The widespread acceptance of online gatherings has given us an unprecedented opportunity to develop professional networks and make new friends no matter where we live.
A successful virtual event builds on several fundamentals. Events need to be relevant, unique, and creative. They need to be promoted and supported by robust online conference software. 80% of event marketers prioritize attendee engagement and satisfaction as their number one KPI for virtual experiences. Fostering engagement is also the most significant challenge with online events. (Bizzabo, Event Outlook Report 2021)
With this in mind, we have put together 80 ideas to unite your pros, influencers, and ambassadors with engaging virtual event ideas.
Virtual Event Best Practices
Send a Survey
Since the most significant obstacle of virtual events is engagement, seek advice by going directly to those you want to involve. A smart strategy is to send a survey to your brand ambassador team before the event. Ask them to give some feedback on potential topics or classes that interest them.
Involve Team Members
A great way to engage attendees is to flip the rolls. Have your ambassadors teach a class or lead a discussion. Many micro-influencers are striving to build their audiences and their individual social currency. Most likely, they would love a chance to star in your virtual event.
Get the Timing Right
When you're in the virtual world, online attention spans are lower than in other settings. You need to keep things going and keep the momentum high. We recommend that Internet-based activities and gatherings stick to an hour or less.
Have a Clear Agenda
Take the time to jot down the details for your virtual event. What is the purpose of your event? And what is the main activity?
The more specific and clear you are about your plan, the better your event will go. At a minimum, write out your welcome and closing. Just like you would practice a live speech in a mirror, you can schedule a mock meeting and record it. Watch the recording and critique how engaging you are.
Just as you would prepare the location for an in-person event, design the virtual setting. It might be fun to do something out of the ordinary with the environment. Zoom comes with all kinds of different backdrop designs built into the app. Also, you might play music before the event to jazz it up.
Above everything, ensure that the equipment works, including the microphone and camera, are operational and ready.
Introduce the Event
Have the facilitator or hosts review the schedule. Be clear about length and timing. And encourage people to turn on their cameras.
Keep People to the End
Hold a raffle at the end of the meeting to encourage attendance. To increase participation, you could have a random prize draw or raffle at the conclusion of your virtual event.
If you're looking for a guide to going ever further into interactive gatherings, including 14 helpful best practices and a checklist, see here: 2021 Virtual Meeting Guide, Steps, and Best Practices.
VIRTUAL EVENT IDEAS
You're bound to find great motivation for your next virtual event with these 80 exclusive event ideas. We've categorized virtual events into six areas: icebreakers, activities, classes, games, brand building, and free stuff.
1. Roll call
2. Welcome everyone
3. Where are you joining from? - It's always fun to see where everyone is. Have participants simply reply in the meeting chat.
4. Mood Checker - Have attendees raise their hands or have a poll such as, "on a scale of 1-5, how excited are you today?"
5. Share a video
6. Play a few funny memes
7. Conduct a live, online poll with your attendees
8. Online surveys
9. Quizzes - need ideas for icebreaker quizzes? Quizbreaker is a good resource.
10. Who's your hero? - have attendees share their hero in the chat.
11. Virtual team-building activity - Snacknation has tons of creative and fun ideas. Check out their 57 virtual team-building activities.
12. Onboarding event for new pros, influencers, and ambassadors
13. Virtual dance party
14. Virtual happy hour
15. Virtual coffee break
16. Holiday celebrations
19. Virtual photo booth
20. Zoom background switcher
21. Virtual trivia
23. Social media challenge
24. Virtual exhibition hall
27. Describe a brand product in one word and share it in the chat
28. Virtual tour - present a tour of where the magic happens, your office, fulfillment facility, etc.
29. Group photo session
30. A virtual product launch party
31. Exclusive experiences
32. Health and wellbeing activities and classes
33. Workouts - led by your pros or ambassadors
34. Meditation - you can bring in an expert to guide the meditation or play a video from YouTube
35. Yoga classes
36. Virtual cooking classes - find a chef or baker to use your equipment, product, food, or restaurant
37. Live cooking demonstrations
38. Make or create something
39. Easy art
41. Get an expert to share specialized information
42. Brand mission and history
43. Spotlight ambassadors, pros, and influencers
44. Give awards
45. Reward the people who referred the most
46. Reward people with the most social mentions
47. Highlight milestones
48. Honor a favorite social media post
49. Review and explain upcoming campaigns and events
50. Share inside background or stories about the company that not many people know
51. Heads up on what's next - new products, new initiatives, things going on with the brand
52. Breakout Groups - break out into smaller groups and provide a prompt for the small group to discuss. Ask things like brainstorm fun campaign ideas or incentive wishlists.
53. Mini focus groups
54. Vote on new product lines and options
55. Q&A with founder
56. Q&A with influencers
57. Q&A with company owner
58. Give exclusive view at new, upcoming product
Free Stuff and Giveaways
People love freebies, especially when they have affection for the business that is giving them out.
59. Offer Sponsored Virtual Event Bags
60. Give merch and product away during the event
61. Surprise attendees with a home delivery
62. Send supplies and ingredients for the virtual class
63. Award participants with brand swag online
64. Keep everyone to the end by raffling stuff at the conclusion of the event
65. Post-event thank you gift
68. GeoGuessr - explore the world without leaving home. This is a favorite at Wooly.
70. The Price is Right
71. Name this tune
72. Interactive games like would you rather questions.
73. Virtual Show and Tell - we can all remember anxiously awaiting show and tell day. Adapt this engaging activity by either asking a few people before the event to share or tell something. Or you could go the more funny and spontaneous route and do a grab-and-go version. Have everyone get something within arms' reach and show it on screen.
74. Home scavenger hunt - 30 seconds to fetch something such as a brand product you love or try 20 seconds to find your favorite gif and share it in the chat. Also, follow this link for virtual scavenger hunt ideas and samples.
75. Online Bingo -Fun and great for engagement. Here's a link to build your own bingo board
76. Share the most recent picture you took
77. Virtual murder mystery - if you have more time and want to build a sense of community, a murder mystery night might be just the activity. Here are 28 of the best virtual murder mystery games to try.
78. Virtual escape experiences - virtual escape rooms can be played on Zoom as well as other websites. They cultivate cooperation, coordination, and teamwork.
80. Leaderboard challenges
Now that you have dozens of ideas for potential virtual events, we have a final bit of advice. Always follow up after the event with an email or text to keep the unified feeling going. If you record the event, email the recording. Also, send an event recap and pictures.
Also, survey the participants. Ask people what they liked and enjoyed. This can be a formal survey or a reply directly to the email with feedback and ideas.
Be innovative with your virtual events and take some risks. Live the advice of Jamie Paolinetti, "Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless."
Good luck and have fun!