Since March, when the entire world shut down because of the pandemic, event planners have scrambled to adjust to the new normal that was thrown at us. With the social distancing mandates and lockdowns, planners pivoted and began hosting virtual events for their organizations.
Now, finally after so many months, states are beginning to open back up and life is returning to the “old normal.” While many people look forward to attending in-person events once again, there will be those that prefer the virtual setting. They’ve gotten used to the convenience of attending events from the comfort of their home in their sweatpants and they don’t want to go back to traveling, perhaps out of town, for an event.
The bottom line is, if companies want to widen their scope to their target audience, they need to be prepared to offer both types of events: in-person and virtual, creating what is called a hybrid event.
Why Livestreaming Your Event Matters
- Engagement and Interaction
The name of the game is engagement, and livestreaming allows your remote attendees to directly interact with presenters and ask questions or give comments. The importance of providing interactive opportunities to your attendees cannot be overstated.
- Generate Bigger Audiences
An online presence for your event is a way to grow your audience. Livestreaming an event is great advertising for your future events and can generate interest in new participants who may sign up for your next one.
- You Appeal to Younger Audiences
If your organization has always had a harder time targeting Gen Z or Millennials, livestreaming can help. Since younger people spend significant amounts of time on their mobile devices each day, livestreaming your event on social media platforms helps you appeal to these younger prospective attendees who may be interested in what you offer but don’t want to travel to your in-person venue.
- Repurposing for Future Advertising
Livestreaming gives you the opportunity to catch the best moments of your event to promote your next one. Be sure to record your livestream and edit it down to attract new attendees in the future.
- Converting Virtual to Physical Attendees
Most event planners rack their brains trying to figure out how to increase attendance at their in-person corporate events. Livestreaming allows you to build an online community. Those online attendees, once they’ve had a positive interaction with your brand, are apt to convert into paid physical attendees at your next event. How does any extra 25 to 150 attendees at your next event without spending a dime on additional advertising sound to you?
- A Killer ROI
Are you constantly scrambling to find sponsors for your in-person events so you can pay for everything and still make a profit? Well, consider this: It’s not uncommon to need less than 50 virtual attendees to break even. This means generating profits can happen easily through your livestreaming. Imagine how you could enhance your in-person event if you have an extra $25,000 or $50,000 or even more that you’ve generated from your virtual attendees! Without question livestreaming is a revenue generating opportunity for your organization.
- No Lost In-Person Revenue
What normally happens when you have a group of attendees to your in-person event that suddenly have to cancel? You lose thousands of dollars in revenue, that’s what happens! But with livestreaming as a backup, you no longer have to lose thousands in revenue, you can simply switch in-person attendees over to your livestream service and recoup some of that money.
Tips for Livestreaming Your Event
Now you know the WHY of livestreaming, let’s dive into the HOW. Here are some livestreaming best practices to follow for your next event:
- Require Event Registration
Creating a separate registration microsite for your event will help you to track attendee engagement. Depending on the livestreaming platform you use, you will also be able to drive attendance by sending out automated confirmation to registrants, event reminders, thank you emails and information about future events.
- Involve Your IT Team Early
Thanks to ever-evolving technology, it’s easier than ever to livestream corporate events. Having said that, the quality of your network will have a major impact on the quality of your livestream. Involve your IT team early and make sure you fully understand your bandwidth requirements so you can successfully broadcast your event. Be sure that you communicate to your IT team the expected number of attendees to your event as well as the anticipated duration of the event.
- Do a Full Test Run
It’s important that you allow enough time on the day of your event to set up and test all technical equipment including microphones and cameras. Have your IT team keep an eye out for any sound, lighting or encoder issues that arise. Testing beforehand will help to ensure a flawless livestream event.
- Get the Timing Right
Is your audience domestic or international? You’ll need to determine the best time for your event to allow for participation. Certain platforms allow you to record your live event so you can offer it later as an on-demand event. This gives your event an even longer shelf life and allows those in certain time zones the opportunity to attend.
- Hire a Professional Production Company
We mentioned in our last blog post that a professional production company can help you create a polished and entertaining virtual event. But production companies are also great partners for livestreaming your event.
Those speakers who can be prerecorded can go into the studio beforehand. The speakers that need to be live for audience interaction can either be streamed from a professional studio, or a member from the production team can go to each speaker’s location and stream them there. What’s important to mention is that leveraging the skill, expertise and technology of a production company will help your livestream look and sound professional and help keep your remote audience engaged!
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