This is the second of five parts on setting up online events. While focusing on storytelling, the information applies to any performing arts or virtual event. Our blog as well as our All Things Story Virtual Workshop Series are wonderful professional development resources.
- Part 1 – Event Type, Audience, Timing & Pricing – REVEALED
- Part 2 – Choosing the Right Platform & Registration – TODAY
- Part 3 – Rapports & Introductions
- Part 4 – Test Runs, Sound Checks & Logistics
- Part 5 – Feedback Forms and Follow-Ups
So many platforms, so little time. Well, dedicate a little time at least as this determines how smooth everything else will go.
Zoom is obviously a “big one” and what most people are familiar with in the world. I will warn you now…I am a fan of Zoom, even before this historic time. Though, Zoom does has its limitations and is not the answer for all that we do online.
While more and more platforms surface, we will look at the following:
- Zoom – paid plans can handle 100 (Zoom Pro) to 10,000 attendees (Zoom Webinar with add-ons)
- Cisco Webex – video conferencing and online meetings
- BigMarker – browser based online platform for learning and sharing through web conferences and webinars
- Social Livestreams – YouTube Livestream, Facebook Live, Twitter/Periscope Live, Instagram Live, Twitch – ability to have comments from attendees in real-time
- Mandolin – created with musicians in mind though applicable for any performing arts, links in with Patreon, attendees will need free Patreon account to access
- 6connex – virtual trade shows
- Brella – specializes in virtual conferences
- HeySummit – landing page able to be built, virtual events – but must merge livestreaming, if interested
- Hop In – events, webinars, broadcasts, networking – contains many options
- Run the World – has built-in templates, works for discussions and chats and on up to conferences
- Vfairs – best for virtual expos and webinars
- Bizzabo – can be used for in-person, virtual, and hybrid events – recently chosen by Timpanogos Storytelling Virtual Festival
Compare pricings and what you need–expect to pay at least $100-$1,500/year and onward depending if you want a lot of bells and whistles. The exception is the social livestreaming–such as YouTube and Facebook, which thrive and need constant content from their users.
Be careful of anything you spend as your organization (be that one person or 100+ Board/Volunteers/Employees) needs to have enough time to be trained and comfortable in running the platform(s). Many have free trials, and ALWAYS take advantage of these offers. Test any or all platforms that intrigue you. If you choose NOT to use a platform, make sure that you cancel before any accidental payments occur.
Remember that you need to consider how much education and training you will need to give attendees so they can have a smooth and stress-free experience.
Even when most people know Zoom, you will want some kind of 5-minute introduction before any and all virtual sessions. This can be live or in-the-moment by an assigned host. We prefer a pre-recorded version that we show through “shared screen” with optimized sound. We also give this direct video link after people register. Our Board received a tailored 1-hour training on Zoom while also commissioning Jim Brule’ to create the following. You may want one with your logo or feel free to use ours–
Is any portion of your virtual event being multi-streamed?
You do not have to be contained to one platform. Zoom and the Social Livestreams (YouTube, Facebook, etc.) have the ability to reach more audiences. In fact, many streaming services can have 30+ platforms…except that the majority of them tend to be more video-gaming focused. Enough of those platforms are mainstream to make it worth it if you are offering a free virtual event.
For example, we have experience in multi-streaming to YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch. Our greatest numbers came from YouTube while Facebook had some impressive exponential growth after live-streaming. Twitch had the event “disappear” after two weeks as opposed to being “forever” on YouTube and Facebook.
Multi-streaming makes the most sense when offering free events or Tip Jar/Pay What It’s Worth set-ups.
Here are the two favorite multi-streaming services:
- Restream – chosen by Story Crossroads due to easy set-up with Zoom and easy to find 20% or 30% discount codes, about $40/month with code
- StreamYard – also about $40/month, ability to feature/spotlight real-time comments from audience during live broadcast
Registration/Ticketing Software is as important as the platform(s) chosen.
Here are some of the ones seen quite often as well as what we chose:
- Eventbrite – best if event is free, does have cost when event is not free, read some reviews of why people like/dislike it (possible that it collects user data)
- Eventcombo – attendees can use a mobile app, this can have in-event purchasing, connections with ParkWhiz, Uber, and Lyft
- Wild Apricot – amazing customer service with real-time chat, telephone calls, and video tutorials, free version if only offering free events otherwise minimum $40/month, chosen by Story Crossroads
- Long Listing of Ticketing and some reviews – through GetApp
Although not a ticketing service, it is possible to set up a single price to sliding scale through Square. This is free to set up account/online store.
How to Set Up Sliding Scale Pricing for Your Virtual Event:
- Click “Item” on left side and then “Create new item.”
- Towards the bottom, click on “Add variation.”
- Complete the “Variation name” with something like “$5 – minimum” or “$25 – suggested donation” or whatever you need to use.
- Complete the price to be “$5.00” or “$25.00” or whatever the specific price is for the Variation name.
When not using Square, usually a registration service such as Wild Apricot can have a Sliding Scale through “Multiple Choice with Extra Charge” or as separate Registration types.
Continue with us with Part 3 to “Rapports and Introductions” on important reminders to send to registrants after signing up, including word choice of marketing to established or new audiences.
You can make this virtual. You can realize your dreams for it.
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See our already-streamed/recorded The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities. See our 5-video playlist from the Story Crossroads Spectacular by clicking here.
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