Updated: Oct 5, 2020
Virtual events may sound a little futuristic, but in reality, they’ve been happening since 1993 when the first livestream of webcam footage of a coffee maker in mid drip was watched with rapt attention. The streaming pot brewed up millions of views.
Tech and social media upgrades have opened the door with new ways to connect online, from virtual tours to a Q&A with astronauts in space. Some of the largest conferences have gone completely digital or use a hybrid method. Broadcasting these events reduce cost and carbon footprints and makes attendance accessible to a larger audience. From live-tweeting to live streaming, businesses and organizations are creating virtual events across the web. Are you ready to go digital?
When you choose Chandler Business Group to handle your virtual or hybrid event, you don't have to worry about technical difficulties, and get additional social media promotion. We will handle all the setup, internet connections, presentation of online materials and make your event as seamless as possible. If you want to host an event entirely virtual, we will set you up with our Mobile Studio. Use graphics, branding, presentations all from one location and stream live to YouTube. We can make your event memorable and engage both existing and new viewers. Contact us today to get a quote!
Let’s look at how you can host a successful virtual event for your organization!
Have a Game Plan
Big or small, offline or online, every event needs a strategy. Begin with a key goal and concept and then start planning. The earlier you plan, the better.
When considering hosting a virtual event, ask yourself:
What experience do I want to deliver?
Will the event be on-demand or live? Or will it be both?
What is the best platform to be seen on? Facebook, YouTube, Twitter?
Will access to the event be free or for an entry charge?
When is the best time for me to live stream?
How will event registration be handled?
What types of materials and social media will you use to promote the event?
What are your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you want to attain? Identify the purpose of the broadcast - will you be looking for new members, revenue, or some other metric? How will you measure these?
Pick the Right Time
It’s important to pick the right date and time for your event. Regardless of size or platform, before you send out “save the dates” to your network, research to make sure there are no competing events or holidays that would interfere with attendance.You also have to consider time zones. If you’re trying to broadcast across the United States, pick a time that will work for all time zones - this is generally later in the afternoon to include the West Coast and those in between. If you can’t pick a time that will work for all, make sure your followers can watch the presentation at a later time. It may even be worth doing multiple sessions at different times and live stream each one.
Promote! Promote! Promote!
The key selling points your event should offer is a noteworthy speaker, skill sharing, an opportunity to network, or an engaging message to get out to the world. Whatever you choose to broadcast, make sure the value proposition is clear in your marketing. Share event details by email, social media, and ads. Target them strategically and use the right format. For example, LinkedIn’s InMail ads may be better to extend invites than impersonal sponsored posts on Facebook.
Registrations tend to spike two-to-three weeks before an event, so it’s a good idea to ramp up your marketing around this time. Use as many social media tools as are available. You can create an event countdown in Instagram Stories, a Facebook event is great to post all the necessary information.
Speakers and other presenters can also double as influencer. Give them the details so they can promote the event on their own social media channels. Tag each other often and start a conversation about your event online. Always include who, what, when, where, and how in your communications. Don’t forget to include a link - whether it’s to an RSVP registration site, or a Facebook event, your link should show people where to go to be able to sign up and watch.
Don’t forget to create and share an event hashtag. This helps promote the event and drive conversations online. Use targeted hashtags by including words or phrases that are already popular on social media. With a bit of research, you can create this to be a dynamic part of your presentation by having people use it during the presentation as well as before and after.
Prepare for Technical Issues
Even virtual events have glitches. Make sure to test your Internet connection, speakers, and visuals. Have backups of visuals and presentations in case a file goes wonky or disappears. If you can, run a rehearsal or two. That way, the sooner you identify potential issues, you can identify solutions quickly and prepare for everything.
Anticipate any issues attendees or viewers may have. Remember, not all of them are tech savvy. You may want to create easy follow guides or FAQs they can reference before attending. That way it’s easy to find where and how to ask for help.
Just like in-person events, virtual events should be as inclusive and accessible as possible. Make sure large fonts, high-color contrast, and clear language is used at all touch points - presentations, graphics, logos, branding. Provide captions and visuals for audio and provide descriptions for pictures and other visuals.
Get People Engaged!
Create opportunities for engagement, your audience will be more likely to interact with you and get involved in the content you’re streaming. For example, ask viewers to submit questions and comments through a chat tool. Most likely, the people who ask questions are going to stick around to see if the questions are answered. Make sure you have a moderator assigned to the task of fielding questions
Almost all streaming platforms have some form of an interactive feature. Use it to your advantage and encourage your viewers to send in questions, comments, and make suggestions. Use social media to do “shoutouts” to attendees, encourage live hashtags in social media posts, and above all, have fun!