within the whole lot. Joining a Happy Hour chat is as simple as scanning through a list of various topics and choosing one that piques your interest!

This feature perfectly complements immersive virtual networking events that have a gamified theme. No, this doesn’t mean playing actual games, or it can be depending on the vibe you’re going for. Gamifying your events espouses the positive reinforcement tactic by rewarding those who contribute to the progression of the event. Rewarding attendees who at the end of the day have created the biggest networks or those who have joined the greatest number of Happy Hour chats are just some ideas. This strategy is a sure shot way of encouraging engagement within your event as humans are innately competitive. Your attendees come out of your event with new connections and a prize, while you come out with a successful and memorable event—a win-win situation needless to say.

This is further reinforced by another feature of the Networking Lounge, the Leaderboard. In this page you will see which attendees have earned the most points and badges. You can earn points and badges by interacting with other attendees, sponsors, sessions, and much more. When you earn a badge, you will see a pop-up notification indicating which badge you earned and how. Rankings are updated every hour, so don’t worry if you have earned points but don’t immediately see this reflected on the Leaderboard.

Tip: Further boost your engagement by coming up with sponsored event games. According to leading mobile event technology platform Eventbase, encouraging sponsor engagement through sponsorship of games or prizes for winners will both boost awareness of the sponsor and contribute to long-term brand affinity.

Optimizing Interaction

Let’s admit it, the general areas of virtual events can at time be chaotic. When this happens, it’s wise to have a separate area where videos such as: personal ‘thank you’ messages, comments on the events, shout outs, or insights on a specific topic are deposited in. This is where features of The Networking Lounge like Soapbox Videos or Hello World come in handy. This video recording feature can accommodate videos that are up to 30 seconds long and segregates them according to topic via hashtags. From the moment an attendee signs into a virtual event, he or she can immediately record a video to introduce themselves to the whole group. At any given time within the event, they can post a video commenting on a recently concluded Roundtable discussion. And before one leaves, encourage them to record a video to provide feedback on their experience during the event. This provides you a verbal metric as to which points worked well and which ones you need to improve on, all while perpetuating an atmosphere of social and professional engagement.

Image Credits: Unsplash

Elevating the Virtual Space

Exhibitor Booth Microsites is a feature that is unlike any other, in that it helps virtual transcend the physical. Don’t believe it? Here’s the 411 on this feature:

First, this feature helps empower your event’s sponsors through Sponsor Workspace by allowing them a glimpse into their foot traffic, or how many visitors have visited their respective booths. Not only that, Sponsor Workplace also gives your sponsors an insight to the activities of their booth representatives. Yes, you read that right. Each booth is assigned a booth rep to manage roundtables or boardroom sessions.

Second, each microsite or booth is given an artillery of work-automating tools to help optimize efficiency, like: a playlist of the sponsor’s personally curated content; an analytics tool that provides data on resource downloads, attendee activities, and overall microsite visits.

Lastly, this feature boasts a Scan My Badge tool. The Scan My Badge tool according to the Social27 website enables attendees to scan their badge to let sponsors know they’re interested in being contacted about their products and services – just like at an in-person event.

Image Credits: Pexels

The Competitive Advantage of Virtual Events

With the health restrictions that the respective governments of most countries in the world have imposed, in-person events have not been the obvious choice for organisers as of late. While people still crave for physical interaction, the events industry has been able to work around these safety protocols. Safer and arguably equally interesting interactive features of The Networking Lounge have made it possible for attendees to momentarily forget the absence of a physical space.

Virtual event platforms like Social27 have given event organisers more reason to choose the virtual option over in-person events by being equipped with tools that are suitable for a variety of virtual networking events, like: speed networking, gamify connections, or birds of a feather breakout sessions.

At the dawn of the new millennium, technology has imposed its pertinence primarily by replacing traditional research materials like books and the encyclopaedia. Then it slowly globalized communication through the introduction of social media, and eventually was used as a platform for businesses to optimize their marketing strategies. Now, it has disrupted industries we never thought would transition to using digital platforms to conduct activities, and the newest addition to this ever-growing list is the events industry.

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