Even before COVID-19 kept us "safer at home," virtual events were an important part of your business' networking strategy. You could meet new people, learn new things, and develop relationships with others from anywhere in the world.
Now more than ever, virtual events are essential for staying connected, generating business, and having some semblance of a social life. While it's fun and often educational to attend events, organizing virtual gatherings is an even better way to up your visibility, showcase your authority in your industry or niche, and make new friends.
Here are the basics of producing a successful virtual event:
1. Determine the Purpose. Before you jump ahead to planning the event itself, decide your reason for having it. Is it a mixer to reconnect with friends, family, or colleagues? Do you want to host a webinar to share your expertise and promote your product or service? Is it a party to celebrate your book's release, a holiday, or other significant event?
2. Decide the Details. Once you know the "why," the rest of the details will fall into place. Choose a date, time, and platform. The top choices are Zoom (for activity and interaction), a webinar solution (like WebEx), or Facebook, where you broadcast a livestream to a group or business page. Another option is to do a virtual party on Facebook and mix up short videos with conversation-starter posts and interactive activities.
You may want to create a panel or conference, and invite other speakers. Or start an ongoing podcast or video show. I will go into that in a later post.
3. Plan and Invite. Once you have your concept, plan it out. Make a short outline of what will happen and when. If you need a script for your event itself, that's fine, but remember to stick with bullet points. When presenting, casual is much more effective.
Create a Facebook event, a meeting in Zoom, and/or an Eventbrite invite, whatever is appropriate. Then, write up your event and post it on your blog, which you - and others - can share via social media. Invite your friends, community, etc., via Facebook, through email, and in social media posts.
4. Produce. If you've done all the planning, your event itself should be a snap. Show up a little early. Greet your guests. And - especially in those mixer situations - keep the conversation going. And remember to have fun!
5. Follow Up. After your event, send a follow-up email to all of your attendees. Thank them for joining you, and also share a little more about who you are, what you do, and how they can connect with you to follow up and/or be notified for future events.
One more thing: After your event, take some time to review what went right and what could have been done better. That way, you can make changes accordingly and plan an even better event in the future.
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Are virtual events one of your 2020 goals? Have you already planned virtual events? Please share your thoughts and experience in the comments.
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Join my virtual half-birthday party for Your Goal Guide on July 14 on Facebook. Details are here.
Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals. A writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of the D*E*B METHOD and Write On Online, Deb works with individuals and businesses to set goals and manage their projects through one-on-one coaching, workshops, and online support. She is also the author of Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages, host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat and #GoalChatLive on Facebook, and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.