Now that many of us have transitioned to working from home, we are starting to get used to a new kind of normal. Collaborative tools such as Slack, Teams, Zoom and Google Hangouts have become our new best friends. But this new normal is missing the piece that has been the heart and soul of the economy since the Bronze Age: the marketplace.
The event industry has been the first to take a blow because of the pandemic, with most business events being canceled or postponed until further notice. But events set the tempo for product releases, new business relationships and knowledge sharing. Business cannot continue as normal if we can’t meet new people and develop relationships. A 2018 Harvard Business Review Analytic Services study shows that organizations host an average of 72 events a year. With the COVID-19 pandemic, they are mostly on hold.
Thankfully, new technologies offer a plethora of innovative ways to hold a digital version of your event.
Get the format right.
Think small. Massive events that gather 5,000 people or more over a period of 3 days won’t fly anymore. Break up your event into a number of online sessions, panels and workshops that you can hold in smaller groups over the next few weeks.
Right now is the ideal time to take advantage of formats such as Twitter Q&As, where you set a meeting time with your community and answer their questions for an hour. The theme can be topical (e.g. “How to use our services during the coronavirus”) or AMA (Ask Me Anything).
Internal events can become more collaborative with advanced digital brainstorming tools such as Klaxoon, which is fully compatible with Microsoft Teams.
Explore social media features to promote and host your event.
Now more than ever, social networks are an essential component of your marketing efforts to promote digital events. Facebook and YouTube offer live video options with no participant limit.
Send the link in advance to your community by email, and create a Facebook Event or a Facebook Group dedicated to your brand, product or services. Facebook allows you to invite all the members of your Group to your live session in one click.
This creates opportunities for all types of businesses, including those that typically don’t invest in event marketing, such as family-owned restaurants. For instance, why not create your own daily cooking show on Facebook Live to boost online orders?