Now that virtual event programs have become commonplace, best practices for audience engagement are emerging. As your organization plans for the spring event and conference season, common recommendations for your virtual event programs include:
- Shorten your conference days and spread content over multiple days to reduce fatigue
- Vary the modes of content delivery (presentations, panels, etc.)
- Foster interactivity through Q&A time, chats, networking rooms, “gamification” (such as built-in scavenger hunts for prizes), and even lighter, live-streamed activities such mixed drink-making lessons for the event happy hour
- Send small gifts such as humorous trinkets, snacks, drink mixes, or awards in advance to connect the physical and virtual experience
Create special moments, too.
This is the truly enjoyable best practice both for your conference team and your audience–creating memorable moments within your event. These moments raise up your event and organization from the many, many online sessions people experience every week and help bond your audience together emotionally, despite the distance we all feel. We’ve all begun to recognize how critical this emotional component is at this point in time. And what is an easy way to bring that component in?
Cvent, one of the leading event technology providers, says in a recent blog post:
“Hire a video production company. The better the content, the higher attendee engagement. A production company can add endless value to your virtual conference…“
We would add that involving a video production company in the program design will make preparing for the event easier, as smaller video needs can easily be addressed. It will also make the event more meaningful for everyone involved as the special moments for video are defined, executed, and ultimately watched and responded to.
5 “Special Moment” ideas for virtual event programs
As a video production company that has been hired to fulfill just this sort of role, we offer up 5 “special moments” you can create during a virtual event program based on opportunities fairly common to organizations or associations. These are:
- Honoring your honorees with stories.This example from The Barker Adoption Foundation’s recent 75th anniversary Gala shows some of the key honorees from their history being described and then their appreciative speeches. Recordings like this can easily be done on Zoom or other recording platforms by MiniMatters.
- A slideshow of memories through the years and looking forward. This is a great one if this is an anniversary year for the organization or conference. Again, from The Barker Adoption Foundation’s recent 75th anniversary Gala, one can include a slideshow that includes as many people in the audience as possible. Here the whole Barker community becomes united visually in the dramatic 75th anniversary logo animation at the end of the video.
- Inspirational achievements that members have made to address the COVID-19 crisis or to stand resilient in its face. This example from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing shows, through photos and animation, the achievements of nursing schools around the country in the wake of the COVID crisis. At least one member wrote in to say that she had teared up watching the video.
- Stories of beneficiaries of the organization’s regular or charitable activities during this difficult year. Here we suggest ideas such as story videos about a signature program, perhaps focusing on just one person impacted. Another idea is thank you statements from people impacted by the organization in the midst of this crisis. Here’s an example, produced by MiniMatters for SCORE that shows how thankful small business owners served by SCORE are to their volunteer mentors.
- Stories of generosity of the organization’s members and supporters during this year. We recommend a compilation video with members sharing good things they did or how they helped others in line with the organization’s overall subject and mission. Here’s an example that shows how making energy available around the world can bring clean water, lighting, and food preservation.
Storytelling to connect with people
A common element of many of these special moments is stories. Stories bring people together emotionally, especially when contrasted with typical virtual program elements. For example, stories can show the positive impacts an organization’s work makes on real people’s lives. These stories provide a common purpose for the content-based training, exhibits, vendors, certifications and credits, and committee meetings.
Another common element is people. When people are not able to get out and see their peers and friends, especially when they are used to doing so at this kind of event, it really helps for your audience to see and hear from their peers and friends and through video.
And a final element is generosity of spirit. This is a difficult time, and raising up those people who have been generous and contributed to your organization or others over the years helps your audience feel inspired about the organization and eager to contribute as well.
Your video partner for virtual event programs
To explore how MiniMatters’ professional video production and marketing experts can help create “special moments” for your online conference or virtual event, call us at 301-339-0339 or request an estimate. Our mission is to help you and your organization succeed, virtually! And when the time is right again for in-person meetings, we can offer help, too.