Odds are that in the last two weeks you’ve attended one or more webinars/conferences online just to catch up with some learning or because you had intended to attend an event that went virtual. Let me ask you, how was that experience? Did you get the same insights as you would have at the live event?
There are many companies trying to mitigate the coronavirus outbreak by creating their own digital experiences. As part of our mission to close the communications gap around the world, and as it was mentioned in our previous article it is now the perfect time to design a strategy on how your company can go digital. Most conferences worldwide have been canceled and many of them are in the process of being converted into virtual events.
The problem with virtual conferences is trying to get people engaged. Our attention span is short and becomes shorter and shorter as we get overwhelmed with information from all angles: mobile devices, email, social media, news portals, etc. We have to be extremely selective of what we let in, and understand how we prefer to consume and incorporate information. The typical slide to slide presentation is not going to cut it if we want to engage with our audience.
There are many types of virtual events going on, from short Q&A sessions to multi speaker webinars, to a series of virtual conferences or even livestreaming tutorials. It doesn’t matter which one you decide to produce, the most important thing is to create a compelling story that keeps your audience engaged. Who is your audience? What is the message you want to deliver? What kind of experience do you hope to offer?
For instance, instead of talking about your company’s new product, why don’t you focus on interactive tools to provide a unique experience with each audience member. Think of your virtual event as you would approach a movie: first create an interesting script, then cast the parts, and finally use technology in your favor. If you make the content entertaining, most chances are that it will not only be valued, but it will also be shared with others. Make sure the content you are streaming aligns with the interests of your intended audience, and that it matches your brand’s voice and targeted prospects and customers.
Below you will find tips for hosting virtual events and how to overcome typical IT challenges.
- What type of event do you want to offer? Is it a webinar, or a conference, a networking meeting, or a training course? First you should decide which platform to use; some include livestreaming and chatrooms for participants to ask questions. The options include:
- YouTube Livestream: it is free and easy
- Zoom: one host, a group chat and includes about 10,000 view-only attendees
- 6Connex: available on any browser or device, includes real time analytics and features a virtual booth chatroom
- Demio: you can use it for your pre-recorded or live webinars, includes private chat, call to action buttons, and other features
- Brella: Speakers, multitrack agendas, sponsors, individual streams, and more, are taken care of with this hub for virtual conferences.
- HeySummit: Build a landing page, onboard speakers, register attendees, and more. Note that this solution helps package virtual events, but you’ll need to integrate this with tools for livestreaming.
- Hop In: This all-in-one live events platform covers everything from networking events, meetings, trade shows, webinars, live broadcasts, and more.
- Pick up the right date and time. Do a little research, take time zones into consideration, do not set a date when it’s possible competitors may be hosting another event. Hey! Why don’t you turn your live event into a series? Consistency increases brand awareness.
- Promote the event, determine the key selling points your event has to offer. Send out invitations and share event details by email and social media, even write an article about it and put it on your blog. If you plan to run ads, target them strategically.
- Test everything, equipment, audio and video quality, internet connection. Be prepared for tech problems.
Virtual events expand your reach. Some organizations have increased their reach 50x by simulcasting a conference/event stream to social channels like YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook. It will allow those who wouldn’t be able to attend under normal circumstances, to have the chance of experiencing what your organization has to offer, that will improve their lives or ways of doing business. At last, think about a call to action plan at the end of your virtual event, convert your audience by facilitating a live poll or maybe a contest!
Live streaming a virtual event doesn’t have to be intimidating; if you follow the above-mentioned guidelines, with the right platform and support, it will be a fun and learning experience both for your team and your audience. If you want to democratize your audience’s experience and reach out to other language speakers, Idea Translations can help with the transcription and subtitling of your audio. We have a lot of experience working with online training courses.