A lot of things have changed within the last few months. Business events and events, in general, will not be the same. It’s becoming clear that there will be a new normal. Event organizers scramble over this new event industry reality.
Luckily, you don’t have to worry about cancelling or postponing your event. Thanks to online event planning software, you can take your offline event online. Today, it is easy to replace offline events with online events. All you have to do is learn a new way to do it. You can learn all about necessary skills, frameworks, tools and etc in our ‘Digital event series’. From organizing events online to managing online events, we are here to inform you.
The Impact of the Coronavirus in the Event Industry
The impact of the coronavirus on the event industry appears to be a catalyst of a significant shift in the industry. The global pandemic has sparked innovation and creativity in the event sphere. Yes, the event industry has suffered economic losses, and many event planners were not ready to deal with the crisis. For example, just in the Netherlands alone, a total revenue loss of 3.490 million euros was reported in March 2020. This amount accounted for about 47% of the initially expected revenue before the impact of the coronavirus. Now imagine the impact around the world, the numbers are surely significant.
Despite this, there has been a technological movement to replace offline events with online events. The crisis has forced software developers to create seamless digital platforms to live stream events online. While the monetary losses may be significant, the event industry is making a comeback with online events.
However, people don’t want to attend offline events. Just in the United States alone, 27% of surveyed Americans reported in March 2020 that they would feel more comfortable waiting even more than six months before attending concerts again. With that in mind, any other kind of offline event turned into an online event might have a harder time asking attendees to pay to attend.
Online Events and Offline Events, What’s the Big Difference?
Besides the obvious that you can attend offline events in person and only virtually participate in online events, these two are quite different, but not really. After all, a planned offline event can become an online event.
Online events are also known as virtual events or digital events. Just as actual events, there is a specified date, time, plan, and schedule for online events. However, the event itself takes place in a virtual space rather than a physical one. An online event is also accessible by anyone with permission from any part of the world. In general, online events can include events as small as webinars and as big as an entire conference or exhibition.
When it comes to offline events, these events require a physical space where the attendees, guest speakers, and everyone involved is physically present. Also, physical materials and hired staff are necessary to run a proper offline event.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, event planners are making the transition from offline events to online events. Attendees, as a result, now go to digital events instead of offline events. The trend is growing. Plus, it is much safer for everyone to attend virtual events rather than offline events. In general, events are social gatherings for people to come together and interact with a purpose in mind. Indeed, people can freely interact with others in an offline event; it’s more lively and natural. But online events are not staying behind. Through interactive platforms, online events provide opportunities for people to interact, engage, network as well.
What do You Need for an Online Event?
To plan an event online, you will need several things. You will need good event management software you can trust, effective marketing on social media, and a lot of involvement during the process.
There are various tools you can choose to use in the realm of online event management software. It all just matters what kind of online event you are planning to organize. If you are curious to know what would be the best event management software for your online event, get some insights in this comparison table and find the best tools for your needs. Finding the next best software that will fit your needs is essential to execute a successful online event.
As for equipment, to live stream an online event, you need a setup that consists of a video source, audio source, encoder, stable internet connection, and a reliable streaming platform for output. While the quality of the equipment is essential, the streaming platform you choose truly outweighs the rest. It is also crucial to know how to stream an online event properly.
And lastly, what you need the most is an active social media marketing campaign. Set up a fan page, starts online conversations, make posts, create hashtags, and promotional digital content. In social media, the term sharing is caring is more accurate than ever. If you care about your online event, and you are looking to attract a wider audience, share, share, and share content. Besides, you will most likely be using a social media platform to live stream your online event.
What You Should Share With Your Event Attendees
Keeping your attendees happy is vital. Think about it; unhappy attendees will most likely virtually leave your online event. It is much easier to exit an online event than an actual event.
In an online event, you have to make sure the attendees are pleased, entertained, and engaged. You can do this in several ways. First and foremost, have a plan and a schedule ready to go. Know your audience, know whose attention you are looking to get. Create contests, polls, quizzes, and other virtual activities where your attendees can participate.
Keep in mind that people, especially attendees, love to feel involved in the event they attend. Allowing them to be a part of a live Q&A panel is a great way to get them involved. Share as much content and access as you can with your attendees. If needed, even share ongoing access to the presentations of the event. Some attendees might come in late or would probably like to watch some of the online events again.
How to Invite Your Audience
Before you plan your event online, one important thing to think about is the kind of experience you hope to deliver to your attendees. What is the incentive for your audience to attend? In other words, how can you get people to visit your online event? It is all about determining a selling point that your online event has to offer to attendees. It is also essential to decide whether your online event will be free entry or gated.
When you think about inviting your audience, consider the benefits of having a pre-registration option for your online event. When people pre-register for your event, they can receive notifications of any changes and what the online event will feature. Plus, you will have an idea of how many will attend the online event, and you will also have access to useful data. Setting up pre-registration will surely avail you in inviting your audience.
Another thing to think about in inviting your audience is how you will promote your event. Consider where, how, and what content you will promote online to get your audience interested in attending. Share the event details by email and, especially, on social media. If you want to run ads, deliver them with your target audience in mind. Think about your selling point. What will your online event offer to those who attend? Is it a noteworthy guest speaker, an opportunity to network, a chance to learn a new skill, or all three? Whatever it is, this is what you will use to take advantage of the social media tools available to disseminate your online event. You can also create a countdown for your online event on social media outlets, such as Instagram stories and Facebook event pages. Listing your event on the external event calendars is also helpful in getting more exposure. And lastly, don’t forget the importance of having a virtual event page ready to show your audience where they need to go to attend the online event. All in all, this is how you can invite your audience to your online event.
Managing Your Event Speakers
At first, your event speakers might not be so thrilled about your offline event going online. It is understandable; the transition will most likely be a revenue loss for the event planner and speakers alike.
So what can you do? Accept the reality first, and then let your event speakers know that their prestige and reputation can still benefit from online events. It’s an excellent opportunity for your speakers because they will be able to reach a larger audience online; more exposure equals more popularity.
Nonetheless, give them the option to prepare their presentations themselves. You can also provide the speakers with presentation guidelines to make sure their talks stay relevant to the theme of your online event. The point is to give them more freedom to prepare their content if they like, rather than forcing them to do an interview-type-of-presentation. Also remember, that virtual events allow you to pre-record speakers’ presentations, in case they can join your event in real-time. You want happy speakers, and if possible, you will be able to attract more since you will be taking it online. Take advantage of this opportunity.
Preparing Your Event Speakers for an Online Event
With online events, many app features are available for use. Getting your event speakers to become familiar with these event app features is the first thing you should do. Especially if you are going to use an online event management system, your speakers should be familiar with how it works before the online event. At first, the event speakers might resist adopting the digital tools to engage with the audience. However, getting your speakers on board to run and facilitate their presentations will make the learning process more comfortable.
It’s essential to be strategic about properly executing the functionality of your online event. You will be better off if the event speakers know when and how to use the tools in the platform. You can also collect questions in advance from your speakers. You can use them to set up polls and enable the attendees to participate. Another thing you can do is to allow your speakers to gain confidence and familiarity with the tools and platform you plan to use for your online event by running a test session. This way, your speakers will be able to run through the software themselves and ask any questions they may have concerning the functionality of the online event software.
Streaming Your Online Event
Luckily, you can choose from several social media platforms to stream your online event. Today we live in a world where teenagers live stream themselves sleeping or their parents’ car parked in the driveway and still manage to attract many viewers. The point is that live video streams are more engaging than regular videos. For online events, this is an excellent opportunity to gain a wider audience.
As of now, reliable social live stream platforms include:
- Instagram Live
- Facebook Live
- LinkedIn Live
- TikTok Live
- Twitter Live
- Youtube Livestream
Most of these platforms allow the attendees to comment in real-time, which would be suitable for Q&As. In time, most of these live stream platforms will develop more interactive features useful for online events.
Your Audience During an Online Event
The goal is to create opportunities for your audience to be more and more engaged. You can do this in several ways. For example, ask your viewers to submit questions or to share content using a hashtag for your online event. If you get your attendees to ask questions, they will stay engaged to see if their questions get answered. You will, of course, need a moderator or facilitator assigned to answering questions.
It is not that difficult to get your audience involved in your online event. Almost every online platform includes interactive features that the participants can use. It is fun to invite your audience to take part in polls or quizzes. You can also encourage live-tweeting and welcome requests and suggestions from your audience. The overall aim is to keep your audience engaged and entertained.
After the Online Event
And at the end of your online event, there are several things you can do to gain a better insight into the success of your online event. You can ask for feedback, run surveys, and analyze data to understand how well your event did. The data collected and feedback will also help you get an idea of how your audience perceived your online event. It is better to know and understand than to just guess and assume the best. Moreover, the data and feedback will also serve you in knowing what to do better on your next online event.
Recorded videos of the event would also please your audience. What better than giving your audience access to review the content they enjoyed. Your audience could find it useful and even possibly share it with others on social media, giving your online event even more exposure ex-post.
GEVME Live for Online Events
GEVME Live is a digital platform built from the ground up for online events. With GEVME Live, you can organize, manage, and stream your online event while interacting with your audience.
The Features and How You Can Benefit
You can benefit from the following useful features in GEVME Live.
- Event Pages allow you to embed your live video stream from any other social media platform. You can also personalize your page with your brand and content.
- Access Control allows only successfully registered attendees to access your secured event page and the live stream of your online event.
- Moderation tools ensure that the discussion during your digital event remains relevant. AI technology enables you to identify content in need of review.
- Reporting lets you know how your viewers interacted with your online event. You can see all the data from check-ins, interactions in chat discussions, and the download of files.
- Admin Console gives you the power to design and manage your online event. With a simple interface, you will find it easy to operate and personalize your online event.
Manage Your Online Event with GEVME
Easily manage your online event with GEVME Live and other well-integrated GEVME platform features:
- Invite your audience with seamless customizable registration pages;
- Send branded event invitations, reminders, and follow-ups with GEVME’s powerful email marketing tool;
- Generate revenue on paid online events by charging attendees during the registration process with GEVME Live.
Moving your offline event online can seem complicated. Especially if you were planning a large-scale conference or meeting, going online can leave you asking more questions than ever before. However, running offline events like this online can reduce costs, reduce carbon footprints, and make attendance accessible to a broader audience, among other benefits.
In any case, the tools available in the digital world can surely help you launch a successful online event. Take advantage of this opportunity, as many offline events will likely continue to transition to online events.