One of the key factors behind the success of any university is how well it remains connected to its alumni. After all, alumni can help build the brand value of a higher education institution through word-of-mouth publicity. We live in the age of social media, where one positive post about the university can have a lasting impact on the admission rates.
Besides the university, there are several benefits on offer for student bodies as well. Students get the chance to network with alumni to understand the nitty-gritty of the corporate world. Networking also increases the possibilities of finding suitable job opportunities.
Now, the question is how to network with alumni in times of the pandemic? Hosting a virtual networking event online is a suitable option. This article shows how you can conduct virtual reunions for your alumni, including best practices and tips to get started.
Why host a virtual networking alumni event?
Alumni networking events help higher education institutions to drive their programs. Besides building a strong community, virtual alumni events also help in securing donations. Such events in the past have always been in-person.
So, the next best option is to host a virtual alumni conference event. These events can also help universities inculcate a strong sense of community in their students and alumni.
Through strategically planned events, universities can generate qualified leads for admissions. A good way to do that would be to appoint alumni members as brand ambassadors to spread the word about the institution and boost admissions.
The ultimate guide for a virtual alumni event
Set realistic expectations
You do not have an unlimited amount of time, so it is essential to set realistic goals for each session of the event. Specify the event goal in your outreach efforts as it will help you attract only qualified participants. When it is about participation, make sure you plan the event when you expect maximum attendance.
When some people cannot attend the entire event, you can ask them to join in for lunch, dinner, or cocktail activity. With virtual events being fairly new to the scene, it is also helpful to give your alumni some coaching about networking tips at online virtual events.
Identify the costs involved
Virtual events like online meetups help you do away with a majority of your expenses. These include costs like hospitality and rentals related to the venue and equipment. Here are some of the costs related to virtual events.
- Virtual event platforms provider
- Event planning team
- Promotions and marketing
- Post-event surveys
- Giveaways and goodies
Focus on participants’ interests
For any virtual event to succeed, you need to keep in mind the interests of your audience. Consider this, why would someone attend your event? What is in it for them that could coerce them into joining the event? Doing the guesswork here is not ideal. Why not run a pre-event survey instead?
In your survey, you can ask your potential participants about their preferences. It can be anything right from specific speakers, for which you can give a few options, to networking event ideas. It could include games, cocktail sessions, or any other fun activity.
Doing this will ensure that you already have an excited bunch of participants eager about the event. It will also slightly reduce the burden of keeping the engagement levels high during the event.
Market the event in the best possible manner
One of the key objectives for your virtual event would be to have better participation. Social media is your best tool to spread the word about the event. You can leverage platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn where your target audience is already present.
Email marketing is another option that you can use for your outreach efforts. However, make sure you personalize your emails and write compelling copy that convinces the reader to join your event.
However, social media remains one of the most effective outreach options.
Position the event as a precursor to a larger scheme of things
The event can be a beginning point to develop a meaningful association with your alumni. Once you get the initial momentum, it is necessary to capitalize on that to make the most of it. When you get done with the event, why not leverage social media platforms like WhatsApp or Telegram to connect with everyone in a group?
The group can also become an excellent learning place for everyone where your alumni can share insights from their experiences. The alumni will also remain aware of the future events you organize. There is also a possibility of inviting them over for in-person events when possible.
Benefits of hosting a virtual alumni conference event
Building a community of motivated individuals is possible through such events. Host such engaging events regularly, and your audience will more than look forward to attending them.
You can leverage the popularity of some of your best alumni to host fundraisers for your educational institution.
People get busy in their lives and lose touch with others naturally. A virtual conference event can help your alumni get connected with their fellow batchmates.
The virtual networking event can help you showcase how your institution believes in making a long-lasting connection with its students. It will also help you in attracting inquiries from your prospective students because of word-of-mouth publicity.
Why choose Airmeet to host a virtual networking event?
Virtual networking events are beneficial in establishing positive relationships with your target audience. Hosting a large-scale virtual event with Airmeet is a seamless process. The single platform allows everyone to share information, engage the audience, and network. Events hosted on Airmeet can help you improve brand visibility and target your audience comprehensively.
You can even host virtual events on the platform with an audience size of up to 100k participants. Networking sessions become a breeze with features like the Social Lounge. There are several other engagement features for participants like polls, raise hand, and join the speaker on the stage and live Q&A.
There is also an option for a group and a one-on-one chat with the rest of the participants. Besides the engagement options for your audience, you can also expect on-demand support to ensure the event takes place without hassles.
Here are some types of events you can host on Airmeet.
- Fundraisers: You can host these ticketed events by leveraging the ticketing function of the platform.
- Celebrating achievements: The invite to stage feature helps the achiever get the feeling of speaking from a stage. Similarly, emojis help other participants express themselves.
- Career fairs: Tables and Chat options allow students to interact with recruiters about possible job opportunities. A large-scale set-up also ensures up to 100k people can participate.
- Networking events: The Social Lounge and Tables allow anyone to network with other participants. They can also switch between tables to join conversations of interest.
You can also invite alumni as guests for events like convocation ceremonies and guest lectures. They would also make for a great addition to webinars and panel discussions where they can talk about their experiences.
FAQs – Your Help-Meet
Hosting a virtual networking event is easy once you identify the goals and objectives. The next course of action, like selecting the right platform and outreach efforts, will depend on your event goals.
You can host a virtual event on a related platform like Airmeet, where the number of people can be up to 100k participants. Come up with the right virtual event ideas, and you are good to go.
You can make an online event engaging by choosing an event technology that offers capabilities for a two-way discussion rather than a passive interaction. Airmeet offers engagement features like Chatbox, Q&A window, Raise-hand and invite to stage for richer interactions.
The key to hosting a successful networking conference is understanding that your audience is here to make meaningful connections and you need to leverage your technology platform to enable that.
1. Use Airmeet’s speed networking for powerful 1:1 conversations between matched participants
2. Allow time for networking on social tables before and after the sessions
3. Use fun ice breaker ideas to get the conversations started
Networking at virtual events is effective only when an event host enables richer interactions. You can use a virtual events platform that promotes speed networking between attendees that are matched using AI for quick conversations. Encourage attendees to spend time at the social lounge and also exchange virtual contact cards, much like a physical event.
If you are hosting the event or are a speaker, here are some pre-event tips-
1. Prepare your speech well in advance
2. Update your social media accounts
3. Get updated e-business cards
The biggest deciding factor for choosing the right virtual event technology platform is your event objectives. If your event objective is to sell tickets and make profits, then choose an event technology that easily enables ticketed events with different tiers. The platform should also be intuitive to use with robust security and engagement features.
Virtual networking events are trending today, so you will easily find them if you are looking at the right places like social media platforms and platforms like Airmeet and Eventbrite. You can also find events in your industry by talking to your peers and following industry leaders.
First and foremost, make the event worthwhile for participants by tailoring it according to their needs. You can also leverage social media platforms to spread the word about the event.
The planning for an alumni event starts with identifying goals and outcomes. Your goal could be to build an alumni network, raise funds or celebrate a milestone. Once your goals and targets are clear, plan an event that provides value to your alumni and provides a delightful experience. Choose the right virtual event platform to support your goals and resolve challenges. Finally, market your event aggressively to reach a wider audience.
Get started with your next alumni virtual networking event today
Hosting a successful virtual event is, to a large extent, about choosing the best hosting software. When selecting the right platform, you need to keep in mind the engagement options for attendees on offer. They will reduce the burden on your shoulders to keep your audience engaged.
Looking for personal assistance on how you can get started today? Contact us now and schedule a demo!