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How to Maximize Your ROI With Virtual Events

It’s no secret that recruiting strategies have moved away from in-person experiences and into virtual engagements. And while face-to-face time shouldn’t be undervalued for the personal connections it builds, you’d be surprised by the value that virtual events bring to the table. For starters, online events enable recruiters to reach a broader untapped audience by removing geographical constraints. Virtual event strategies also help talent teams alleviate administrative burdens to save time, cut costs for travel, vendors, and venues, and keep candidate engagement going all year round. Candidates are also no longer blocked by the travel, time, and budget constraints that may have prevented them from attending in-person events. 

Whether virtual events are new to you and your team, or you’ve already been running them well before the global pandemic, there are a few simple things you can do to optimize your events and maximize your ROI. 

Showcase and promote your brand 

Virtual events are opportunities to stand out, share about your company, and pique potential candidates’ interests. Therefore, event branding is just as crucial for virtual events as it is for in-person ones. And it’s more than just a logo. The most effective event branding is often a collection of elements such as a logo, tagline, font type, and specific colors—all tied together with a unique experience for attendees. 

How do you promote your brand? 

  • Sweat the details: Aesthetics are important for events. In order to make your virtual event stand out, you want to make sure that your event page is customized to elevate your brand. Did you update the cover photo to a branded one? Did you add pictures from the last event to show potential attendees what they can expect? If your event features speakers, add a headshot and description about each of them directly on your event page so attendees can learn more about them beforehand. And don’t forget to add fun Zoom backgrounds of your favorite meme, or even your organization’s values to your event visuals to set the vibe.  
  • Create your own event hashtag on social:  Hashtags are an excellent way for you to make your event stand out so that people recognize and remember your event and company. You can use it to help spread the word about your event by optimizing your event landing page for discovery, increased traffic, and brand advocacy. You should also use the same hashtag across all your social channels to track and measure your efforts. For example, whether your hashtags are resonating with your target attendees. Just make sure that the hashtag is unique and relevant to the specific event or event series you’re hosting. 
  • Be unique and authentic: Companies often give out swag or gift bags at in-person events. Have you thought about what you could do for online events? Every interaction with a potential candidate is an opportunity to bring your company’s brand to life. In the virtual world, talent acquisition teams have gotten incredibly creative to engage with potential candidates and create a memorable experience. Consider sending attendees some branded swag, let them “shop” on your online swag store, or even just add them to a private, personalized talent community to continuously engage with them. 
  • Strike the right balance between formal and informal events: Formal virtual events like a fireside chat, a panel, and an AMA are great and informational. But informal events help to more easily create personal connections with candidates in the virtual world. So make sure your virtual events strategy is not all just formal events. Some other event types to consider are online info sessions, career fairs, coffee chats, resume reviews, and assessments. 

Always have a clear call-to-action at the end of the event 

A strong call-to-action is vital to successfully execute your event strategy. And the call-to-action goes hand-in-hand with having a clearly defined goal for your virtual events. If you need ideas on setting your event goals, you can read more about it in our guide to virtual recruiting. But regardless of what your goals are, make sure you’re tracking all the candidates who have RSVPed and attends your event. 

Some potential CTAs could be:

  • Apply to open positions: Feature jobs that are relevant to your event. This can be a great way to make sure attendees see your open roles right off the bat. And if they’re interested in your company after the event, they can easily apply to the job req. 
  • Connect on social media to keep in touch: Even if you don’t have an open opportunity at the time, you can still engage candidates through social channels. This is a great way to share relevant information with talent to stay top of mind. Consider posting about an array of content such as open roles, company culture, and tips for your organization’s interview process.
  • Join your talent community: Talent communities are a forum to give talent and recruiters the time and place to engage, evaluate, and assess each other on an ongoing basis. That way, the next time a role opens up, you’ll have a warm pipeline to search and source from. Plus, you’ll be able to curate your talent network and communicate at scale so you can spend more time on the top talent. 

Establish best practices for post-event communications 

The follow-up to an event is just as important as the event itself. Once you have a goal in mind for your event, make sure you build the post-event follow-up into your strategy. 

Here are a few things you can do to follow-up with event attendees:

  • Send them an email: Emails are great and an easy way to reiterate the CTA that you’d like attendees to take. If you’ve recorded your event, you can also include a link to the recording so that attendees and respondents who couldn’t make the event can revisit it. 
  • Add them to your talent community: If you’d like to continue engaging with potential candidates on an ongoing basis, don’t forget to proactively add them to your talent communities. Consider having a mix of public and private talent communities that are more personalized to different candidates. For example, if you’re hiring for both engineers and designers, create two separate communities and add talent to the relevant group based on interests or current job. 
  • Give them early access to a future event or content: As a follow-up to your event, you can also give attendees a sneak peek of future events or content that they might be interested in. You can do this through social media, talent communities, or emails. 
  • Send a survey to get feedback: Don’t forget to ask attendees for their feedback while the event is still fresh in their minds. Attendees are likely to be able to provide lots of valuable input. And even if you don’t intend to organize similar events any time soon, you can still understand what they thought about the event to better evaluate its overall success.
  • Have a post-event review: It’s always useful to have a post-event debrief with your team, especially if you and your team are just starting to navigate the virtual events space. For the post-event reviews, consider inviting a couple of attendees to participate in them.  They’ll be able to help your team evaluate how successful your event was, determine learnings for next time, and brainstorm any ideas for future events. 

Templatize, duplicate, and keep events moving

One way to up your ROI is to decrease your investments. So once you’ve pulled off one great event, there’s no reason to completely reinvent the wheel. Instead, try to duplicate your virtual event, customize what’s needed for the new event, and implement your learnings from the previous event. If you’re hosting a series of virtual events, consider duplicating, customizing, and publishing all the individual events together so that people can see every upcoming event well in advance. You’ll be able to drive more RSVPs and attendees this way since people will have a longer leeway to plan ahead. 

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