#CurrentStatus Episode 57 is about our unexpected shift to virtual events and what goes into making sure one is successful. Co-hosts Phoummala Schmitt, Theresa Miller, Holly Lehman and guest Jason Keath cover this topic in depth. The pandemic has changed how we do events, attention spans are shorter, virtual social interaction is limited and, in many cases, impossible. So how do we make virtual events work?
Virtual events pivot
If you were caught up in having an in-person event scheduled when COVID hit tough decisions had to be made. Cancel or pivot to a virtual event. Jason Keath with Social Fresh went through this. Their event was typically in person, around 300 people and very personal. They decided to pivot to virtual and it turned into an online event with over 1000 people within a 5 week planning period.
The process started with virtual event ideas
Scaling was the largest challenge and the attendee feedback was amazingly positive. This event covers social marketing for enterprises. The teams that run social with actionable with true measurable results through KPIs through measurable results and conversion.
Virtual events ideas, what made the event successful?
A few hundred free tickets and providing scholarships allowed for more attendees. No travel and took advantage of a broader reach element. The event planners lowered the price by almost 50% and didn’t offer it for free. There was not any negative feedback for charging, and if you are the expert it is ok to charge for these virtual events.
#CurrentStatus Episode and Recording
Happy Hours, can they work virtually?
Yes, for this event they went well. For example they held a larger Patron happy hour where Patron had representation, and they had attendees make the drinks from what was I their panty. The event also brought mixologist to the equation and it created a fun interactive experience.
The second happy hour for this event was based upon a scavenger hunt and then bring it back to the group for sharing? Who has the oldest expired item in their pantry, find an old electronic, etc?
Create groups and rooms with your platform to limit rooms to around 35 to make sure everyone feels involved and a couple people don’t just take over the call. Also have MC’s and moderators to ensure participation.
Be creative to replicate networking and hallway conversations
Is this really achievable? The easiest first thing is to embrace and encourage chat on some platform related to the event. A live chat room, where you can learn where they are from, what they are drinking, etc? Speakers can be live on chat answering questions, which someone is presenting. Include dedicated networking time dedicated to the topic. Gamification and games that people can play is important to create interaction for a successful event.
Virtual events are going to be a huge element of our foreseeable future. Some will cancel, some will fail and hopefully most will succeed. Today we covered many great tips and if you also take the time to review the recording shared above from the live event you will get more ideas around speaker prep, tech support, attendees, digestible content, etc that we didn’t share in this article.
In case you missed it, we also recently covered Is Data Protection needed here.