Going Virtual in 2020: Webinars, Live Streams, and Online Conferencing

If you were told that almost everything will go virtual in 2020, you probably would have shrugged this idea off with a laugh.

Fast forward to today, we are all hosting events, networking, and creating connections online.

Even some of the biggest conferences have now gone digital. This June, Collision, for instance, hosted a digital version of the conference, aptly titled Collision from Home, and 32,000 people attended it.

What can you host virtually?

The short answer is almost everything.

It could be anything – a small team building session or a large-scale conference hosting thousands of attendees. In these extraordinary circumstances, you can consider doing almost everything online. An added benefit is that you will also have a reduction in the costs.

There are multiple organizations, in Canada, that are offering networking and mentorship programs online. Most of these programs are targeted and focused on a niche such as a particular industry or women in business.

Here are just a few of the things that organizations have taken online:

a) Training and development

COVID-19 doesn’t necessarily have to disrupt your training and development programs.

You can continue to focus on employee development and growth online. By hosting webinars, workshops, and training sessions – you can onboard new employees as well as upskill your current workforce.

Webinars can also be recorded and shared with employees so that they can reference them at a future time.

b) Educational programs

In 2020, many universities truly went online. In fact, many universities in Canada are planning to teach courses online throughout the remainder of this year.

c) Business meetings

According to App Annie, business applications topped 62 million downloads, worldwide, across iOS and Google Play, just within the third week of March when the pandemic started.

Online internal and external meetings are increasingly becoming the new normal.

Organizations continue to network and interact with customers, partners, and other stakeholders through online conferencing.

d) Professional and networking events

It is difficult to move from a physical setting to an online one. Especially when you risk losing the human touch.

However, recent events have proven that individuals can still find ways to connect online. There are some additional unexpected benefits that companies can enjoy by taking events, exhibitions, product demos, etc. online.

Here are a few:

  • While most online events are held in real-time, they are recorded too. So, they can be re-shared and viewed afterwards.
  • You can use these recorded events as lead generation tools.
  • Participants can still engage by asking or typing their questions in.
  • If you are hosting speakers for your event, you don’t have to worry about arranging flights, transport, and hotels.
  • You now have the opportunity to truly go global and yet stay within your budget – this is amazing, right?

How should you organize an event online?

While it is simpler to organize one-on-one meetings, there is a little more planning that goes into hosting large-scale events.

When you’re looking to host an event, the following steps can help outline the process and ensure that you pull off effective virtual meetings that have good engagement and are (hopefully) free of digital glitches.

I. Chalk out your strategy

To pull off a successful virtual event, start by setting the goals you’d like to achieve and giving some thought to the concept and event plan.

Who is the audience? What’s the purpose? Would this be a live event? Is it free or gated? How would you record the webinar? Would you require people to register? Are you involving your partners? What is the content that will be shared? How will you promote this event?

Answering these questions can help you build a solid strategy.

For instance, if you’re expecting up to 10,000 registered attendees, you can leverage Zoom Webinars. If you’re streaming to a wider audience, you can choose from Facebook Live, YouTube Live, or a custom streaming service.

II. Develop the content

The most important pillar is content. If your content delivers value and is relevant for your audience, you can not only guarantee the success of this webinar but also expect repeat attendance for future ones.

To curate content that truly resonates with your audience, focus on understanding their interests and what they are concerned about, especially during the pandemic.

III. Involve your partners or vendors

You can leverage webinars and live events, to mutually benefit your organization and the industry partners you work with.

Involving your partners can not only provide supplementary information that is relevant for your audience but also help foster stronger relationships with your industry partners. Through these webinars, your partners also get opportunities to generate leads and boost sales.

If this is not a part of your current business model, it is something to consider. It is a win-win situation!

IV. Create a buzz

All the work that goes into developing a webinar won’t be fruitful until you ensure that your prospective audience knows that you are offering a webinar.

Use your marketing tools to highlight what’s unique about your virtual event. Is it the speaker? Is there a new solution launch? Is there an opportunity to network?

There are a number of ways you can create a buzz around your webinars and live stream sessions:

  • Share the event details on your social media channels
  • If you have an ad budget, carefully consider the channel, imagery, and ad frequency.
  • Use LinkedIn – InMails, for instance, can be used to extend the invitations to prospects.
  • Leverage email marketing

V. Check to see all the tech is in order

When you’re all set to host your webinar, make sure your IT team has done the relevant testing and created contingency plans.

A few things you must do are checking the internet connection, preparing a guide for the attendees, doing a test run, and having back-ups for the assets you’d be sharing.

VI. Engagement

Remote events can very quickly get boring and the audience can lose interest.

One way to ensure you’re keeping your audience engaged is by integrating some interactive features so that your audience can engage.

Small things like live-tweeting, comment sections, and shout-outs can help your audience feel like they’re a part of the session! If your event has a smaller group of attendees, you can even look at opting for breakout sessions and live Q&As.

If you’d like to create a live event, are looking for online conferencing solutions, or need help promoting your virtual events but don’t know where to start – you don’t have to worry! We, at Pulsion Marketing, can help. Contact us today to learn more about solutions. Call 1-888-701-4441 or visit www.digiforcemarketing.ca.