• Lottie Summer

How to host a virtual event!

There is no doubt that we are living through some crazy and uncertain times.

So many industries have been affected by the Covid-19 outbreak and not least the events industry.

With the government banning any gatherings and ordering theatres, pubs and clubs to shut, our livelihoods are at risk of extinction unless we adapt!

So that's exactly what we will do....

So how can we carry on doing what we do best (organising epic events!) during these times? We go virtual!!

Lots of people have already entered the virtual world, hosting quizzes and parties online, live streaming gigs and it's a really great way to socialise, have a bit of a laugh and escape from the doom and gloom.

If you like the idea of hosting an event online, or teaching a class virtually, but aren't sure what to use or how to do it, then hopefully this blog will provide some help:

Instagram and Facebook live!

This is probably one of the more popular methods to use as it's really simple and is also completely free!

Simply log into your Facebook or Instagram accounts and hit the "go live" button. Here, your friends or followers will get a notification to tell them you have gone live and hey presto, you're doing it!

On these live streams, your viewers can comment on the stream and these appear underneath your video for all to see and join in the conversation if they want to.

On Instagram live, your followers are also able to request to be a part of your live video, if you accept, each of your streams will appear side by side and you will be able to have a conversation with them (great if you want to host a panel style event or interview)

As well as this, the time limit for using Facebook and instagram lives is 4 hours on a mobile device so you can host an event without too much of a time constraint...I think people would start to drop off after more than 2 hours though!

You are also able to save the lives after they have finished so people can watch them afterwards even when you have stopped streaming. On instagram, these are only kept for 24 hours.

However, on instagram, you are unable to monitor who view the live (unless you have a private account) so if you are looking to "sell" tickets or monitor who is watching, then you may want to look at Facebook live instead where you have more control over this.

Youtube live

Youtube live is very concept to the Instagram and Facebook live mentioned above.

However, in the free version there is a limit to how regularly you can go live on Youtube. It is not designed for regularly scheduled events (for example a pub quiz every Wednesday at 7). You must schedule every event individually which could be time consuming and not great in terms of trying to market it to your audience (it will make it harder to find)

There can also be a few issues in regards to copyright with YouTube and could mean that your video is stopped or taken down halfway through your stream.

Zoom app

The Zoom app was designed mainly for people working from home to enable them to still be in contact with their colleagues and to host virtual conferences but it's actually turned in to a popular choice during this pandemic for hosting virtual events.

The good thing about it is that you can share your screen with people so they can see what you see, good for things like picture quizzes or website launches.

However, compared to the Facebook and instagram lives, this option does have quite a few drawbacks.

The zoom app has different plans. On the free plan, you are only able to host up to 100 participants and you have a time limit of 40 minutes (not great if you get to the tie breaker question of a quiz and it cuts off just before the answer!)

Also, your viewers have to have the app themselves to be able to view your virtual event...something which might put potential viewers off.

However, this could be a helpful feature if you are selling tickets and want to monitor what guests are tapping into the event.

Zoom app doesn't have the option to record your session, so if you want to save it for future use, you may want to look at another option.

Houseparty app

This app is a particularly good option if you are hosting an invite only party such as a birthday party or if you want to be able to see all of your guests face to face.

Houseparty app allows you to see all of your guests face to face and all chat together. However, you only have the option of 8 people on a call at once, so if you're looking to invite more than this from different households, you may want to choose a different method.

A great feature that the house party app is the option to play fun games during the call.

However, I would say that in terms of actually hosting an event this may not be the best option.

Don't forget, it's an event!

If you are hosting an event such as a launch party, a birthday party or baby shower virtually, it's important not to forget the basics of a good event such as venue design, food etc.

It sounds silly, but with so many people turning to live streaming to cure their boredom, you want to make your event stand out.

Think outside the box, perhaps send out packs to all of your guests with little treats and things they could use at your virtual event (Delivery drivers are doing an incredible job at bringing you the goods safely!) or work on making your background themed and eye catching!

I hope this blog has given you some ideas and info on how you could host a virtual event!

Please leave your feedback in the comments below.

If you'd like to attend a virtual event, then check out Rare events Ridiculous pop culture of 2019 quiz happening on Wednesday (1st April) at 7.30PM and as always, check out our socials:

Facebook: Rare events

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Twitter: Rarecardiff

Lottie X


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