B2B Social Media Podcast – Virtual Events & Live Streaming

It’s that time again! The latest episode of B2B Bites Back is out, and this time we were discussing Virtual Events & Live Streaming. In this episode of B2B Bites Back, Luke Brynley-Jones and Helen Sharpe talk us through some of the biggest trends when it comes to B2B events and live streaming, and give us their top tips for running a first-class event. The podcast also features two interviews with B2B marketing experts.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses all over the world to put the brakes on their in-person events, and replace them with virtual ones. This was a huge shift in the status-quo:

  • There has been a 400% increase over the past two years in virtual event platforms.
  • 85% of marketers have held a virtual event in the past year.
  • Marketers expect 40% of the events they attend in 2022 to be virtual, and 35% to be hybrid. 

While we were all in lockdown, virtual events were the only way to go. But now, even though we have the option of meeting in person again, many businesses are still choosing to stick with virtual events.

That’s because holding your event virtually gives you a much wider potential audience, and it is easier for people to attend – no more overnight stays and long travel time, you can just tune in from your office or home wherever you are in the world. 

However, while virtual events are certainly easier to attend, they don’t always hold people’s attention. And that’s the challenge for businesses right now – how do you run a virtual event, that is just as engaging as a personal one?

As Helen Sharpe put it: “Some people are thinking, “actually, I’d rather tune in from home”, but others are missing that and crave that attention. So how can we offer both to everyone?”.

There are other challenges that come with running a virtual event. In episode 3 of B2B Bites Back, Helen and Luke discuss:

  • How do you attract your audience to a virtual event?
  • How do you make your event an experience, rather than just content?
  • How do you engage with virtual attendees?
  • How do you manage lead-gen in a virtual event?

So with those challenges in mind, you might be asking – should I be holding my events virtually, or face-to-face? Our Managing Director, Luke Brynley-Jones, is an advocate for a hybrid model:

“You’ve got to make a choice about whether your event is primarily virtual, or primarily face-to-face, and in the events I’ve been involved with it’s about what the relative merits are of each. So with virtual you get a lot of people signing up, as there’s less requirement on them to turn up and travel. But with face-to-face, you get a much stronger experience, a bigger opportunity for sales, and lead-gen is obviously really big for B2B as well.”

What does a first-class virtual event look like?

One of the best examples of a virtual event we can think of is Refintiv’s Follow The Sun Livestream.

As a completely global company working across multiple time zones, they found that reaching their entire audience was a struggle, especially with in-person events – after all, asking people to fly to Hong Kong or New York for an event is a big ask, no matter how exciting the event is!

Refinitiv wanted a way to leverage the influence of high-profile thought-leaders, while talking about really niche subjects that mattered to their brand, and making it accessible to their audience. That’s where OST came in!

We worked with Refinitiv to create a world-first: a 24-hour event hosted on LinkedIn Live, with live streams every hour, on the hour. It was ambitious to say the least!

Luke and Helen go into more detail in our podcast, so give it a listen if you want to know more!

Interview with Kwai Chi, Social Media Manager at Intuit

A highlight of Episode 3 of B2B Bites Back is Luke’s interview with Kwai Chi, Social Media Manager at Intuit. Kwai looks after the UK social media activations, planning strategy across the full breadth of marketing communication and products, and also works on global projects rolling out some of their key hero campaigns.

In the interview, Kwai explains how he first had the idea for Intuit’s award-winning “Ask The Expert” campaign: he realised that there was no credible source of advice or expertise for small business owners, and he wanted to create a platform where people could communicate with real experts in their given field. They could ask them anything they wanted, and the expert would answer it live.

The campaign wasn’t a hit straight away: “When it started, our very first show, we really struggled…we had about 50 people tune in. Now we get about 14,000 a day”. 

The success of the campaign really came down to adapting as they went along. Here’s Kwai’s advice for anyone running a virtual event campaign: 

“The key thing is just to run a program, see how it goes, and reiterate – look at the data, see what works and what doesn’t. For us, we found that people were tuning in at the wrong time and we couldn’t figure out what the show was about. We saw that from the data. So what we did was we created a pre-roll that lasts for 15 minutes, so when people tune in early they’re on a holding video which tells you that the show’s going to start on the dot.”

He summarised with one key message: “Look at the data, and don’t give up”. 

Interview with Georgia O’Keefe and Liza Rowland, Marketing Manager for Intertrust (Americas)

In our second interview, our Account Direct Georgia O’Keefe spoke with Liza Rowland, Marketing Manager for Intertrust (Americas) about their virtual events strategy.

Here’s a quick snippet from their conversation:

Georgia O’Keefe: “What was the turning point for you and the team when you were looking to add the virtual events to your strategy?”

Liza Rowland: “Virtual events have always been a part of our strategy, we’ve always done webinars; we are a large global company and our target audiences, our business partners, our clients, they’re all over the world, so virtual events have always been important to companies like us. Of course when the pandemic hit it became more urgent and more important to figure out how to make our virtual events bigger, and more frequent.”

Georgia and Liza also spoke about the benefits of using LinkedIn Live as a platform for virtual events. In Liza’s words, “When you are able to use a webinar platform that dovetails with something like LinkedIn, it just makes things easier. Typically when we would do a webinar back in the day, we’d be thinking “how are we going to drive people to this event? Are we going to do marketing mailers, or are we just going to send out emails? Are we going to end up putting this invite on LinkedIn anyway?”. LinkedIn took that guesswork out of it, and it was really a smart decision on their part to put it all in one place with the LinkedIn live function”.

If you want to learn more about Virtual Events and Live Streaming from the B2B marketing experts (that’s us!), make sure you check out B2B Bites Back! You can listen on Spotify!

Jeremy Taylor
Date: 14th May 2022
Category: B2B Marketing Blog Podcast

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