February 20, 2021
40 Virtual Conference Ideas
Hosting corporate conferences is something many businesses and marketers look forward to each year. It’s the key to connecting with prospective customers, building relationships with clients, and building your visibility as a brand.
But now that local events are canceled, businesses are looking for alternate ways to entertain and educate their audience. One option is to host virtual conferences.
The problem is creating a conference people will want to attend. You want your online event to be just that — an event. Or better yet, an experience. Something your audience will remember for a long time.
So we’re going to discuss some virtual conference ideas you can use to make your online conference stand out.
How Do You Make Your Virtual Event Stand Out?
Here’s a quick checklist:
- Make a plan, complete with goals (how many people you wish to attract, what do you wish to accomplish, etc.).
- Choose a format — popular options include breakouts and world cafes, roundtables, whiteboard sessions.
- Make sure your virtual event format matches your goals. For example, if you want to attract 4,000 leads and get 2,000 viewers, then hosting breakout rooms of 12 wouldn’t be able to handle the volume of attendees you’re trying to engage.
- Design an experience (maybe rent out a stage vs. sitting on a couch in a small room).
- Know your attendee takeaways in advance.
- Use the right platform for your virtual event that’s easy for you and your attendees to use.
- Keep the conference sessions short (no more than 25 minutes). Break it up into smaller sessions if it’s longer.
- Have speakers use video and slides.
- Use different formats (live, pre-recorded snippets, fireside chats, etc.)
You want your online event to come off as exciting, so people will want to attend. So here are some fun virtual event ideas you can use to make your online conferences more engaging.
How Do You Make a Virtual Event Fun?
Odds are, you’re going to host more than one virtual event this year and going forward. So you want to build a reputation for hosting some of the most engaging and fun conferences out there.
Here are some ideas for virtual conferences that can help achieve this:
- Host live competitions and games (ask attendees to vote)
- Have a virtual concert, comedy show, or other entertaining act for the “halftime” show
- Do a fun workout break (or other activity) midway to get everyone up and moving
- Give out company swag to attendees who pre-register (or to everyone)
- Use gamification via a mobile event app (during the online event)
- Allow attendees to self-schedule meetings with exhibitors and sponsors before the event
- Follow-along workshop attendees can do at home (i.e., cooking lessons, mixology lessons, etc.)
- Offer a panel of speakers and offer live Q&A with attendees
Now, these are just some online event ideas that can make the conference fun. Next, let’s dive deeper into virtual conference ideas you can use for your upcoming event.
40 Ideas for Virtual Conferences to Try in 2021 (and Beyond)
So let’s jump right in.
1. Host a Social Media Challenge
Use platforms like Instagram and Tiktok to host a challenge. This will build awareness and can work wonders if you’re trying to raise funds. Think of a fun competition people will want to join.
2. Send Attendees Virtual Swag
3. Offer Speed Networking
4. Birds of Feather Breakout Sessions
5. Include a Pre-Event Chatroom
6. Use Audio-Only Discussions
Zoom fatigue is real, thanks to a year of working from home due to the pandemic. With audio-only sessions, your speakers can attend the online event while taking care of other matters (i.e., children, pets, cleaning, etc.).
7. Have Sponsored Games During the Event
8. Host a Giveaway
9. Surprise Guests with a Home-Delivered Gift
10. Send a Post-Event Thank You Gift
Aside from using company swag during and before the event, you can send attendees gifts afterward as well. You can focus this on attendees that participated in the online event or a challenge you created afterward.
11. Hire a Performer for the Online Event
12. Use Livestreaming and On-Demand
13. Tag Sessions So Attendees Can Choose What to Watch
14. Turn Your Conference into a Certified Training Course
15. Add Live Polling into the Mix
16. Use Push Notifications
17. Implement Spirit Days
18. Conduct Surveys and Tests
19. Acknowledge Attendees in the Chat
20. Send Out Fun Invitations
21. Promote Team Fun
22. Create a Treasure Hunt
23. Get the Family Involved
24. Virtual Cocktail (Happy Hour)
This can be an event all on its own. Send your attendees a wine or cocktail kit to enjoy a 90-minute event where attendees learn from a master mixologist. You can also have games and stories to make the event more fun.
25. Create Social Media Groups for an After Party
26. Host a Pet Event
27. Allow Users to Select Presentation Paths
28. Create an Event Theme
29. Live Art Show
30. Add Virtual Photo Booths
31. Include a Virtual Exhibition Hall
32. Have Sponsored Giveaways
33. Allow Attendees to Create Virtual Avatars
34. Use 3D Technology
35. Hire a Production Company
36. Use Branded Virtual Backgrounds
At a live event, everything’s branded. So why not bring the same feel to your online event? Have all the speakers using the same branded virtual background to create a cohesive look.
37. Create Hype On Social Media
38. Take Advantage of Global Speakers
39. Offer Event Exclusive Products
40. Send Food Delivery
Make Your Virtual Events Memorable
Online conferences should be just as immersive as an in-person event. It may seem challenging to pull off, but you can definitely do it with the right virtual conference ideas.
For example, if you want to send virtual gifts or ship swag bags to attendees, you can use a gifting platform. This is what our customers do with Sendoso, a B2B platform for corporate gifting.
We offer complete services, including picking your gifts from our warehouse or sending them directly from one of our partners. Our professionals will even include a handwritten note. So whether you’re looking to create branded swag bags or gift baskets, we’ve got you covered.
You can also track your shipments and attribute conversions to the corporate gifts you send. If this sounds like something you can use, then we urge you to give Sendoso a try. Request your demo with us today!