The way we work has changed a lot over time — and there’s no denying that technology plays a major role in leveling the playing field for those working from home or remotely. However, even if your job doesn’t require endless hours spent hunkered down in front of a computer screen, reliance on technology has its pitfalls as well as its benefits.
As a result, over the past few years there has been a huge growth in the number of events that focus on effective communication. These networking events provide attendees with an opportunity to meet new professional contacts and develop lasting relationships that can lead to long-term success in business.
As the saying goes, it’s not what you know, but who you know.
Working effectively with others is a crucial part of business success. But many professionals struggle to forge strong connections. The solution might be as simple as attending an online networking event or signing up for a new service that gives them easy access to targeted contacts.
In this post, we’ll discuss the benefits of online networking events and share virtual networking ideas to get you started:
What is an Online Networking Event?
An online networking event is a virtual platform for connecting professionals who cannot always find time to attend live face-to-face networking events due to busy schedules or geographical limitations. The purpose of such an event is similar to traditional face-to-face networking — to create a community where people can learn about opportunities and build beneficial connections within their industry. But it also takes advantage of technology by creating platforms like webinars to host events.
Benefits of Online Networking Events
Covid-19 took the world by storm, and virtual events become all the rage when people could not step out of their houses, and conference centers remained closed. Even though in-person events are slowly making a comeback, the virtual event trend still continues to remain strong today, mainly because both event planners and audiences have realized the many benefits of online networking events.
We share some of these key benefits below:
Networking remotely is particularly beneficial for those who are not able to get away from their office during regular working hours, or simply can’t get out of the house due to family commitments — or in the current situation — social distancing. It also provides an opportunity for people in highly specialized fields that don’t have many local professionals to access a wider range of contacts.
Many traditional networking groups are geographically limited which makes it difficult for professionals in small communities to make connections outside their immediate region. Online networking events help expand your network and give you greater opportunities to meet individuals across various industries, regions, and career levels.
Because online networking events can be scheduled to fit around your schedule, it’s easier to make time for them and ensure that you don’t over-schedule yourself and risk burn out. For example, Virtual Fusions’ virtual event platform enables attendees to create their own meeting schedule and pre-book meetings with other event attendees prior to the event start time — this way attendees can have a list of scheduled meetings even before the event begins, and make the most of their time during the live event.
Virtual networking events provide a simple way to access a wider range of industry professionals from at home or the office. These virtual connections can add value to your network just as face-to-face meetings do.
Scheduling an online networking event is really easy with Virtual Fusions.
Whether you’re organizing a small local meetup or larger national conference, our platform makes it incredibly easy to reach new audiences by promoting your event, selling tickets, and collecting feedback from attendees.
Virtual Networking Event Ideas to Get You Started
Now that you understand the benefits of online networking events, as an event planner, they can seem a bit intimidating.
This is mainly because many audiences may still think “networking” means meeting someone in person at their local chamber of commerce, a gathering place, tradeshow, seminar or conference center.
But this does not have to be that case anymore! You now have the ability to create virtual networking events that allow people from all over the world to meet and discuss topics that are of interest to them.
The idea of creating relationships, wining new customers and supporting the economy are all well-received ideas, and when executed properly in a virtual setting can win over your event audience.
However, there are some things you should consider before you begin your virtual networking event ideas journey. At first, it may seem like an easy task but as with many things, more thought is required than originally planned for. So, if you want a successful virtual event, here is a few things you should consider:
1. What kind of people will I be targeting?
The first step is to decide what demographic group or group types would be interested in your idea for the virtual networking event. You need to know exactly who your target market is or else risk having too broad of an audience, that may not get much out of the event. Market research is critical here, because it will give you an idea of what the people in that demographic would be interested in.
2. What level of involvement can they expect?
You need to determine if this is a one-time type of thing or something more like a series of events you lead throughout the year. This part must be determined before you decide on the format for the networking event idea you have in mind; this step should also take into consideration other factors such as time and budget constraints etc.
3. How should I promote my first virtual networking event?
The next step is figuring out where to promote your new event idea once it has been created! To increase your chances of success, you should promote your event through any means available to you such as social media, local newspapers, flyers, email marketing, online ads, multi-channel marketing and more.
By following the above three steps, it will help you plan out the layout and operation of your virtual networking event idea, after which, you can get started on creating and setting up your online event.
There are many different types of online networking events out there, so we put together this quick list of virtual networking event ideas you can consider:
- Virtual Conference — great for online business matchmakers, business networking, corporate seminars, workshops and more
- Virtual Cocktail Party — a casual virtual networking setup where conversations can be more fluid in the form of both group and private chats
- Virtual Mall — where attendees can show off their products to an ever-growing community
- Virtual Job Fair — with employers ready to hire and candidates ready for that perfect job
- Keynote Sessions — where key speakers share insights on a variety of topics
- Live Chat Sessions — participants from around the world come online at the same time via group chat, private chat and breakout sessions
- Online Banquet — a chance to connect with people virtually in a dinner party setting
- Live Webinar Series — a series of presentations given by subject matter experts
- Virtual Classroom — where courses can be offered to students from across the world for free or for a cost
- Virtual Office — a branded private office where small and large businesses can conduct online video meetings
Each of the above online networking event ideas are possible with Virtual Fusions! For more information about how Virtual Fusions can help you organize virtual networking events, visit us at https://virtualfusions.com/ or request a demo.