With physical distancing bringing people virtually closer, what better time to pivot your brand’s unique experiences by bringing your desired guest list together for an evening of on-brand fun and informative communication from the comfort of their own spaces?
1. CREATE YOUR COMMITTEE
Just as you would an in-person event, delegate roles and tasks including, but not limited to, hosts, panellists, partners, outreach, guest wrangler and social publisher.
2. CONSIDER PRE-PLANNED EVENTS
Look at any events you already had planned, or approved to begin planning, and see if they should be postponed or moved to online. If your desire to host an event is new, there are plenty of types that can be turned virtual; teachable discussions, webinars, tastings, social hours, group meals, etc.
3. PICK A VENUE
Currently, the top 3 picks for virtual events are Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Zoom Video and GoToMeeting. Here are the pros and cons of each.
Pros: 4 hour stream time per live event, reach growth with increased recording time, discoverability on a populated platform, and each video lives permanently on the network for future viewing (unless deleted).
Cons: Lower bandwidth quality, only two hosts on screen at a time and little to no editing capabilities before publishing.
Pros: Alerts followers to a coming or starting event, discoverable on an already populated, well-searched platform, allows for reactions and comments, can be saved under “Highlights” for future viewing.
Cons: Little to no comment moderation capabilities and only two hosts on screen at a time.
Pros: Little to no buffering, screen sharing, hand-raising function for selecting speakers, moderators can mute guests when necessary, recordings can be saved as MP4s to publish elsewhere.
Cons: App only (requiring download) and has costs for meetings over 40 minutes.
Pros: Can share documents in real-time, up to 250 attendees may participate, offers recording capabilities, allows the use of on-screen pen, highlighter and spotlight tools.
Cons: App only (requiring download) and requires high-bandwidth internet, which may not be available to guests in high-traffic times or remote areas.
4. CREATE A SOLID VIRTUAL EXPERIENCE
Before you craft a single piece of content, strive to understand your audience, their pain points, their surroundings and/or situations and what they have to gain by attending your virtual event. Don’t be afraid to ask for help in this sensitive approach.
From there, create your promo strategy and an event flow; don’t open the doors and let everything happen willy nilly. The less actual moderation and conversation pointing you need to do when everyone is live, the better.
5. ENGAGE WITH POST-EVENT CONTENT & CONTACT
Share the recording of your virtual event online on applicable social networks, and/or send them the link from your video host application for any time viewing. Mail any brand material or swag designated in the strategy as required. Also, be sure to engage guests’ social posts in the future, keep connected.
Here is a terrific example of brands doing this well:
Mix (& mingle) with your markets, host a virtual distillery tour