4 Steps to a Killer Virtual Event
It seems crazy that it’s been an entire year since the pandemic started. Just think, a year ago we were all either binge-watching Tiger King in quarantine, learning a TikTok dance, baking bread, or becoming first-time plant parents. ????
Does anyone else miss in-person networking or big conferences? ✋????
Over the past year, virtual events have increased significantly, for obvious reasons. According to a survey by wirke.com, only 42% of organizations were holding virtual events before the pandemic, but now that number has doubled to 84%.
Those statistics are pretty hard to ignore. So what’s the big deal about virtual events and will they stick around post-pandemic? We happen to think they will, so we’re going to share a few insider tips & tricks to help you host a great one…
What Is A Virtual Event?
A virtual event is simply an event that’s hosted online through either pre-recorded videos or live streaming. Social media platforms have all upped their live streaming abilities in recent years, projecting the importance of virtual connection well before the pandemic. (Wait….. No let’s not go there.) TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook are all great places to go LIVE for a virtual event, and each platform has its own pros & cons as well as its own target audience.
Why Host A Virtual Event?
Even though the pandemic has put virtual events in the spotlight (mostly because no other type of events were allowed ???? ), virtual events have always had benefits independent of social distancing, and they will continue to in the future. Hosting a virtual event can benefit your business because it can reach an audience that normally wouldn’t be able to attend an in-person event due to busy schedules, financial restraints, or physical disabilities.
As a small business, virtual events are a great way to talk to your audience without breaking the bank. They’re much more cost effective than in-person events because there’s not a physical space to rent out and well, wine and charcuterie are expensive… ????????♀️
Virtual events are often used for:
- Training courses or classes
- Behind-the-scenes tours
- Raising Awareness
- & More
So, Now That You Know What A Virtual Event Is, How Do You Plan One?
Step 1: Create A Detailed Game Plan
Even if your event is in-person, it still takes planning! Having a schedule for the event will keep your team organized and ready to perform. (Pro-tip: If segments become too long, audience members may hop off the Live Event. Keep the event interesting by having a list of commonly asked questions to answer during a demo.)
It’s important to give your team specific roles for the event. The amount of people working an event will vary, but here are some examples:
1. A Camera Person – They should understand what angles are best for the event and to make sure the Live is running smoothly.
2. A Comment Monitor – It’s important to have eyes on the comment section so the audience can ask the questions and feel like they are participating.
3. A Director – This is one of the most critical positions during a Live because they make sure everything stays on schedule, they can give (silent) direction to keep things moving, and they can signal to the MC or host to give more energy.
4. An MC – This is your star! Whoever is the most comfortable giving energy, but also knowledgeable enough to answer questions about your business should be your go-to MC. (Pro Tip: Virtual Events require even more energy than in-person events. If you feel ridiculous, you’re probably giving enough energy for a virtual event.)
Step 2: Pick The Right Day And Time For The Event
Analytics and insights are your best friend. If most of your audience is working during the day and time you choose, the event won’t do as well! So checking your social media analytics will help you choose the best time for your specific target audience.
Step 3: Promote, Promote, PROMOTE!
Alright, this is the fun part. Promoting the event at least 2-3 weeks before is generally the best practice for a virtual event. If you promote too early, your audience may forget, but if you promote it last minute, they may not be able to make time to attend.
There are a lot of great ways to promote virtual events— Social media posts, email marketing campaigns, posting in local groups, and using interactive Stories are all great ways to promote for free! We happen to think promotion of virtual events should be done holistically, meaning use every channel you have to reach the most people.
Step 4: Make It Fun, Engaging, And Inclusive!
Since your audience isn’t in-person, it’s even more important to remember to include viewers in the conversation! Encouraging your audience to ask questions and holding small giveaways throughout the event will keep your them interested and most importantly, will keep them from X-ing out of the event to get back to scrolling their feed. Who doesn’t love free stuff? ????
One of the most critical pieces of advice we can give you is: have a practice run-through. During the run-through, you can get an idea of what needs to be changed before the event. Remember tripods for the cameras, make sure all batteries are charged, print out the schedules, secure a laptop & a phone to monitor how the event is going, and grab lots of coffee to excite your speakers. (Caffeine is a good idea, always. ☕️)
Problems are bound to happen, but you’ve got this!
We encourage you to consider adding virtual events to your marketing strategy to increase your brand awareness on a lower budget, reach new target markets, and overall to freshen up your marketing game.
Does this help? Let us know!
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