Since the pandemic, virtual events have evolved and really taken off. As such, they provide benefits that can be used as a company to level the playing field against larger players.
In the section Virtual events to build your businessMonique Johnson, founder of LIVE Video Lab and The MOVE Experience and Shawn Hessinger, the Executive Editor for Small Biz Trends sit down together to discuss how small business owners can use this trend to their advantage.
Shawn: Virtual events are nothing new, so why have they become so important to companies in recent years?
Monique: The world went through the 2020 pandemic, when we literally had to shut down. We did not like change, so we flocked to TVs, computers, mobile devices, etc. to keep busy and avoid getting bored.
She says that the virtual events we were used to seeing before Covid are not the same type of virtual events which we now see as a result of the pandemic.
Monique says that virtual events are a great way for us to capture people’s attention, create awareness or whatever your goals may be. She says that these are some of the main reasons why virtual events have become so important in recent years.
Shawn: So, virtual events are different than they were before; how do they differ?
Monique: There are all kinds of virtual events. Virtual summits before Covid 19 were simply to decide to gather a bunch of people, experts; they should just show a few pictures – maybe choose something and that’s it.
She says that virtual summits that are done correctly, strategically, intentionally or in another way are not something where you just grab a bunch of people and have a picture game that appears on the screen.
Today, more commitment is happening – there is more of a connection… more camera looks. She adds that there are more people who say, OK, how can we do this where we involve the audience and not make it just about who shouts from one to many?
Webinar before, close to an actual event after
Shawn: It sounds to me like it was almost more like a webinar before, and now it’s more like a real event.
Monique: Correct, and even webinars today are not the same as they used to be. And I think many times as entrepreneurs, or experts out there, crawl over the fact that they can not just hide in a bunch of pictures, right?
The LIVE Video Lab founder goes on to say that things have changed so much, and it’s just a matter of what we can do to keep our audience engaged. Honestly, she says, it’s not about you and your photos, but about how you can provide an experience and serve those who participate in your virtual events.
The benefits of virtual events over personal events
Shawn: When travel restrictions ease, do you see everyone flocking back to primarily personal events, or do you think some things have changed permanently. And if so, what?
Monique: I know things get easier, people open up again, people love the energy of being personal. And personally it’s amazing – but it’s virtual too.
Unlike a virtual event, they are in their environment, they are comfortable – regardless of whether they have the opportunity to network, so for example on the Zoom platform you can make breakout groups so that there are smaller groups.
Monique goes on to say that an introverted personality will feel more comfortable sharing, or at least saying something or being involved, compared to being in a large main room, by either a personal conference or a main room in a virtual event on Zoom .
So it’s just an excellent example, she says. Another thing is the cost. So the cost for both ends, not just for the people, the participants who will live in personal things, from getting the ticket itself, booking a flight, booking hotel accommodation, the food, the entertainment – whatever it is you do when you get there is drastically lower than to be at a virtual event.
Personal vs virtual events
Although she’s a big proponent of virtual events, Monique does not think that personally is worse, or that it’s something that personally will just take over.
Finally, she adds that virtual events can still be part of your business strategy or business model. If anything, what she’s seen working with her clients and colleagues in the online space is this: They use virtual events to get people or strangers who do not know who they are to register in their ecosystem and everyday language in the world.
And then… if they sign up for a program or because they love you so much and tell you they want to meet you in person, she says that’s why she thinks virtual events are here to stay.
Be sure to check out the rest of the video where you will find useful and practical tips, such as how to decide what kind of factors you should consider if your next event is to be personal.
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