The task of taking your event virtual may seem daunting to those who’ve never tackled the task before, but rest assured, it is not much different.
Sure there may be technical difficulties that you might not be familiar with (livestream cutting, live chat issues, audio issues, etc) but problem solving is what you do best, as event planners. A well prepared event planner is equipped with the right tools for when things don’t happen according to schedule, regardless of whether the event is in-person or virtual.
If you’re looking to move your event into the virtual space, we’ve got you covered!
Here are some of the top tools to help you take your event virtual.
Tools to host your virtual event.
Think of the live streaming platform as your event venue.
The platform will be the medium by which your attendees will experience your virtual event, much like a venue. When considering a livestreaming or webinar platform to use, ask yourself the same types of questions you would when considering venues:
- What’s the capacity?
- How can we implement our branding?
- What’s the layout?
- How can the attendees interact with the speakers?
- How will the attendees network?
- Can we host breakout sessions?
Luckily, there are plenty of options available, both paid and free, to give you the best possible live stream experience to your audience.
Demio is a livestream platform that mimics a seminar or presentation at a typical conference. You can customize the interface with your brand’s colours and logos, as well as create a landing page for registration. It’s also well built for the audience; the platform has a live chat function with polling options, so speakers can further interact with the audience. This platform is also very accessible, and doesn’t require your attendees to download another software.
Another live streaming option that allows for customizations and audience interaction, but has deeper features than Demio. There are live translation tools, moderated Q&As and the option to go into meeting rooms for further discussion.
Youtube Live, Facebook Live, or Twitch:
The live streaming options above are great for corporate and larger professional events, but they are all paid options. You can still host a successful event using a free option, like Youtube, Facebook, or Twitch. You might not get the same features, but if you’re looking to present a speaker in front of your audience, you can’t go wrong here. Also, hosting your event on a social media platform allows for greater discoverability.
Tools to promote and register.
How will you promote and sign up attendees?
The next step in taking your event virtual is promotion. Since your event will be taking place online, the best way to focus your event promotion would be digital-heavy.
Social media is a great tool you can use for promoting your virtual event. The key thing to have when promoting your event on social media is a distinguishable hashtag. This encourages guests to promote the event on their channels, putting new eyes on the event. Other than that, posting unique content on your social media relating to your event will help promote it. Here are some great tools to help create content for your event:
Canva is a great tool for creating graphics and layouts, especially if you don’t have a graphic designer on your team. You can program your logo and colours, so your social media content will align with your branding.
Another great source of social media content is content curation. Sharing posts and articles that are relevant to your event, will help people discover your page and will be inclined to share and engage. Quuu is a tool that seeks relevant content and sends you content suggestions, based on interests. It’ll save you a lot of time in your social media strategy and act as a source of relevant and engageable content.
Now that you’ve got plenty of eyes on your event page, time to sign those people up. The best way to collect information and communicate with attendees is with a CRM tool. You can send updates, more content, and interact with your guests before and after your event. Here are some CRM tools you can use to register and subsequently communicate with your guests:
Mailchimp is one of the most popular options when it comes to email marketing tools. The platform is easy to use, and gives you plenty of useful analytics. There is also a landing page builder, which you can link to from your social media, building up your leads.
Crowdcore is a great all-in-one tool for event planners, which has a built-in CRM feature which seamlessly integrates with the ticketing system. Registered attendees will be added to the CRM, and you’ll be able to freely communicate with them, before, during and after your event. There is also a landing page builder, so you are able to include your brand’s colours and logos.
Tools to present your speakers.
A presentation should be more than a powerpoint.
With your event promoted and guests excited to hear your speakers, you have to now think about how they are going to present. The great thing about a virtual event is that your speakers can come from anywhere, and all it costs is their time.
With that said, you don’t want to just throw a speaker in front of a webcam and start speaking. Give your attendees a quality production.
Prior to the event, test your speakers’ set ups and watch for the quality of their webcams and microphones. What’s in the background and can it be changed to come off more professional?
If the quality of your speakers’ at-home setups aren’t up to your standards, consider equipping your speakers with a quality microphone, webcam, or both, to give your guests the quality presentation they deserve.
Here are some tools you can use to create a better presentation:
The snowball is the standard for entry level condenser microphones. You just plug it in and it's ready to use. It’s compatible with most computers, so you can send it to any speaker, and they’ll likely be able to use it. You can’t go wrong with this microphone for a high quality presentation.
If your speaker has a low quality webcam, or no webcam, you can consider sending them a Logitech C720. It’s an affordable webcam, that can still present in HD. Again, it’s easy to use, and noninvasive, so your speakers will be able comfortably use this.
Tools to incorporate attendee interaction.
Guests should still be able to network, even if they’re all at home.
The biggest challenge with transitioning to a virtual event is how you’ll be able to replace the face-to-face interaction of a conventional event. As an event planner, you’re going to have to find a way to replicate it as closely as possible.
The good news is that there are ways you can keep the networking portions of your event. Try with hosting breakout sessions or networking groups to keep your guests engaged with each other.
Here are some tools you can use to facilitate that:
If you are planning on hosting breakout sessions or if you want to incorporate some sort of group discussion, you can’t go wrong with Zoom or Google Hangouts. With these tools being pretty standard among professionals, it'll be seamless to create rooms for your guests.
Slack is a common tool in the office place, but consider using it for networking at your virtual event. Try hosting a networking slack workspace for your attendees, and use channels to further breakdown guests into specific groups by location or industry.
Limnu is an online whiteboard app that allows for real time collaboration. If your event is hosting a breakout session or case competition, this app is great for brainstorming. The group members can have access to the same collaborative tools and experience as an in-person session.
With the right tools, you can easily take your event virtual without losing the event experience. Virtual events hold so many positive attributes; lower costs, more access to speakers, and utilizing technology to its fullest potential. This is the best time to test this out and with these tools, any event planner will be able to make the transition into the virtual event space.