14 Virtual Event Ideas [+ Infographic]
Mar 18, 2020 Angela Trapasso
Event marketing plays a significant role in sales and marketing for many organizations. With events like Apple WWDC, HIMSS and SXSW canceled and the fate of many others uncertain, marketers are trying to determine how to connect with prospects, find ways to leverage the content they’ve already created and, ultimately, meet annual marketing and sales goals with one less (power) tool in their toolbox.
Our advice? Don’t abandon your plans -- just tweak the format. While it’s impossible to replace face-to-face interactions, there are many other ways to connect with your audiences through virtual events. Whether you are putting on a full-scale user conference or planning product demos on the tradeshow floor, we’ve pulled together a number of ideas to help you transition from physical to virtual.
1. Live-stream. Have a product demo or presentation that didn’t see the light of day? Share through a webinar-style event or through Facebook or LinkedIn’s “Live” feature. Create a virtual agenda and announce the event via email, social media and other digital channels to boost participation. Want to encourage sign-ups? Offer to send tchotchkes to the first 50 or 100 people who register!
2. Pre-record content. Not comfortable with live-streaming? Record these ahead of time and host them on a lead-capture landing page and distribute to your audience.
3. Hold a virtual panel. Send out questions to client contacts, journalists and industry experts and compile answers into a designed slideshow with panelist headshots. Gate the content, requiring prospects to sign-up to download.
4. Repurpose virtual meetings/interviews for video content. Record a virtual meeting or interview (with permission) that would have taken place at the event, and edit it to include a branded introduction, graphics, and music to convert it into a professional-looking video. Share on social media, include in blog content and distribute to your email list.
If you build it, they WON’T just come (unfortunately). Planning the logistics of the event is a great first step, but in order to get the most out of your investment, consider the following tactics to boost attendance, audience engagement and extend the value of your content for months to come.
5. Send a pre-event email with details on what to expect, how to join the conversation on social, along with the schedule and links to all social channels. Encourage attendees to use the event hashtag and share photos of where they are tuning in from.
6. Consider an MC if you’re holding a multi-session digital conference, select a “host” on social media guide to people through the day (keynotes and top breakout sessions) so they feel like they are interacting with others. Share Instagram Stories and Twitter Live video of the host giving their highlights from the sessions and ask followers to provide theirs.
7. Use features like LinkedIn Events to generate interest and event attendance among your professional network. The feature also allows you to engage in discussions with the attendees in the event feed. Ask attendees to comment on the session introducing themselves. Mirror the networking opportunities that attendees would’ve leveraged otherwise.
8. Survey attendees if your chosen platform allows. Instagram’s “Ask A Question” feature is a great way to gather questions from followers. Have someone on the executive team or another expert at the company answer them on video during or after the event. Leverage these responses for blog content, media and lead generation content highlighting industry pain points or other topics important to your audiences. This will help boost the credibility of your content and participants will likely amplify it and expand its reach.
Once your event is over, the work shouldn’t stop there. Stay connected to your attendees and promote event content in the following weeks and months to get the most mileage out of your hard work! Consider the following:
9. Email all registrants immediately after the event. Send “sorry we missed you” and “thanks for joining us” emails, introducing them to new content with a clear CTA. Also consider asking for feedback to ensure you can improve next time -- from technical issues, to topics covered and so on.
10. Create a highlight reel of a live-streaming event for those who missed it. This content can also be used as a teaser to drive downloads of any gated, event-related materials.
11. Upload keynotes to YouTube so they can be referenced later and discovered by new audiences. YouTube is the second most popular search engine behind Google, so optimizing the titles of your sessions to align with relevant industry keywords can help boost video views.
12. Use Instagram highlight bubbles to host event clips.
13. Create an end-of-day blog recap with links to YouTube video sessions and the Instagram “Ask a Question” videos of execs. Be sure to include a “join the conversation on social by using the conference hashtag” callout.
14. Repurpose content. Create blog posts from individual sessions answering common questions or pulling out highlights of the transcript. When sharing the posts on social media, be sure to tag the experts to reach their audiences.
Need support promoting your virtual event? We’re here to help! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to share with your networks? Snag the infographic below: