The coronavirus pandemic has compelled us to avoid large gatherings for the sake of everyone’s health. As a result of this, many trade shows, conferences, and events have to be either canceled, postponed or converted into virtual events. Some of the big events that have been impacted are:
- Adobe canceled its annual live summit and confirmed to move the entire event online.
- Facebook has canceled its Annual Market Summit which was going to be held in San Francisco and about 5,000 people were supposed to gather for that.
- Google News Initiative global summit and annual news conference are canceled due to the outbreak.
- The Mobile World Congress - the biggest smartphone conference of the year planned to happen in Barcelona, is canceled after major companies including LG, Amazon, Sony, Ericsson, Facebook, Nvidia, MediaTek, Sprint, and Vivo pulled out of the event because of the coronavirus outbreak.
- A conference about business and technology - EmTech Asia held in Singapore is postponed in August and many other big events have been canceled due to the growing impact of the coronavirus.
Now is the time to create a plan to host an online event that can help your business survive digitally in this critical time. A virtual event is not limited to a conference with thousands of attendees but it can also be a small Q&A session with your audience.
Whether you have an event already in mind or you’re looking for ideas, this article will guide you. Not just for now, but building an online community is the long-term success factor for your business. So, let's get digital.
Understand Your Audience
To plan a virtual event you need to have a clear understanding of your audience’s general psyche. For this, you need to get answers to how tech savvy they are, what subject areas in your industry are they most interested in, which platforms they use actively, what types of offers appeal them more, etc. You can conduct a survey to get answers to these questions or also start a discussion forum with your audience as an alternative.
Just like live conferences, virtual event planning comes in many formats. It could be a seminar with one person taking the stage, or it could be more like a trade show or workshop. The key ingredient is to create a unique experience that makes the event more meaningful to the audience. Use large fonts, high color contrast, and provide captions for visuals wherever needed in presentations. You can handover the creative design part to a design firm to create a personalized theme that will captivate the audiences’ minds. Event planning software will help you create a unique user experience with an attractive background and an easy-to-use navigation system for both the organizers and remote guests.
Choosing a Software Platform
Thanks to video streaming services an important part of hosting virtual events to a remote audience is much easier. Cisco WebEx, Zoom meetings, MegaMeeting, Google Hangouts, Facebook and YouTube Live are some of the ways to visually connect with your audience for the event. Every platform has some different factors that serve a different purpose. You can take their free trial where you can understand and test the technical functionalities to present your virtual event in a better way.
Speaker of the Event
Who will be speaking at the event? Well, it’s your choice. You can hire an influencer, knowledge expert or even an in-house staff member who has a command on the subject and can answer questions asked by the audience. The person should also have the ability to speak clearly, should be comfortable with the camera and have the ability to manage time effectively. You can also plan an event with two hosts who have a strong rapport and can respond and manage the audience in a smart way.
Remember: effectively promote it and they’ll come for the event, especially when you offer value and a good incentive to your online attendees. Keep at least one unique selling point that your event has to give your audience and make sure to reflect that in your event marketing plan. It can be anything like the guest speaker, your topics, skill-sharing opportunities, or networking. Share event details across all suitable platforms like social media sites, email, run paid ads, etc. and invite them to attend the event. You can drop videos with introductions of speakers, their work, behind-the-scenes efforts, or anything that will create and maintain the buzz. As there are many ways to promote a virtual event, research it, or get in touch with a Deck 7 webinar marketing specialist to guide you through the best timing, content, strategies, and tips to promote your event.
Tackling Technical Issues
Virtual events are no exception to glitches. Before rushing to start the event, check if everything is running properly. Test your internet connection, and inform your host to do the same. Prepare a backup of every needful document in case you miss any, or it gets corrupt. Take an extensive trial before the event, identify the problems, and be ready with solutions. All your hosts and online guests may not be experts in solving technical issues, so prepare an e-book or notes to give them as a solution. You can arrange technical support online, this ensures it is easy to find and anyone can ask for help and get it immediately.
Engage Your Audience
Make an effort to engage your audience in your event. If you create opportunities for them to respond then surely they are going to engage in your event. You can do this easily, e.g. you can encourage them to ask questions through comments or chat boxes. This makes them participate in the conversation. You can also encourage your attendees to live-tweet, participate in polls and quizzes so that you can focus on the main event. You can also can hire someone to handle this activity.
Before the events start, you can take suggestions from your audience for a suitable time and date to organize the event. If you are aiming for a global event then make sure it is not colliding with something else and you end up with fewer participants.
A live streaming event is more doable than ever today, especially in this digital information sharing age. Take advantage of this technological breakthrough to build your audience and make your brand a household name. You can approach Deck 7 for virtual event promotion using various platforms and you will not be disappointed by the results. Also, share your inputs on how you are coping with the news trends in virtual event promotion and growing your business.