It is becoming more and more imperative for professionals to have a strong web presence in the modern business world. We’ve also found that networking events are effective in building connections within your industry and increasing visibility.
While attending in-person networking events can be very beneficial, not everyone has access to them. Virtual networking events offer everyone the opportunity to attend these types of gatherings from the comfort of their home or office at a time that suits them best.
The purpose of this article is to detail how you can host a virtual networking event that will help you build stronger relationships with your clients and colleagues while simultaneously promoting your brand online. By following a few simple guidelines before, during, and after your event, you can effectively connect with your audience and grow your business.
Before the event
1. Choose a date, time and platform to organize your event. Most virtual networking events take place on LinkedIn or Twitter, as both are widely used by professionals in most industries. You also need to decide if you want to broadcast your event live or pre-record it so people can watch it later.
If this will be broadcast live, consider using YouTube Live or Ustream for hosting as they have built-in chat rooms. If not, select a specific time and day to host your event so interested connections can plan accordingly.
2. Send out an announcement at least a week in advance letting people know the details of the event, including its title, what to expect at the event, the time and date of the event , the platform you will be using for hosting , your username on that platform and whether or not it will be registered if it is available.
3. Consider giving attendees an incentive to help increase interest in your virtual networking event. You can do this by offering a product or service relevant, if any, to your business niche or something else that is valuable to potential customers, such as access to exclusive content created exclusively for attendees. the event.
4. Promote your online networking events through social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn groups related to your industry. Include links in every email you send about the event to share it with their connections. Consider creating ads for the event on Facebook to get more views.
5. Promote your real-life networking events by printing flyers or cards with information about the event, including its date, time, platform, and your username on that platform. Hand them out at local networking events so people can easily connect with you through your virtual event.
You can also distribute them to local marketing agencies who might be willing to share them with their clients if they want to learn more about creating a professional online presence.
6. Get attendee feedback after the event is over by sending out a survey asking for their feedback on the event via email or social media messaging. Find out what was appreciated, what could be improved, whether attendees felt they were getting enough value from it, and how they could be better reached in the future.
During the event
1. Periodically check your social media profiles to see who is joining your event as an audience member. If you want to promote your event even more, consider running a giveaway every hour or half hour with prizes such as free products or services for those who answer correctly first (consider doing this via Twitter and launch a poll on hashtags).
2. Connect with viewers as often as possible by sharing helpful information on networking tips and advice, industry news, and other related topics. This increases the visibility of your online presence while familiarizing you with potential customers over time.
You should especially interact live during all Q&A sessions, as this is the perfect time to answer questions from the audience and immediately address any issues.
3. When you’re ready to hold your Q&A session, start by letting everyone in the event know what the topic is in advance, so they know what to expect.
You can do this via a live stream or in pre-recorded videos, but make sure all your viewers clearly understand what the Q&A session is about beforehand, as it helps them connect and engage. interest immediately. Also take advantage of this time to promote other events that you may organize later.
4. Answer as many questions as you can during your Q&A session while sharing useful information with people just watching online. If multiple people are asking questions, start with the person online, then move on to those asking questions via social media.
You should also talk about your business and how you can help people during this time.
5. Promote your business at least once during the session by including a link to your website or other marketing platforms such as YouTube or Vimeo where people can visit to learn more about what you do.
It draws attention to yourself and encourages people watching from home to check out your work, driving them into the marketing funnel of potential clients.
6. “Thank you!” message for all who were able to attend and say goodbye at the end of the event. You can do it live or pre-record it.
After the event
1. Write a blog post about your event, share it through all the social media channels you use, and include photos taken during the live portion of the program or other relevant information that attendees would find useful.
2. Create an infographic that includes some stats you learned at your virtual networking events, like who could take advantage of your free offer and something more general like the number of attendees who contacted you online after the fact.
You can create it using Canva or another website with infographic templates. Just include company logos that show your brand awareness while showing how that number compares to last month’s stats (or other specific dates/times).
As always, if you can’t find these graphics, you can always ask your designer if they can create one for you.
3. Download the video recording of your event for later use, as it’s a great way to show potential customers the kind of advice and information you share to get them interested in what you do. Along with sharing it on your social media platforms, consider uploading it to YouTube or another place where people can find it.
You can also make it available only to customers who register via email (to protect yourself) and include links in places like blog posts to provide additional information about yourself.
4. Consider creating an e-book with all kinds of tips and advice shared at the networking event and other useful information. You can distribute this eBook through your email newsletter and any other marketing channels you use so that it is available to people who may not have been able to attend.
If you need help, ask your SEO and email marketing experts if they would be willing to create one for you.
5. Pair all those post-event promotions with thank you messages where you let everyone know that their comments and questions are helpful and appreciated.
Virtual events allow companies to share their knowledge with a large audience without showing up in an office or work area, saving time, money and other hassles in hosting seminars or live webinars.
Virtual networking events are great since the focus is on the online attendees, not the presenters. By offering an incentive (like a free offer), people will be more likely to pay attention and be more willing to sign up for future emails or newsletters you send out afterwards.
After hosting an event, be sure to thank everyone who participated and those who reached out on social media such as Twitter and other platforms.
In addition to giving them positive feedback, consider sharing information about yourself, such as company stats that show how many people were interested enough in your virtual networking event to check out what your company is doing.
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