Networking events give the opportunity for attendees to forge meaningful connections. While they typically make the most sense in an in-person format, over the past two years hybrid and virtual events have evolved into the norm and have come a long way in terms of creativity and attendee engagement. Read through our tips about how to create an engaging virtual or hybrid social networking event that will ensure your attendees will remember it for years to come and even temporarily forget it was not in-person.
Tip 1: Different Can Be Great
The first thing to remember is that an in-person social or networking event is different than one run virtually or in a hybrid manner. That said, different can be amazing and still check off all the same boxes, but it must be planned and executed accordingly.
Tip 2: Define Your Goals/Key Performance Indicators
Like anything else, if you want to exceed expectations, you will need to clearly define your finite goals and KPI’s ahead of time. Having a clear vision of these will help you when fleshing out your virtual or hybrid social networking event.
Tip 3: Know Your Demographic
Before picking a theme, format, or anything else on that level, take a good look at the exact demographic who will be attending. Ask the important questions! What has worked in the past, even in-person? What are the areas that really pique your demographic’s interest and how can you use that to engage the attendees? How can you leverage what you know has worked historically for your demographic to better find ways to help attendees forget the event is virtual/hybrid even if for a few moments? These are the questions to ask yourself when planning the event so that it is best suited for your attendees.
Tip 4: Plan and Elevate
The next step is my favorite part, which is the fun part – planning and elevating! With your goals and KPI’s in one hand and your knowledge of your demographic in the other, you can strategically flesh out the event. A great starting point is to look at the time slot you want to fill and look at the capabilities of your platform or explore if there is another platform to help accentuate the event. It is also great to integrate the conference or larger event theme to ensure there is one clear vision. There are so many creative things you can do to really unite attendees. Try group games, quiz shows, cocktail and cooking classes, paint night, or maybe leverage a unique networking platform or program. The sky is the limit!
Tip 5: Have fun!
When you get immersed and have fun with this process, the results will just get better. This also transfers to attendees who have an amazing time. The best feeling is when attendees are conversing and engaging, and forgetting it is not an in-person event.
With the above tips in mind, you can leverage the virtual and hybrid event formats to be engaging, immersive, and fun for attendees. To get started planning your next event – contact us today!