5 Ways to Host A Virtual Event For Your Business
Looking for some fresh virtual event ideas to bring your community together? We’ve got you covered.
With virtual events on the rise, the opportunities are endless with so many platforms to choose from — whether it’s a weekly Instagram Live series, or a one-time private Zoom chat.
In this blog post, we’ll share 5 virtual event ideas and how you can use them to connect with your community and increase engagement:
Table of Contents:
- Why You Should Host a Virtual Event
- Instagram Live
- Zoom Chats
- Facebook Live
- Facebook Messenger Rooms
- LinkedIn Live
Why You Should Host a Virtual Event
In 2020, virtual events are where it’s at. We may not be able to come together IRL right now, you can still connect with your community — although differently.
So how do you jump on this buzzy trend?
Begin by brainstorming virtual event ideas and your goals. Are you looking to educate your audience? Host a Q&A? Promote your latest product?
Once you’ve defined your purpose, you can begin planning the roll out. And as a physical location isn’t an issue, virtual events give you the ability to bring everyone in your community together, from all over the globe.
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*New Date* Join us Tuesday July 7th from 6-7pm for a creatively charged conversation hosted by @arcteryxtoronto, moderated by us, with guest @ben_johnston. We’ll be chatting about how artists can use their mediums as a voice for change and empowerment. We’ll also be exploring ways we can work to promote inclusivity in the arts, Ben’s recent initiatives with The Remix Project, and guidance on building a successful career as an artist – whether you’re just starting out or want to take the next step. This conversation will be held via Zoom (link in bio to register). Admission is free of charge, and we will be accepting optimal donations the day of the talk for @nellies_shelter ❤️ Hope to see you there friends.
One thing to consider? Time zones. If half of your audience is in EST and the other in PST, it may be a struggle to get everyone connected at the same time.
But, with a little time-zone jenga and the benefits of screen recording and saving, you’ll be able to include and cater to your entire community. Just let your audience know a recording will be shared post-event.
Another added benefit? It’s cost-efficient. When planning a virtual event, you can limit (or exclude) budget for venue rentals, food vendors, decorations, and more.
Plus, this means there’s an opportunity for tickets to be cheaper (or even free) for attendees — making it a serious selling point!
Missed out on LaterCon 2020? Don’t worry, you can watch the full replay with all 25+ expert speakers here.
Virtual Event Ideas #1: Host Regular Instagram Live Sessions
Instagram Live has become a popular hub for brands and businesses alike. It’s an incredible way to connect with your community and the virtual event options are endless.
With Instagram Live, there is no redo or option to pre-record segments — everything happens live and on the spot.
While it may sound scary, this platform works for a number of different virtual events. Let’s get into them.
Instagram Live: Q&As
Instagram Lives are a great opportunity to host a Q&A series with guests your community would be interested in hearing from. You can source questions from your audience prior to the event, and allow questions to be asked during the livestream.
Take Well+Good’s new Glowing Live with Latham series. They partnered with doula and author, Latham Thomas, to host a show where she speaks with various people in the wellness industry who are working to create change.
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We've got news! ???? We're so excited to announce our new Instagram Live show, Glowing Live with Latham, featuring doula, wellness maven, and author of Own Your Glow, Latham Thomas, aka @glowmaven! ???? Tune in each month as Latham speaks with luminaries from across the wellness industry who are working to create change and promote radical healing for their communities. These soulful live discussions will give you a peek into their personal self-care routines and rituals while also shining a light on the health disparities and inequities that prevent many people from living their most well lives. And it all starts this Friday, August 21 at 1 P.M. ET with a super special guest! ???? Let us know who you would want to see on the show in the comments below! #iamwellandgood #glowinglivewithlatham
Not only is the series perfect for Well+Good’s community of wellness-lovers, but it creates a regular cadence of content their audience will come to expect.
You can also share posts leading up to the live to build excitement and share additional information — such as announcing who the guest will be.
TIP: Remember, quality over quantity. If you don’t have the bandwidth to create a weekly series, that’s okay! It can be monthly or quarterly — as long as it’s consistent and you promote it.
Instagram Live: Concerts & Fun Battles
Just because we can’t come together to enjoy music in person doesn’t mean you can’t facilitate that same energy online!
If it’s on-brand for your business, why not host a live concert or battle on Instagram Live?
Verzuz TV rose to prominence during the COVID-19 quarantine, and pairs up prominent producers, singers, or songwriters to compete and see who has the better catalog. The battles are so popular that they receive millions of views.
Why does it work? Because it gives fans the opportunity to attend a battle between some of their favorite artists, engage with each other in the comments, sing-a-long at home, and eagerly anticipate the next one.
Likewise, a restaurant could “pit” two chefs together and host the ultimate cook-off by challenging them to create a dish using the same ingredients.
The audience would be encouraged to watch and vote for their favorite in the comments. And who knows? Maybe they’ll create a new dish for the menu in process. It’s a win-win.
Friendly competition is a great way to make your community feel like they’re involved and takes a simple Instagram Live to the next level.
Instagram Live: How-to’s & Demos
Bring your audience together and walk them through a demonstration or tutorial on Instagram Live.
This can be anything from a makeup tutorial to explaining how-to bake the perfect sugar cookies — the options are endless.
That Cheese Plate does an incredible job at captivating their audience on Instagram Live with their series, “That Happy Hour.”
In the series, they invite different guests to chat and create an amazing spread of cheese, meats, and fruit.
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Looking for a fun Mother’s Day weekend activity? Hosting another edition of #ThatHappyHour on Instagram Live this Saturday at 5pm ???? I’m teaming up with my mom, Ellen Mullen, for a very fun episode. She’ll be teaching a mason jar flower arrangement tutorial and an easy vodka cocktail recipe. I’ll be making a cheese plate with @wisconsincheese to tie it all together! I’ve learned so much about entertaining and aesthetics from my mom, so you’ll see where I got it from ???? You can find stores to order @wisconsincheese with the link in my bio. Join us with your moms, kids, friends, or anyone else you love! #ThatCheesePlate
To engage with their followers, they release the ingredients beforehand so their community can follow along in their kitchens at home.
Hosting a how-to on Instagram Live creates an additional layer of connection between you and your audience as they’re able to put a face to your brand’s name and learn something new in the process.
Virtual Event Ideas #2: Host a Private Zoom Chat
As a leader in video conferencing, Zoom offers businesses the ability to host all kinds of virtual events, like webinars, demos, classes, Q&As, courses, and more.
Plus, thanks to the ability to set a password to enter the call, you can easily moderate the event and maintain exclusivity.
Wellness company, The Villij frequently hosts “Villij Talks” where they interview nutritionists, therapists, and more on Zoom.
They use Instagram to promote the chat, encourage their community to RSVP, and include relevant information such as the time.
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Are you wondering how to navigate detox, plant-based eating or supplements? Or maybe you’re exploring food as healing. Well, this #villijtalk is for you. The Villij Co-Founder, Shanelle, joins Sadé Thomasos, a Certified Holistic Nutritionist for a conversation on holistic nutrition. You’ll come away with a deeper understanding of how to support your health through nutrition.???????????? Click the link in our bio to RSVP. #thevillij #nutrition #wellness #plantbased #holistic
Post-event, they share a recap on their Instagram feed for those who may have missed it. Not only is it a creative way of repurposing event content, but it also incorporates the carousel feature, which makes it highly shareable — increasing engagement and reach:
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Nutrition is a topic that we don’t speak enough about in our communities. So, let’s start the conversion. Recently, we had a chance to speak to @sadethomasosnutrition , a Registered Holistic Nutritionist from Vancouver, BC. Together we uncovered 5 amazing takeaways to help us along our journey towards healthy eating. ???????????? Let us know below what you’ve been doing to invest in your nutritional health ???????????????????????????????? #thevillij #villijtalk #nutrition #balanceddiet
Another way to host an exclusive virtual event on Zoom is to have a limited number of attendees, like skincare expert Chanel Tyler.
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SKINFORMATION CLASS is now in session! ???? Join me on Zoom to learn the key elements to glowing skin including how to build a proper routine and all the skincare basics! The first class will be offered on Saturday, August 29th @ 11am EST, only 30 slots will be available. All registrants will be entered into a luxury skincare giveaway, the winner will be selected at random and announced after class on my IG Stories! To register you must sign up [link in bio] and pay a course fee of $25. You are only registered after you’ve paid for the course, payment can be made via Venmo or Zelle (make sure you include your registration email in the note for the payment). The course is recommended for beginner and intermediate skincare lovers. **the course is non-refundable, no exceptions Let’s glow! ???????????? CLASS IS FULL! Registration is Closed! Stay tuned for more class dates, thank you to everyone who registered!
Chanel’s “Skinformation Class,” a 1-hour skincare and routine educational course, is a small and intimate virtual event — only open to 30 attendees.
The small class size allows for deeper connections and conversations with her community, and as its popularity grows, she can host multiple smaller-sized virtual events throughout the month.
TIP: Start small to get a pulse check on your community’s interest in the virtual event. If tickets sell quickly, you’ll know you’re onto a winner!
Virtual Event Ideas #3: Go Live with Your Facebook Community
Similar to Instagram, Facebook Lives are a great platform to host your next virtual event.
You can use Facebook Live for Q&As and demos, but you can also use it for hosting quizzes.
LiveReacting is a paid integration tool that lets you add interactive elements and graphics to your Facebook Live — including personalized quizzes.
Rakuten Kobo used Facebook Live to host “Kobo Live Book Quiz” events. Each Facebook Live featured a different book-related theme, and audience members competed for a chance to win a gift card or eReader.
Quizzes are perfect for increasing engagement on your Facebook page. Not only does the competition aspect encourage your community to get involved, but the addition of a giveaway ups the ante and allows you to subtly promote your product and its benefits.
You could also offer a promo code at the end of the quiz to those who played until the very end — it’s a nice way to say thank you and convert attendees into customers.
Virtual Event Ideas #4: Connect with Your Community in Facebook Messenger Rooms
Earlier this year, Facebook launched Facebook Messenger Rooms, a new way for brands and businesses to connect with their community.
Think of it as an informal conference call with up to 50 people at once (and no time limit!).
What makes Facebook Messenger Rooms different from Facebook Live is that you can have a more intimate conversation.
For example, a fitness studio could invite new members to a Messenger Room — allowing them to meet each other, ask their favorite boxing instructor questions, and start building “face-to-face” interactions before the studio re-opens.
Another benefit of using Facebook Messenger Rooms? It isn’t exclusive to Facebook users. You can also invite people who use WhatsApp, Messenger, or Instagram — all they need is the room link.
Rather than driving traffic to a video app, like Zoom, your community can join from platforms they’re already familiar with, and comfortable using.
TIP: Add an additional layer of fun by encouraging attendees to use augmented reality filters — or better yet, create your own specifically for the event.
Virtual Event Ideas #5: Humanize Your Brand with LinkedIn Live
In 2019, LinkedIn announced its newest way to build brand awareness and engage with your audience: Linkedin Live.
According to the platform, LinkedIn Live videos get on average 24x more comments than native videos produced by the same brand.
Businesses could use LinkedIn Live to announce products, show behind-the-scenes content, or hold Q&As with their CEO and other executives.
Last year, tech company Cisco used LinkedIn Live to interview employees about career tips and why they loved the company.
Spotlighting employees humanizes your brand and raises awareness about your corporate culture. Not only that but job seekers gain valuable insight into the skills you’d be looking for.
Another way to humanize your brand? A LinkedIn Live series.
Featuring a different employee every episode, they could talk about their career journey, missteps, successes, and answer questions.
It will position them as industry experts, and differentiate your business from others in the industry.
TIP: LinkedIn is still piloting live video streaming, so before you start planning, remember to fill out an application form and request access to become a broadcaster.
If you’re thinking of planning a virtual event, these virtual event ideas can be the starting point to your brainstorm session!
Whether it’s hosting a tutorial on Instagram Live or using Zoom for a private Q&A conversation, virtual events can help you connect with your community in a cost-efficient way.
Have you attended a fun virtual event this year? We’re all ears — talk to us on Later’s Instagram account.
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