If you are running an online event, then you know that you can draw in crowds from all over the world. However, no matter the theme of your virtual event, you need to develop fun and interesting virtual event ideas so that your attendees stay engaged, excited, and continue to think about your event and brand long after the event is done!
Not sure what to do? Here are 21 virtual event ideas to get you started.
You may be working with a group of people who know each other. Even if you don’t, a virtual team or individual game is an excellent way of connecting to others and getting excited. Games with incentives or prizes can allow your audience members to display their talents and vote for those who perform the game the best!
Just like games, contests are virtual event ideas that can get people talking. You may be surprised to discover how well people can perform from the comfort of their own home or workspace. Try to build the content around tasks that can be accomplished where the attendees are. Maybe the cutest pet contest or something event/topic-focused that does not require attendees to be on site.
Contests are also a great way to get sponsors or exhibitors involved. SalesForce, when hosting their virtual World Tour Sydney Reimagined, gave Salesforce AppExchange partners 3 minutes a piece to give a live demo of their apps. The audience was then asked to vote on their favorite one, with the winner announced the following day on Twitter.
If you make it clear that winners will be announced on social media, you will not only get engagement during the event but will benefit from attendees checking your social channels regularly.
Here is another virtual event idea. You may have speakers invited for a specific purpose, but what about a fun and engaging speaker that everyone loves?
If you can, try to secure a guest speaker that may be outside of the bounds of your event, but that you know your attendees will love. Perhaps you line up a popular motivational speaker or lifestyle influencer to help balance out more serious event content. If you are running a virtual conference or online summit, attendees may welcome the chance to take a deep breath and think about something else!
Polls and Q&As are not new virtual event ideas but they are highly effective for getting the audience to think about the content presented. In fact, 81.8% of virtual event organizers use polls to increase interactions. Polls and Q&A force attendees to pay attention to each session.
Try to host a poll or two for each virtual meeting or speaker session. This will engage the audience but also provide the speaker (and you, as host!) with valuable information about the effectiveness of the content, the format, and the audience engagement levels.
Advertising Q&As after keynote addresses and speaker sessions sets an expectation. It tells attendees that they are expected to engage with the presentation and that their thoughts are both welcomed and encouraged.
For smaller virtual events, a cooking or recipe night is an excellent way to encourage social engagement. Bring in a top local chef (see point #3) to host a virtual cooking class. If taking this route, supply the attendees with an ingredients list or the ingredients themselves in advance so they can be prepared and join in.
Or, for larger events, have each virtual attendee submit a favorite family recipe and enable a networking room where attendees can meet to share and discuss their recipes. This can provide a deeper connection between attendees and strengthen any business networking that is taking place at the same time.
Providing entertainment for your event will help virtual attendees stay engaged with the platform and prevent them from just tuning out and logging off. Fortunately, concerts or live performances are very easy to translate to a virtual or hybrid event format. One of the things people are missing is the shared experience of a live concert. By streaming a show as an event, or as part of a larger virtual event, can be a valuable experience for your attendees.
Just like live concerts, a DJ is a great virtual and hybrid event idea. With this virtual event idea, you may be surprised at how high the sound quality is. DJs are like emcees and can keep your remote team engaged and upbeat. Bring them in after a lunch break to get attendees pumped up and reengaged before afternoon sessions.
Online or at-home treasure hunts are a great way of getting your online attendees to think critically. Online events can get rather tiresome, so try and engage the audience in a treasure hunt that goes through sponsors, event apps, virtual exhibit booths, or websites. A scavenger hunt could be a great team-building activity too! Implement this virtual event idea as part of your gamification strategy. Add an incentive by awarding points for actions taken and a prize for the first one to complete the scavenger hunt.
Hire a talented artist to create real-time illustrations in a session. Then, your attendees can navigate to their session for a tea break and see what interesting art was created. Maybe they paint the speakers or fun caricatures of attendees or even beautiful landscapes. This is an inspirational and creative virtual event idea that can be very engaging for attendees.
We all need a little fun in our lives. Musicals can be fun, and many people enjoy them. If you want to keep things exciting and surprise your guests with something fun, try hosting a virtual musical! This can be live or pre-recorded. It is not necessary to do a full three-act play, but you can put together a scene or two, or write a clever parody that ties into your event theme.
With all the hustle and bustle of grind culture, you may find that your attendees are burnt out. Virtual events can be tiring too. Host a few mindfulness activities, where a leader takes attendees through guided meditation, breathing exercises, or yoga sessions. You may find that this virtual event idea helps attendees stay more engaged throughout the day.
Some virtual environments look cool and keep your team engaged. Try to get one that connects to your event. For example, augmented reality requires no additional technology to see; your attendees can walk around a plush, augmented reality room to say hi to friends attending the event. Sophisticated virtual event platforms come with this technology, and you can design a custom virtual environment for your event!
Much like a cooking class, a cocktail class is a creative virtual event idea that can also teach some of your attendees how to mix delicious ingredients for a tasty drink. Prepare for the cocktail class with a list of ingredients and everyday tools that they can use. Host this event before the virtual happy hour or before the last session to make it fun and unique. Include non-alcoholic recipes or easy non-alcoholic variations to be more inclusive.
So many people love trivia night! Try hosting one at your next virtual summit. Online Trivia Night requires some coordination, but you can easily have a host who accepts private messages as part of submitting answers. Let attendees know in advance who they will be teamed up with to get into the competitive mindset and get rolling on some great networking opportunities!
Tapping your sponsors and exhibitors for trivia prizes makes this virtual event idea an excellent way to engage and connect attendees with these vendors.
Pull out the feather boa and wacky hat because virtual dress-up is one great virtual event idea! You can host this as part of a theme related to your event one day or one session. Some events even host a box hair-dye session, where the participants dye their hair! It doesn’t have to be a lot, but adding something like tinsel and decorations to a boring home office can really go a long way.
If you have a small team attending a larger corporate event, you can host a breakout session where you all watch the same movie. You can have hosted rooms on Netflix so that your team all signs in to watch the movie at the same time. Host a Q&A about the movie or make it like a “movie watch night” where you all discuss your favorite scenes or themes after the movie ends.
Hashtags are a great way of connecting with new and potential attendees during the live event. Have teams or sessions create hashtags that resonate with their messaging and then post those on social media. Maybe the hashtag garners awareness from broader event professionals, or perhaps it is a fun and quirky way to share that session’s information! No matter what, it will boost engagement! With a virtual event software, you should be able to connect your event to the brand’s social media page as well, so you can easily share from the event to get the engagement up.
When it comes to virtual event ideas, the social media challenge is a good one! Ask that your attendees share a pic on their social media and hashtag the event. The pic can be around some type of theme like travel, foodie, or outdoor adventure. The post with the most likes wins something all around!
Hosting a virtual gala can be a great excuse to get dressed up and have fancy drinks, even in the comfort of your own home. Try to have some special items lined up for the gala, including a recommended meal or drink, music, games, and a charity event. Depending on your budget and the logistics of the event, you can send a voucher to cover a meal from a delivery service or have the event catered by partnering with a local restaurant to send meals at a set time.
If you have a large virtual event, host speed networking (kind of like speed dating) so that your attendees connect. Consider hosting a speed networking event at a certain time, and not during a key session, so that you know many people will show up at that time. Most virtual event platforms will have virtual networking session capabilities.
Sponsor with partners or businesses with whom you want to work in the long term. Have them provide gifts, branding, videos, or games to keep your attendees engaged. For example, they can sponsor a competitive walk-a-thon or host a charity event. Have sponsored marketing slides as powerpoints, stable branding, or live ads. Virtual event softwares will allow you to host the sponsorship information on videos and throughout the virtual event. Try to find ways to boost engagement through your ads and also help them generate leads.
These virtual event ideas can be seamlessly implemented through the flexibility and the customizability of the platform or its integrations with social media.
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