You’ve probably heard about virtual networking for events, and you may even have attended a virtual networking event. But have you given it a try?
The truth is that most people still prefer to meet in person, but that doesn’t mean virtual networking isn’t going anywhere.
In fact, when done correctly, it can be an integral part of your events strategy. Here’s what you need to know:
What Is Networking?
Networking is the process of developing professional and personal relationships. It’s a way to build trust and credibility, gain new business or find a new job, make your company more successful–the list goes on.
Networking may seem like an intimidating idea if you haven’t done it before, but it doesn’t have to be! In fact, there are several ways that virtual networking can help you out:
Events Need Networking!
Events are still a great way to meet people. People want to meet other people who are like them but also want the opportunity to meet new people.
They’re looking for opportunities that will help them grow their business or career, and that’s where you come in!
You can help them by providing valuable content at your event(s), connecting them with other attendees who can benefit from your services/products and encouraging networking among everyone involved.
Virtual Networking Is Here to Stay
Virtual networking is here to stay. It’s a great way to connect with people, meet new clients and partners, and get feedback on products or services. Plus, virtual networking is more cost-effective than traditional events because you don’t have to travel or pay for hotel rooms!
Virtual networking has been around for years now but it wasn’t until recently that we began seeing an increase in popularity among professionals who want to expand their business networks without leaving home.
In fact, there are several reasons why virtual networking has become so popular:
Your Audience Still Needs to Network
It’s important to remember that your attendees still want to network. They want to meet new people and learn new things, share their knowledge, and build their networks.
That’s why event planners should not just focus on the logistics of virtual networking but also make sure they are providing opportunities for face-to-face engagement as well.
You Can Still Encourage Attendees to Network
While virtual networking is a great way to encourage attendees to meet and greet, you still need to provide them with tools. You can do this in several ways:
- Provide a database or app that allows users to search for other attendees based on their interests or skill sets.
- Include a link in your registration email that directs users directly to the database or app where they can find each other by category (e.g., “Please join us in Room A.”)
- Offer incentives for those who sign up early–for example, give away tickets for people who register before midnight on Friday night!
Manage Your Expectations About Attendee Participation
It’s important to manage your expectations about how much of a contribution your virtual attendees can make.
You can’t expect everyone to participate as much as they would if they were in person, and you also shouldn’t expect them to be as engaged–it’s just not the same experience.
Similarly, don’t expect that virtual networking will yield the same level of activity as face-to-face meetings do.
While there are some exceptions (such as live video streaming), most online tools have limits on how many people can comment at once or interact with one another at any given time period–and these limitations may discourage some attendees from getting involved at all!
Smaller Groups Are Key
Smaller groups are more intimate and effective. A smaller group is easier for people to engage with because there are fewer people in the room, so you can get everyone involved in the conversation and make sure everyone gets a chance to talk about their issues.
You don’t want your attendees feeling like they’re on the sidelines or being overlooked because it’s too overwhelming or difficult for them to participate.
Smaller groups also mean you’ll have more time with each attendee–and this is crucial when planning an event around virtual networking!
You need as much time as possible in order to really get down into what makes each attendee tick, what their goals are, etcetera; this way your speakers know exactly how best they can help them out (and why).
Use Virtual Networking Event Platform
Virtual networking is a great way to connect with attendees before, during, or after an event. It’s also a great way to stay in touch with people you meet at conferences because they’ll be able to see your updates on social media and vice versa.
Virtual networking event tools like Eventtia allow you to create virtual networking groups based on topics of interest or location; this is especially helpful for people who want to connect with other professionals in their area but aren’t sure where those people might be located physically.
Here’s how it works:
- You sign up for free on the website of one of these platforms (such as Linkedin).
- You create your profile by filling out some basic information such as your name and email address–you don’t have to share any personal details unless you want other users of the platform to access them too! They’re optional fields so if they don’t apply then just leave them blank
Take Advantage of the Opportunity to Repurpose Content
In addition to the benefits of virtual networking, there are many ways that you can repurpose your content. With a little ingenuity, you can use the same material for multiple purposes. For example:
- Share your best quotes and stories with attendees on social media after the event. This will help build relationships with people who attended your event and give them additional reasons to follow or subscribe to your brand online (which is especially valuable if they’re local).
- Use some of those same quotes and stories in future emails, blog posts and newsletters where appropriate. This will increase brand awareness among current customers as well as potential new ones who may have missed out on attending an event but could still benefit from hearing about its value propositions through other channels such as email marketing campaigns or blog posts featuring specific topics related directly back into what was discussed during each session held during last year’s conference!
Try Virtual Networking For Your Next Event
As you can see, virtual networking still works. The same rules apply, the same principles apply and even the same people apply. The benefits are the same as well!
But there are also some challenges that come along with it: people don’t always show up when they say they will (although this is less of an issue if you have apps like Zoom or Facebook Events).
And sometimes it’s hard to find other people who want to talk about your industry or topic area because everyone else is doing something else at that time.
RELATED RESOURCES: Virtual Meeting Tips for Your Next Meeting
You can’t always control how well your attendees will network, but you can make sure that they have the tools they need to do so.
Virtual networking is a great way to engage with your audience and encourage them to connect with each other in real time at an event.
So don’t be afraid of trying this technology out for yourself, it’s worth it!