Our team put together a list of top tips to help event organizers host the most successful version of their virtual events.
These tips are from the last six months of observing and learning. Did you know the average turnout rate for a Hopin event is 77%? That’s right—three out of four registrants show up at a Hopin event, regardless of the plan you're on. Compare that to the average turnout rate for typical webinars at 35-45%.
The reason behind this stat is that organizers like you are using creative and inspirational approaches and techniques for hosting virtual experiences like never before.
So we wanted to share a few tips on what we’ve seen work really well.
Keep in mind there’s no single right way to host an online event—that’s what keeps it fresh and engaging!
By the way, we plan on sharing more best practices and tips for event planners here in the future. Want to receive them? Join 50k others in our early access community here.
Ready? To the tips!
Before your virtual event
Tip #1: Showcase your virtual event venue to your attendees by recording a quick video.
Every event is different. Hopin is designed to be flexible to fit the wide variety of requirements for your virtual events.
You can help your attendees get around your Hopin venue and drive excitement for your upcoming event by recording a quick video.
Here are a few example videos from other organizers:
- How to use Hopin: AGG 2020
- #celebrate Online - Attendee Walkthrough
- Chicago AMA: https://twitter.com/ChicagoAMA/status/1275514006162325506
- Event Platform & Experience — Festival for the Future
- Accento Dev Event Guide
Or written guides like these:
To make your own video guide, follow these easy steps:
- Once you’ve created your event areas inside Hopin, use the “Preview” event mode and start recording your screen on the registration page of your event. Put your browser into full-screen mode and use the built-in screen recording on a Mac (Shift + Cmd + 5) or Windows PC (Windows + G) to start recording your screen. Loom also works great!
- Invite one or more colleagues to share their audio and video on the Stage, in Sessions, and in the Networking area so you get as close as possible to the actual event experience.
- Let people know how they can navigate your schedule. Use the event chats and the people tab to initiate a private video call.
- Once you are ready, upload your video to Youtube or any other platform of your choice and share it with your attendees.
Tip #2: Remind users how to get the most out of your upcoming event BEFORE it starts.
In your pre-event communications, you can bypass a world of questions by sending the following information before your event:
- Join from a compatible browser. Hopin works best on Chrome and Firefox. Make sure your browser is up to date.
- Check your internet speed and network. We recommend a minimum of 5mbps download and 2mbps upload. Ideally, we like to see 30mbps download and 10mbps upload or higher for the best quality - test your speed here.
- Can’t make the whole event? Arriving late? Don’t worry. You'll receive links to the recordings after the event.
Tip #3: Test run, test run, test run.
Just like physical events, it’s a good idea for moderators, speakers, panelists, sponsors hosting sessions to participate in a rehearsal event. The more people that can get to know the platform in advance, the better everyone feels and the smoother it will go on the day of.
During your virtual event
People come for the content, and stay for the connections.
To help maintain maximum engagement throughout your event, one approach we’ve seen work well is to keep content pieces to a fast-paced 30 minutes and build in loads of audience interaction. Ask people to come on screen to share their questions (using a Moderated Session), or ask their questions in the chat. From live video, your speakers can give shout outs and recognition to people watching. This helps facilitate an enjoyable back-and-forth conversational experience.
Tip #4: Want an easy, effective virtual events recipe?
- Schedule Networking before the event kickoff. At the start of your event, allow 30 minutes to an hour of open networking and exploration to give your audience an opportunity to familiarize themselves with your event, introduce themselves (e.g., “Hello from Barcelona!”), and build excitement before your welcome keynote on Stage.
- Next, introduce one or two high profile speakers with a visual presentation, pre-recorded or live. (Use and RTMP platform to stream pre-recorded content.)
- Provide ample time in breakout rooms for Q&A or smaller, more hands-on panels with lots of attendee interaction.
- Send attendees to your Expo where your vendors and sponsors are waiting live with special offers and interactive demonstrations.
- Emphasize that Networking is always open — this is where the magic happens, when you create a space for attendees to discover new connections.
Tip #5: Leverage hidden Sessions for your speakers, VIPs, and staff.
On the day of your event and during your event, let your speakers test their audio/video, run through their presentation, and network with fellow speakers in a hidden Session. Build a Session and restrict the visibility of that Session to your Speaker ticket type. Then, when looking at your list of Sessions, only speakers and event Organizers will be able to see that this “Speaker Green Room” exists. To ensure it is visible for the entire duration of your event, don’t tie this Session to your Schedule.
Similar tip: Create a private Session for your team members and/or VIPs to be able to huddle and collaborate throughout the event, but restrict the visibility of the session to your team’s or VIP ticket type.
Tip #6: Break up your content with micro-breaks throughout your event.
By attending your event on their devices, attendees can easily get distracted, whether it’s a new email or Slack notification or a Google search to find dinner. To keep your audience focused on your content, build in small, 15-minute breaks throughout your event during which attendees can leave the platform if they have to—just like stepping out of an in-person event to check email or take a call.
Tip #7: Add everything you want your attendees to do into your Hopin event Schedule.
...including dedicated times for Networking or visiting the Expo. When a scheduled segment is happening live, Hopin automatically adds helpful wayfinding tools to guide your audience to what’s currently happening. By adding segments to your Schedule, attendees will be able to easily see what part of the platform they should be in, so no one is left “wandering” around your virtual venue.
Tip #8: If each Sponsor has their own Expo booth, change the Sponsor hyperlink on the Reception page to its Expo booth URL once your event begins.
From your Reception page, attendees will be able to click the Sponsor logo and be taken directly to its Expo booth to interact and engage with the Sponsor’s representatives. But remember: before your event begins, keep the Sponsor hyperlink set to the Sponsor’s website; attendees can’t access the Sponsor’s booth until your event starts.
Tip #9: Create a virtual help desk in your event.
...as a Session or Expo booth (and prioritize it to appear at the top of the list).
Assign a member of your team to be inside the Session or Expo booth so attendees can join them on-screen or type in the Chat to ask their troubleshooting questions.
Tip #10: When nothing is streaming on the Stage, display a helpful holding screen.
...by screen-sharing an image/PowerPoint slide or by streaming graphics/video via RTMP.
On the holding screen, it’s a great opportunity to include your branding, sponsor shout-outs, and/or wayfinding tips for your audience (e.g., arrows pointing to the Networking icon and Polls tab with descriptions for how attendees should use both features). This will help attendees know where to go during breaks and will give you and your sponsors’ more brand recognition.
After your virtual event
Tip #11: Analyze your event data.
You receive a ton of information from a Hopin event. Chat transcripts. Poll results. Lead generation. Attendee data. Expo booth interactions. (For Pro users, there’s even more data.) You can use this data — beam it into your existing CRM to enrich your audience insights — to improve your messaging, customer personas, and even your next event!
Tip #12: Deliver your event recordings.
You receive the video recordings from your Hopin event minutes after they finish streaming. It’s likely that many attendees are looking forward to viewing them, especially if it’s a session they missed. You can leverage these recordings as sales assets, content marketing, or give them away for free. It’s totally up to you how you’d like to share the valuable video content generated by your event.
Tip #13: Keep the conversation going.
There is often a boom of energetic momentum after an event. Use this. Catalyze the excitement from your event to grow your community, nurture leads, and book follow up meetings.
A best practice we’ve seen many organizers do well is to transfer the excitement from one event into another event. The best time to promote your next event is at your current event — while you have everyone’s attention!