Has your business’s social media presence become ho-hum? Are you fresh out of ideas for creative photos or inspiring images? Then try going live with a digital event.
There are a wide variety of online events you can take part in, from Tweet Chats (or Twitter Chats) to Facebook Live or Instagram Live streaming videos. In this post, we’ll discuss the benefits of digital events for a small business, give you an overview of digital event options, and share some ideas for digital events you can host.
What are Digital Events?
A digital event is any online broadcast usually on social media—that takes place live. Among the most popular formats are Facebook Live videos, Twitter live videos and Instagram live videos. You can also participate in or host Tweet Chats or Reddit forums, which are real-time online chats on a specific topic.
Live digital events are becoming more and more popular. According to TechCrunch, one-fifth of videos shared on Facebook are now live.
Live digital events have many benefits for a small business. Like all kinds of social media marketing, they help promote products or services, build awareness of your business and gain a reputation for thought leadership. However, a live digital event has unique advantages:
- It can generate a sense of excitement and anticipation
- It helps to foster a community with your customers and followers
- It enables real-time interaction with customers
- It offers a sense of authenticity because it’s live
- You get instant responses and feedback from viewers
Ideas for Digital Events
A Tweet Chat or Reddit forum is essentially a Q&A session. For example, you could invite an industry expert to answer questions, or answer questions yourself about your business, product or service. You’ll need a moderator for the event to field questions and manage the flow of interactions (if you’re the one answering the questions, you won’t be able to pay attention to incoming questions at the same time).
Here are some ideas for live videos:
- Go behind the scenes at your business. Give viewers a tour of your brewery or introduce them to your team.
- Hold a demonstration showing viewers how to use one of your products.
- Interview an industry expert on a topic of interest to your customers.
- Live stream an event at your business, like a grand opening for a new location or a fundraiser for a local charity.
- Live stream an event, conference or tradeshow you’re attending. If you’re speaking at an event or moderating a panel, live stream it.
- Promote a sale at your business. Take viewers through your store showing off the hottest selling items or biggest promotional discounts.
Tips for Digital Event Success
- Promote your event in advance. Use email marketing, social media and your business website to spread the word and create anticipation.
- Create a hashtag for your event so people can find it. If you’re hosting a Tweet Chat, you’ll need a unique hashtag to tweet or respond to tweets in the chat.
- Plan ahead. Your event is live, but don’t try to wing it. Facebook recommends Facebook Live videos be a minimum of 10 minutes long—a long time to talk if you don’t have some idea what you’re going to say. Plan a few topics to bring up or questions to get the ball rolling.
- Create a series. For example, hold a Tweet Chat with an industry expert once a month, or live stream a demo of the best-selling products from your store every week. (If you plan to do a series, remind viewers at the end of your video to “follow” you for notifications of future live videos.)
- Engage with viewers. Digital events let you can see exactly how customers are responding in real time. Learn from their questions and comments, and ask some questions of your own.
Once your digital event is over, assess its success, (measure participation, use of hashtags, etc.) and use what you learned to make your next digital event even more effective.
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Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.
Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.
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