Moving your business online can be stressful and challenging—especially if the digital landscape is unfamiliar territory. This is the situation many event-based companies are finding themselves in due to the current global health crisis. However, with help from the right tools and strategies, there are many benefits to hosting festivals, conferences, and other types of events virtually.
In this post, we’ll discuss the future of festivals and the benefits of large events shifting toward virtual venues in the wake of Covid-19. Then we’ll share some key tips and tools that can help you reach a wider audience and manage registration. Let’s get started!
Looking Ahead to the Future of Festivals After Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world as we know it, ushering in a new reality for how businesses and individuals view and host social events. Even as quarantine restrictions begin to relax, uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus lingers, and one thing is for sure: digital is the new normal.
The good news is that, although for many it will be an adjustment, hosting virtual festivals and events can be advantageous. For starters, online environments can make it easier to expand your reach and increase ticket sales. People who otherwise wouldn’t have considered your festival due to geographical distance now have an opportunity to ‘attend.’
Virtual attendance was starting to gain momentum even before Covid-19. For example, in 2018, Coachella set a record when it livestreamed Beyonce’s Homecoming on YouTube, generating over 41 million views from around the world.
In addition, virtual festivals can help reduce costs, saving on expenses such as venue rentals, staff, security, etc. Plus, hosting your festival online can also reduce your carbon footprint and help demonstrate social responsibility.
Thanks to social media platforms and technologies, online events can also boost interactions and engagement. For example, offering chat functionality provides ways for attendees to interact with your event, participate in discussions, share feedback and opinions, and more.
Whether it’s a business conference, concert, or another type of virtual event, success hinges on your ability to effectively promote and manage it. For that, there are a handful of strategies and tools you can use.
Promoting Big Online Events to Socially Distanced Audiences (4 Key Tips)
If you’re one of the many businesses looking to move a sizable event online, there are some tools and strategies you can use to make the process of doing so smoother. Let’s take a look at four key tips for promoting online events to socially distanced audiences.
1. Create an Event Hashtag and Leverage Social Media
Social media is a powerful and effective channel for digital marketing, including online event promotion. Regardless of the platform you use to host your virtual festival, there are a plethora of ways you can generate excitement and boost your reach through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other popular networks.
For example, you can implement a countdown timer using Instagram Stories, as well as take requests via polls. Additionally, creating a unique yet relevant hashtag for your online festival can help drum up excitement, spread awareness, and increase engagement. Hashtags are also an effective way to keep event-related content organized across multiple channels.
To come up with an event hashtag, aim to choose one that is simple yet original. You don’t want users to confuse it with other similar hashtags. Websites such as Hashtagify.me can be helpful for brainstorming ideas:
Not only can social media help promote your online event, but it can also be useful for hosting it. Most major social media channels offer a free live video option, including Instagram Live, Facebook Live, and YouTube Stream. These channels enable live commenting so you can see user feedback and discussions in real-time, too.
2. Strategically Choose a Time and Date for Your Online Event
As with any type of event, being strategic about when you host it can influence attendance. A key factor you may want to consider is the time zones your primary audiences are located in.
There are a handful of tools and platforms you can use to learn more about your audience demographics. For example, Instagram Insights provides data including the geographical locations and time zones of your followers. Similarly, Google Analytics can provide detailed reports on your website’s visitors:
If you’re targeting a global audience, choosing a time that works for everyone isn’t really possible. However, you can assess where the majority of your interest is coming from and prioritize those locations.
It’s also smart to consider what other events might be taking place that day, as they could interfere with attendance. For those who can’t view your live streams, consider making the video content accessible to them afterwards, either at a lowered price or for free.
3. Utilize Event Management and Registration Tools
When promoting online events to socially distanced audiences, it’s important to have tools that make event management and registration easier. For example, if you use WordPress, plugins such as Events Manager make it easy for people to register for your event:
When choosing an event management plugin, there are some important factors to keep in mind. In addition to price, you also want to consider which payment gateways and integrations it offers. For example, tools that enable you to use multiple payment methods may increase the likelihood of users signing up for your event.
4. Clearly Communicate the Key Selling Points of Your Virtual Festival
When you’re marketing an online event, it’s essential to include its key selling points in your promotional materials. Potential attendees need to understand what to expect from your virtual festival, as well as what you’ll be doing to make the experience enjoyable, even if it will be different than what they’re used to.
Aim to clearly and concisely communicate not only what the event will consist of and how it will operate, but also what the benefits and takeaways for attendees will be. There are a variety of ways to do this, depending on your preferred platform. For example, you could create a Facebook event page:
Email newsletters with regular updates leading up to the big day can also be effective for building and maintaining interest. If you’re partnering with sponsors or brand ambassadors, encourage them to promote your event on their own channels, too.
Regardless of how you choose to promote your event, it’s critical to link to important resources and registration information interested parties will need access to. The easier you make it for them to purchase tickets, the more likely they are to do so.
Finally, remember that virtual festivals might be just as unfamiliar to your audience as they are to you. Be mindful of those who may be using digital platforms in new ways and provide detailed instructions on how to successfully register for and attend your event.
In the wake of Covid-19, businesses across the world are forced to adopt a new reality that puts digital marketing and operations center stage. Fortunately, with the right tools and strategies, promoting online events and managing virtual festivals can be a smooth, successful process.
Do you have any questions about promoting online events to socially distanced audiences? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pexels