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11 Great Virtual Events Ideas and Examples for Companies

Sabrina George

Virtual events are the new normal now. These events lack a traditional onsite meeting space and instead are hosted online. These types of activities have been around for a decade or more with adoption slowly increasing, but it took a global pandemic to normalize the use of our computers to attend virtual online events.

Today, millions of people attend new product launches, and social media platforms have greater audience engagement with their live events. Cisco reports that in the next year, 82% of all internet traffic will be related to the consumption of video content. Companies that capitalize on these trends will reap the benefits and those that don’t will risk falling behind. If you’re wondering how to come up with a winning virtual event idea, we have 11 to help you with your planning process.

Virtual Event Ideas for Companies

While these virtual event examples may not work for every company or every target audience, with a creative approach and a little bit of tweaking, you may be able to still capitalize on some or all of these ideas. Whether your goal is to sell more products, educate, or motivate a team, these events will help you hit the mark you’ve set for yourself. Let’s start with some of the largest events that have been wildly successful recently.
  1. Live speaking events. For the past decade, TEDx talks have brought in a plethora of speakers to give talks centered around a central idea. These events are franchised, in the sense that community organizers can organize their own TEDx in their community by following their brand standards. Annually, more than 3,000 of these events are held each year. Since the pandemic, the events have gone virtual and they continue to receive mileage from their recorded events long after each virtual event is over.
  2. Educational events, like VidSummit, are designed to take a particular brand and make it the go-to expert on their topic. These virtual conferences offer participants the latest tips on how to use video to increase their audience engagement. Given that the organization started as a pay-per-view service in 2019, they were well-prepared for the COVID-19 crisis.
  3. Motivational events are particularly important in a world shaped by COVID. World’s Greatest Motivators hosts some of the most well-known motivational speakers in one place for more than 20 hours of on-demand keynotes and speeches all in one place.
  4. Cultural events can help boost the image of non-profits and arts organizations. Last year, 15 million people from 170 countries watched virtual stage shows. Given that there was an understandable 91% drop in theatre and live event ticket sales last year, these virtual event examples are critical to keeping these organizations afloat during this tough time. Organizations like the esteemed Moscow Ballet took full advantage of the live format with positive results.
  5. Online seminars are great brand builders for companies that want to use teaching to increase their visibility and perception as the resident expert on a particular topic.
  6. Product demos are great ways to drive sales. CRM platform Salesforce leverages the power of their vendor partners by conducting their AppExchange Demo Jam. Selected app vendors that integrate with their powerful software have three minutes to highlight the features of their tools in a head-to-head demo session. Audiences vote on their favorite apps, which is great for engagement purposes. This virtual event example also crosses into the idea of a competition, another category of online event to consider.
  7. Virtual environments are a great way to immerse your audience into the feeling of being at a live on-site event. The SBC Digital Summit is a good example of an organization that took the idea of a virtual environment and made it their own. The Summit was close to virtual reality; by creating a networking lounge on the screen and offering chat windows, their audience could feel almost like they were at a real event.
  8. Virtual career fairs are hot right now, primarily because COVID-19 has kept companies from inviting many applications to on-site interviews. But there are big benefits to these events. You can cut travel expenses for geographically dispersed candidates. Colleges and universities are just one audience that is taking full advantage of these online events, but corporations can and should do the same. Given the flexibility of the online format, businesses can take advantage of this additional flexibility by offering on-the-spot interviews; they can also use the venue to share important content related to their mission, values, and culture.
  9. Fundraising events are important to all types of organizations. Having a virtual gala can be just as effective as an onsite event, providing that you organize the activity properly. Encourage your guests to go fully black tie even if they’re at home in front of their screen. You can have executive leadership make a presentation and even do a show and tell of your facility or the services you provide.
  10. Virtual webinars are typically shorter events designed to educate, sell, and build brand recognition. The key to creating these events is to determine how your products and services align with the wants, needs, and priorities of your target audience. What topics do they care about and how can your products solve their problems? Virtual webinars can be leveraged for immediate sales but also to plant the seed for a later purchase. They can also be recorded as a “gift that keeps on giving” to your company. Businesses of all sizes can take advantage of these low cost but high reach activities. 
  11. Sneak peek/behind the scenes events give members or customers a look at how a product is made. For example, giving customers a tour of your chocolate factory satisfies their curiosity about your products. Audiences like the idea of understanding the inner working of your company and it humanizes the brand in a way that is engaging and sometimes inspirational. For example, a large enterprise organization that gives a percentage of its profits to charities could do a live event to show how that money is being put to use. A college could do a live virtual tour of its campuses, interviewing students and familiarizing new and prospective students with the facility. Non-profits such as zoos could go behind the exhibits to show how the animals are cared for.

When you have a virtual events platform like Onstream Media, you are only held back by your imagination and creativity. Our platform offers unparalleled features and security coupled with our industry experiences in putting on all kinds of virtual events. When you’re ready to consider your next great virtual event idea, talk with our team. We’re here to help.

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