Hosting Virtual Events for Your Business
Going Live: Creating Virtual Events for Your Business
It’s no secret that just about everything was canceled in 2020. Everything from your company office party to that concert you bought tickets to took a pause last year to help slow the spread of COVID-19. And while in-person events were put on hold, many businesses and organizations took to the internet to adapt their plans to virtual events. I’m going to give you the basics to prepare for transforming your face-to-face events into screen-to-screen experiences.
First, Brainstorm Your Event
The first step is brainstorming what virtual event you would like to host for your business. Are you adapting an annual event or are you creating something new? Either way, you have to brainstorm whether the event is feasible to host online and if it is something your audience is going to be interested in.
Then, Gauge Interest
It’s never a bad idea to see how many virtual attendees you might have. What’s the point in taking all the time to plan, promote, and host an event if no one will join in? Come up with a minimum number of participants you’d need to go through with your event.
Next, Decide “To Charge or Not To Charge?”
Isn’t this always the question? You’ll have to decide whether you have enough demand for your event, and whether or not that demand will remain the same if the event is solely online. While the overwhelming majority of virtual events being hosted are free, some businesses have been able to charge a premium for private online events. Be careful though. Charging for your virtual event could drastically limit your attendance.
Now, Send Out Event “Save The Dates”
Now that you’ve decided to continue with your virtual event, you need to set a date and time. Think about a time that most people will be free to join online and participate. Ideally, your event will occur in the evening. From here, you can create an online event and begin inviting your guests to attend. Make sure to explicitly state that your event is virtual in the title.
After that, it’s time to Promote, Promote, Promote!
Just like an in-person event, promotion is everything. Give yourself plenty of time to promote the event. Post on social media, your website, and send email reminders. Make sure to explore options for promoting your event in areas that your ideal attendee may see it.
Lastly, Let’s do a Tech Check
The last thing you want to do is ensure that your virtual event goes on without a hitch. While you’re at the mercy of the internet gods, there are some things you can do to ensure an excellent experience for your attendees. Do a dry run of the event to make sure your tech is operating correctly. Also, make sure you have good lighting, quality sound, and a strong, reliable internet connection. Many streaming devices can affect your internet quality. If you can, try and update your internet router to prioritize the devices you’ll be using for your live stream.
You can read up on all the technical mumbo-jumbo here.
Finally, [Ring] Lights, [Web] Camera, Action!
It’s time to go live! Remember to be patient, and have fun! This is your hard work paying off. Be prepared for glitches; they happen. Make sure to just go with the flow and do your best. We’re all aware of the situation and have learned to be much more patient with technology this year.
One last thing… Master the Follow Up
After your event, make sure to post about its success on social media and thank all of your attendees and supporters. Sending out a thank you email is a great way to show appreciation AND share a recorded version of the event with those who may have had trouble or not been able to join in as they had hoped to.