That “necessity sharpens ingenuity” has been demonstrated during these strange months that we have had to live, especially in the field of organizing events.
The periods of confinement and social distancing have turned the events into a real challenge for brands and agencies, which we have had to use a lot of resources and a lot of imagination to find alternatives that would supply, as far as possible, face-to-face interaction. And since online events seem to have come to stay longer than we would like, take note of the keys to organizing them successfully.
Online events mark the COVID-19 agenda
We are not going to tell you anything new about the health emergency situation that we are experiencing and the restrictions adopted to contain it. Nor are we going to talk about the importance of corporate events for brands, especially when it comes to achieving objectives such as improving engagement or capturing quality leads.
It is clear that they are two realities that you know and that, unfortunately, are currently incompatible. And faced with this, as a brand you have two options: throw in the towel and abandon your marketing plan until all this happens or look for alternatives in the digital world that allow you to hold events online, or at least take actions that keep you in touch with your audience.
But organizing an event online is not an easy task, especially if you do not know the basic keys to transfer your event to digital platforms. Here we tell you the most important:
1. Rate your celebration online
Converting a face-to-face event into a fully virtual event is not always possible, although in most cases there are alternative solutions that allow you to adapt what is planned.
Therefore, the first key to organizing events online is to assess which parts of your event can be transferred to a screen and which cannot.
When the leap to the digital environment is going to make the event lose its essence , do not reach the proposed objectives or cannot transmit the central creative concept , it is time to assume that it is not possible to continue with your plan.
2. Redefine your event
If after the initial reflection, you think there is a viable way to celebrate your event online, go ahead! But do not forget that this will involve redefining many aspects and the best way to do it is by asking yourself these questions:
- Can the objective of my in-person event remain the same if I celebrate it online? If not, don’t worry, adapt or die! Redefine the objectives you want to achieve with the event, adapting them in a realistic and smart way to your new modality. If you are not sure what goals you “can expect” from an online event, use the OKR system (Objectives Key Results) to define your new objectives.
- Is the central creative concept around which my face-to-face event revolved still valid if I celebrate it online? In link you can remember what the central creative concept is and how it applies to a corporate event. The most likely scenario is that the change of scenery involves conceiving other creative pieces, such as designing your own app in whose interfaces you must capture that concept so that the brand image to be transmitted is breathed in the online event. For this you can count on our help .
- Does my online event allow me to reach fewer, equal or more people than if I celebrate it with physical presence? It is evident that the capacity limitations that your physical event could have disappear if the event is held online, something that is positive because it allows you to reach more people. But first, you must assess whether you should expand it due to the nature of the event itself or because of the exclusivity you want to give it.
- Are the materials and contents of my physical event also suitable for the digital version? Anything can happen here but most likely you will have to adapt the content, materials and resources that you would have relied on if the event were face-to-face. For example, if you previously had a brochure with a data form to capture leads , now you must plan how to get that data without having physical forms (although you may have already obtained it through subscribing to the online event).
3. Choose the most appropriate technology
This choice, key to the success of your online events, is determined by the type of events: it is not the same to hold a webinar than an online fair or a streaming meeting of several speakers. Each one requires a specific technology and the next step you have to take is to find it.
Analyze what possibilities each platform offers you and assess aspects such as:
- Maximum number of participants.
- Instant messaging.
- Registration of participants.
- Video calls in individual rooms.
- Parallel work sessions.
- Payment gateway for access.
- Computer infrastructure necessary for participants.
As we said, today there are many online platforms for holding events that you surely know. Some of the most popular are:
- Free streaming platforms: YouTube , Vimeo or Twitch.
- Social networks: Facebook Live and Instagram Live.
- Contact and collaboration programs (with free or premium option ): Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Moodle, Class on live…
4.- Prepare your audience
The online events are so new to you and to your audience. Therefore, another key to organizing it successfully is that you prepare and report very well to the participants.
For this, we advise you to use digital channels. Plan e-mailing campaigns in great detail and publish a battery of posts on blogs and social media to provide detailed information that encourages participation. Explain what the event consists of, what are its benefits for attendees, how it will be developed, through what technology they can join, if it is paid …
You can also publish a guide that details everything that the event entails, from the installation of computer programs to the different parts of which it will consist. Your audience will be very grateful and, as a brand, you will convey an image of excellent solvency and organization.
5. Promote your event online
In addition to everything that we have told you in the previous point, it is essential that you carry out a good promotion that encourages participation in your online events. Use your social channels (blog and profiles) so that everyone knows that you are going to organize an online event, what it is, when it is held and how they can join. Do not forget:
- Introduce CTAs in the posts you publish, either on your blog or on your social profiles, to encourage participation and, above all, facilitate subscription.
- Create an exclusive hashtag for the event and include it in all the publications you make, whether before, during or after its celebration. This way you will give visibility to the event and you can more easily monitor everything that is said about it.
- Developing a free app is an option that you should consider if it fits into your budget and contributes to improving the development of the event. An app, in addition to serving you to obtain a large amount of information of interest, guarantees greater participation among attendees and a greater brand recall (apart from the fact that many people will leave it there on their phone, so you will continue to extend your image branded).
- Dedicating several posts on your blog can also be of great help to promote your event online and preview the topics that are going to be addressed or the activities in which the attendees will be able to participate.
- Carefully select the social media in which you are going to promote your event based on their content and, most importantly, the audience you are targeting. It is obvious that a musical group that celebrates a streaming concert will turn to social networks such as Facebook or Instagram to make it known, while a law firm that conducts a meeting with renowned speakers will find it on LinkedIn, or even in specific groups within this network, the best way to promote it.
- Use influencers to help spread the word about the event. Either because they participate in some way in the event or because they are linked to the brand, the dissemination of the event by influencers can be the way to reach more people.
- Send reminders to attendees, either by mail, SMS … You can also use chatbots to make these reminders or clarify doubts that may arise among the public.
6.- Measure and track
One of the great advantages of online events is that everything can be measured immediately, inexpensively and in real-time! Now you can measure everything more easily: the number of attendees, the participation of each one, the time spent in the event, the reactions to what they are seeing, what is said about your event on social media.
Measuring the results is the basis for improving and knowing the ROI of your event. But in addition to measuring, it is highly recommended that you follow up and email is the perfect tool for this. Either sending a satisfaction survey, sending audiovisual content of the event or sending related materials, the event has created a link with its participants that now you have the opportunity to exploit to obtain information or close a sale.