Virtual events have increased in popularity by 35% from 2020. With the onset of pandemic, virtual events are the new norm. Many companies have extended their digital marketing efforts to include promotion of events like webinars, participation in online events, and virtual seminars or meetups. Marketers need to look at promoting in a holistic way by including pre, post and during event. Communicating about event prior to the event create visibility and drives registration. While promoting event post the culmination, can build pre-sales for the brand. With plenty of virtual events occurring across the globe, ensuring the audience stays on is difficult. Embracing social media marketing, brands can create an integrated communication plan to generate maximum conversions from the virtual event.
Why virtual events are on the rise
While virtual events peaked post pandemic, the upward trend continues to spiral in 2022. A survey by Kaltura showed at least 48% of organizations planned to host more virtual events. Despite the restrictions being lifted off by many countries, virtual events continue to be priority amongst the organizations. Let’s dive into some of these reasons:
Virtual events are devoid of the logistics that create hassles to the attendees. These include travel arrangements, hotel reservations, visas, getting a parking lot. Attendees can join the sessions basis their availability than being occupied for the day. Event the event organizers can conveniently plan the event in weeks advance than months.
Audiences feel more connected to virtual events than physical. The speakers addressing the sessions from their home are more relaxed and more intimate compared to an official setup. Event organizers can leverage technology to drive more personalized experiences which triggers positive interactions with the audience. As the audience is attending from their home or from their preferred location, they are more comfortable hence more engaged and attentive.
Cost-efficiency is the paramount driver of virtual events. The event organizers are exempted from paying for speaker’s travel, hotel, venue management, and the food and beverage management. Since the events are online, the speakers charge less for virtual events are compared to physical events. The cost beneficence is extended to the audience as well who pay less for attending an online event than physical.
With interactive and immersive technology like AR and VR, audiences find themselves to be engaging more with product demos. Companies adopt to various innovative formats like using Avatars for Q&As, Hologram projections and 3D animations to drive their messaging. Audiences may not be able to leverage the networking capabilities of physical event, but certainly seem to be enjoying the engaging content.
Now that these are the reasons that make virtual events more lucrative, let’s find how can they be promoted.
How to promote virtual events on social media
Integrating a social media plan covering the pre, during and post-event can not only help in building awareness but also drive registrations. After identifying the ideal social media platforms for promotion, including the platforms specialized features can help in differentiating the brand.
Organic social media functionalities
Every platform offers specific features which brands can exploit to amplify their events. Though LinkedIn is the preferred medium for B2B companies, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube too have certain features which can be included in the promotions of social media.
70% of Instagram users watch stories daily, while 36% of businesses use stories to promote their offerings. With the rising popularity of the stories, brands can include stories as teasers alongside the event’s registration link. The more the frequency and the engaging content, the better the awareness and the registrations.
With 1 Billion+ app users of Instagram, tremendous opportunity lies for businesses to attract the audience for their events using countdown. Announcing a timer for the online events as stories on Instagram stories can build excitement amongst the audience.
Facebook remains to be a leader of social media platform. Facebook gives businesses an opportunity to create an Event on their page with details around the event. Attendees that RSVP via Facebook are notified automatically and their network can also see the event on their feed. Companies also have the option to boost the event amongst their target audience and drive relevant attendance.
Though there are professional event platforms that offer end-to-end solutions from registration management to hosting, Live Streams are a cost-effective option for brands focusing on the casual tone. Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn offer Live Streaming option that can build awareness, conversation and help in driving leads. Live stream events can be promoted via platform advertising networks as well.
Posts with the right hashtags drive engagement across social media platforms. Leveraging daily trending hashtags brands can track the buzz around the event, identify influencers engaging with the event and amplifying the conversations, and the sentiment of the event pre, during and post-event. Brands can create event specific hashtags by combining their brand name, primary USP, and target audience.
Harness the power of influencers active in your niche by collaborating with them. Influencer collaborations can provide access to newer communities and build credibility for brands. Influencers can promote the event by publishing on their walls or creating a co-branded video and promoting the event, which is published in different formats like stories, videos, reels on their wall. Tying up with the right mix of influencers can amplify your virtual reach and drive the registrations
Paid Social Advertising
While organic platform features are suited to your followers, paid ads can widen the reach for your event with new audiences. Including paid social media advertising for your virtual event marketing enables you to target your audience. Brands can select ads based on pay-per-click, conversion, impressions, or website traffic. Remarketing plays a crucial when the event is time-bound converting the previously engaged users, retargeting users who have visited event landing page but not registered. Optimizing with A/B testing, analysing which ad formats delivers better ROI can generate event registrations.
Participate in Groups
LinkedIn and Facebook have groups with your target audience. Promoting the virtual event in these groups with a series of educational, informational, and insightful posts that highlight the value the attendees derive can drive traction for virtual events.
Incentivize the participants by offering deals for your product or services that are never seen on the open market. The participants can be lured into signing up for the event and product demos with these giveaways and nurtured thereafter into potential sales prospects.
When the event has culminated, there lies an opportunity to nurture the attendees, target prospects, re-engage with the missed audience. Brands can adopt social media in post-event promotion by repackaging and repurposing the content generated during the event. The content can be packaged as video bytes, LinkedIn Long-forms, blogs, Vlogs, using a gated content strategy. This can generate leads, build network, and create sales pipeline for the business.
As virtual events continue to become more of the norm, social media marketing can drive awareness, event registrations, nurturing the leads and generating pipeline for the business. Brands should adopt the above trends and keep monitoring the platform updates as they roll out features to boost Live-Event formats.
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A perfectly crafted story empowers your brand to stand apart from the rest. At DGsaga, we expertise in creating digital experiences. DGsaga is a strategic digital consulting agency that expertises in amplifying your story on digital channels.