Technology continues to drive the way we interact with each other, and something that was once a Sci-Fi dream is now a beneficial medium for communication.
Virtual meetings, summits, and conferences are taking place more often than ever before, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to execute. We all could use advice from someone with first-hand experience. Who better to provide that than Varun Luthra, Customer Service Manager of Grazitti Interactive.
Varun was kind enough to answer a few questions about the successes of their recent virtual summit and the power of well placed social media promotions.
What were some of your initial goals for the virtual summit?
Varun - The (re)Focus Summit, in fact, wasn’t planned as a summit. Initially, we planned to host a panel discussion with two or three community managers. So to invite a few speakers, we posted on LinkedIn. But we got an overwhelming response. There were community experts from around the world who wanted to speak on a whole range of different topics like community incentivization, AI for communities, community psychology, and so much more.
"That’s how Community (re)Focus was born, with the goal to connect like-minded people and just share knowledge and network."
So this response was what got us thinking that there are so many like-minded people who just want to gather, talk, and just share knowledge. That’s how Community (re)Focus was born, with the goal to connect like-minded people and just share knowledge and network.
How far out did you begin planning?
Varun - This was not a planned event [the virtual summit], it actually happened organically. This further deepens Grazitti’s position of leadership in the Community space.
Since this was originally planned as a panel discussion, the first discussion we had was at the end of June. So, 1.5 months, give or take.
How did you plan to gauge success?
Varun - We didn’t rely on any success metric per se, since this was initially planned as a small panel discussion. But with the overwhelming response we received, we did consider the number of sign-ups and the number of attendees as a sign of success.
What was your promotional strategy?
Varun - Our promotional strategy was simple—to create awareness about our event. For this, we used a combination of social media and email campaigns to reach out to a wide audience. Moreover, our speaker and sponsors also played a key role in spreading awareness of our event.
It's one thing to get registrants and another to have follow-through. How did you approach this?
Varun - Part of this event strategy was to promote the event on LinkedIn. This gave us a great way to informally follow-up and build deeper relationships with the attendees. By highlighting speakers and topics regularly, we were able to build interest in the event, along with the immense support from our speakers and sponsors to get the word out and show value in attending.
What is the one thing you wish you knew before setting this event up?
Varun - More about live streaming. Wish we had time to figure out how to multi-cast the event on other social media platforms during key speakers or sessions.
What goals did you accomplish? And were there any unexpected successes?
Varun - The main goal that we accomplished was building our relationship with key influencers, along with building new relationships that have the opportunity to grow on many fronts—customers, partnerships, references, advocates. Along with the new names that we have collected during the lead-up and during the event, we had some of our largest social media engagement numbers of the year.
"One booth had an extensive conversation between a CEO and SVP for two companies, with over 50 others watching on."
One unexpected success was our virtual booths and them being able to have live presentations and group chats over there. One booth had an extensive conversation between a CEO and SVP for two companies, with over 50 others watching on.
What was your biggest takeaway or learning experience from this?
Varun - The speakers at your event matter a lot. Fortunately for us, we had the best and the most knowledgeable speakers at our event.
Did you have a favorite part of the event?
Varun - We loved all the sessions and the engagement from the audience. The chat stream did not stop flowing the whole time.
What other questions would you like answered?
Huge thanks to @VarunGrazitti for taking the time to answer these questions and providing insight on hosting virtual events. I know I still have questions, but I’ll leave that to the community, drop some questions in the comments.
We'd also love to hear more about other successful virtual events, whether it's your company or one that everyone should check out.
Don't forget, Khoros Engage Digital is happening on Oct 14th! We're excited to see all the great discussions!
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