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Since the outbreak of Coronavirus, the reliance on digital services has grown immensely. Quarantine restrictions have led to thousands of physical event cancelations now replaced by virtual events. Unfortunately, not all events could be broadcasted digitally including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the 74th annual Tony Awards, and Coachella, leading to industries having to completely cancel their events, losing millions in the process
Corporate businesses have had to switch to using Zoom for meetings while the entertainment industry now has to focus on live streaming services such as YoutubeLive and Twitch. Universally, a diverse range of markets has had to evolve to keep their businesses up and running. Despite lockdowns slowly easing in most parts of the world, companies still need to consider virtual events as a crucial part of their business strategy to remain relevant and effective.
A virtual event is essentially any type of event that can be held entirely online. There are a plethora of different types of events that can now occur across an array of platforms. It is likely that the industry holding the event will determine how the virtual version of it will run, as well as how the audience will engage on that platform.
Before an event goes live, a company will put together a strategy to create the most engaging and accommodating services for its target audience. For example, Blink Fitness has been hosting Facebook live workouts for people to join throughout the week to help stay active from home. Other companies, such as LinkedIn, are promoting companies to use their platform to advertise virtual job fairs, and colleges like California State University are holding classes remotely on Zoom. Industries conforming to virtual events is resulting in great turnouts for both companies and their audiences.
Overall, a brand will need to work harder at engaging their target audience but the pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to hosting virtual events.
You might be wondering, ‘how do I host a virtual event? But first thing you should really be thinking is, how do you organize an online event? Below are the steps to follow when beginning, hosting and accomplishing your first virtual event:
Research For Your Brand: What type of event are you hosting? Know your brand and what you want to offer your audience before making any next step towards creating your virtual meeting. Think of what type of event you want to produce and then research which platforms would be the best option to execute it on. If you are holding an educational seminar, make sure to use a platform where your audience can easily ask questions, if you’re a gym holding a fitness class you’ll need a platform with easy functionality, or if you’re running client meetings you will want to use a password-protected platform; by defining your brand and researching which tools and platforms would work best with your goals will create the best experience for your audience.
Market The Event: Marketing is a crucial part of hosting a successful virtual event. You will need to define your brand’s target audience and alert them of your upcoming live stream. Using your company’s social media platforms to promote your brand will help gain attention and RSVPs. Another way of promoting your event could be through email marketing. Your email list is already an audience interested in your brand so sending out invitations and reminders will make it easy for people to sign up. Make sure to keep track of the request for proposals (RFP) as this will let your brand know if the RSVP list is low and if the marketing strategy needs to be adjusted. Below is an example of interior designer Nicole Fuller using her social media platform to promote a virtual discussion:
During: While hosting your event, your brand should keep a couple of things in mind to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Follow Up: Again, let your audience know that you appreciate them attending your virtual event by sending them an email, or creating a social media post. Doing so will strengthen your relationship with your audience and show that their presence mattered.
The options are endless on how to create your brand’s virtual event. All industries have the opportunity to use this technology to their advantage in some way whether to conduct an educational web seminar, host a company fundraiser, or stream an online concert. The options are endless, so have your company get creative and start planning.
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