The tools to power virtual events are readily available and home-bound employees are quickly becoming adept at using them. Live streaming and video conferencing are the most common. The key to creating a successful virtual event is how you use these platforms and ancillary technologies, pair them with great content and promote the event to drive participation.
- Live streaming–Platforms like LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook Live and Workplace or VIMEO Enterprise are best considered for sharing information from a few select presenters and viewed by small to large group (20 –1,000+ of participants).
- Video conference –There are many options for hosting a video conference or a webinar including: Zoom, WebEx, GoToMeeting, Join.me and Google Hang Out. These platforms are best for creating a more intimate exchange and an active
Keep in mind, your company may already have existing relationships with providers and/or your company’s technical ecosystem may also have features and functions that can be utilized. Below are a few examples of how virtual events and digital tools could be utilized.
Major Industry or Partner Events
Scenario: A major partner/customer event has been cancelled.
- Customer summit – Host a single-day event with live steamed keynote presentations followed by traditional summit-type meetings. If you had planned for a special celebrity or guest still include them in your agenda –fun and entertaining content is always appreciated. A meeting app or chatbot can be developed for an additional level of audience engagement (curation of news, event details, one-to-one sidebar discussions, polling, etc.)
- Breakout sessions
– Plan a series of meetings that are either live streamed or pre-recorded. Meetings with executives, product teams and sales leader would happen virtually through platforms like Zoom and Skype.
- Training session
– Update your teams and sales force with on product demos, training sessions about new systems or completion of certifications. In lieu of in-person exchanges, animated or recorded demos can be created and e-learning platforms can be utilized.
- Trade Show
– Develop a virtual gathering of vendors and partners in a private digital-environment where they can share their latest offerings and news through editorial content or more immersive experiences. These solutions can range from off-the-shelf to highly customized offerings –it really is dependent on goals, objectives as well as lead time to accommodate production.
- Limit content availability to encourage attendance and participation
- Use social and email to promote event –for large events,partnerships (LinkedIn or Twitter) can be established to tailor and target messaging and for smaller events private groups can be developed to keep attendees informed and excited.
Big Announcement or Product Launch
Scenario: an important business announcement is needed and in-person meetings are not possible at this time.
- Digital press conference –
tactics could include virtually assembling media and company leadership using a video conferencing platform such as Zoom or Skype. Additionally, supplemental content could be developed and hosted on a bespoke microsite or company website to add additional dimension to announcement.
- Product demos (recorded or animated) can be produced in advance.
- Editorial, Q&As, videos, infographics, etc. can also be provided at this
- One-on-one media appointments with your company spokesperson and/or topic experts. Zoom can also be used for these meetings.
- Virtual Expert panels and roundtables –
produce a virtual discussion with experts, executive leaders, media representatives and/or influencers in order to facilitate information exchange or sharing company POV. This can also be done through any video conference platform: Zoom, Skpe or Google Hangout.
Scenario: a planned department or division offsite meeting was cancelled.
- Keynote Presentation
– Host a virtual presentation from a company speaker on timely subjects. Ensure the presentation is dynamic with visually appealing materials that engage and encourage audience participation. You can have split-screen technology or application to switch between the speaker and the keynote, helping maintain a high level of engagement.
- Outside Expert(s) – Bring in an external speaker to provide expertise on a specific topic and to give a third-party point-of- This could be a moderated panel discussion between two to four people for an optimal experience. Depending on the size of the meeting you could also have a Q&A session through a shared chat panel or live questions through video conference platform.
– Deliver educational content to your teams on a webinar platform where presentation can be shared by one or more panelists with a large group of people making sure all engagement functionalities are being used, such as live polling and prompted questions to the audience for added participation. Similar to the above (under Industry/Partner Event) virtual training presentations can be used to supplement e-learning platforms.
- Employees have been sequestered in their homes and likely have been watching and participating in many video-typemeetings, so be sure to factor in times for participation, Q&A and more importantly some fun to avoid screen fatigue.
- If you typically have recognition awards and other acknowledgements, we encourage you to continue presenting them in this forum. Short digital videos or Instagram-like stories could be created as part of the announcements.
– A short-lived series of audio content could be produced and shared with select audiences as means for education and thought leadership. This could feature interviews with leaders, company executives, key customers or employees to address topics ranging from COVID-19 to future product/service endeavors. All content distribution would need to closely consider the timing of release and what is happening in the culture and your company.
- Content production – Digital content can serve as a secondary-stand in for face-to-face interaction and production can be completed remotely as an alternative during this time of travel restrictions. Animation, graphics and sounds design can provide added dimension to content and enhance story telling. If time permits and it’sapplicable to your target audience, an AR or VR could be
- Microsites or existing website
–There are creative means for using digital interfaces to present and share information to small, curated groups or to the public. Custom experiences such as a private and secure microsite can be developed and/or your existing company website can be used depending the on the site’s architecture, content management system and publishing requirements. Either of these options could also feature video cuts from any livestreaming or webinars or other related content like editorial, animation and graphics to tell the full story.