Updated: Feb 8, 2021
Well, it’s 2021, but the dropping of the ball in Times Square has not magically eradicated the world of the virus whose name shall not be mentioned.
Thankfully, many digital platforms used the past year to work behind the scenes to make it easier than ever for business owners and creators to share their work, events, and content online.
What many first-time streamers are learning is that just like an in-person event, to pull off an engaging and meaningful online experience takes strategy, planning, team-work, and a little bit of luck.
Our agency has produced several “live streaming” events from fundraisers to a service of remembrance. In this article, we break down the decisions needed to help your organization plan an engaging event online with that has a similar impact to in person events of creating positive customer memories and returning business for months and years to come.
Pick A Platform:
Use Facebook or Youtube as a platform to live stream your event. Twitter and Linkedin are also options.
Pick A System:
Software: There are many software options to assist with your live streaming needs on the platform of your choice. Good software can help you with things like single-destination RTMP streaming, multiple video sources and layouts, chroma-key (green screen), live switching and custom transitions, and much much more!
For a more in-depth explanation and a list of top-notch options, click here.
Built-In: Use “Premiere” options on Facebook and YouTube. This allows you to upload a pre-recorded and edited video and “premiere” it as a live video. You can schedule the video at a predetermined time and when your video goes live, viewers can then comment in real-time. Facebook & YouTube will favor your “premiere” over a regularly posted video because it is considered “LIVE” content. It will feature a small read “LIVE” sticker in the upper corner as the video premiers, and be organically shown to a wider audience.
Select the Premiere option when uploading a video on Facebook to present it as a live stream.
Create an Event on Facebook
Okay, you figured out where and how you are going to stream your virtual event, now you have to promote it. A great promotional tool for your virtual event is setting up a "Facebook Event" through your business page on Facebook.
Facebook Events are often promoted organically by Facebook itself based on where people live, known interests, and how soon the event is coming up. These events contain all the important details: who, what, when, where, and allow attendees to directly RSVP. Your guests can easily share the event around Facebook, helping you promote it even further. Your Facebook Event guest list becomes almost like a mini "group" allowing you to communicate with attendees by posting updates in your Event, which will show up as notifications to people who have marked interested or attending. Facebook will also automatically send out reminders.
A virtual networking event hosted by a local chamber of commerce promoted via Facebook Event.
Facebook has been updating the reporting side of Events so that administrators can better understand how people are responding to their online events and what promotions are working best.
To increase awareness and buzz about your event, try posting in Stories. Instagram and Facebook are most commonly known for their Stories feature but other platforms like Youtube and Twitter have also jumped on the Stories bandwagon. Be sure to add registration links where possible, and take advantage of the other fun tools the platforms provide. For example, Instagram has a “countdown” feature in their Stories, which can help create hype about your upcoming event.
Don’t forget about hashtags! As we enter 2021 hashtags continue to be a helpful tool. Use relevant hashtags to make your post more discoverable and to increase engagement and followers. According to Later, “A post with at least one Instagram hashtag averages 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag.”
To read more about hashtags, click here.
When all else fails, throw money at it. If you have the budget and are looking to expand your audience and grow your event attendance, run some ads on social media. Depending on the type of engagement your page already has, $25 a week or $50 a week can help you see a nice little jump in your reach.
Remember when running ads or boosting a post to carefully consider who you want to target. If running ads isn't something you've done often, start with the low hanging fruit. Select your audience as "people who like your page and their friends." There is a lot of great content online about how to run ads on social media platforms, and if you are working with an event that addresses jobs, housing, or a special interest group, make sure to carefully read advertising guidelines on your chosen platform.
Facebook & EventBrite Collaboration
In 2019 Facebook launched their collaboration with Eventbrite providing a ticketing feature to the website. Anyone with a Facebook page can create tickets for their event and attendees can purchase their tickets (or register) without ever leaving Facebook. According to Eventbrite, event organizers who use the Facebook integration see 20% more sales for paid tickets and 2x more registrations for free tickets.
Integrate Zoom with your Google Calendar by installing the Zoom for GSuite add-on and make it easy to host, schedule, join, and manage meetings and webinars.
For more information and instructions on installing the Zoom for GSuite add-on, click here.
If you've made it through this entire article, congratulations! You are now fully qualified to run a successful live-streamed virtual event and bless the world with whatever it is you have to offer.
If you are not so sure and would like some further assistance from those who have done this before, please reach out and set up a consult with our team at Beyond The Trend. We've helped all different types of organizations successfully plan, create, and execute events throughout the pandemic. We'd love to help you too. All our contact information is below.
Depending on your event, either email a PDF packet, set up an interactive game the virtual attendees can plan through their screen, or deliver a swag-bag to their office ahead of time!
Little treats like this make a welcome break from what can become a day of draining virtual interaction. Plus, the extra care you showed your attendees will be the thing they remember most and tell all their friends about! #freepromotion