As Assistants, we organise a wide variety of events. From small office parties and get-togethers to the annual sales conference, events have and will always be part of our role.
As many Assistants have found out over the last year, the demand to meet hasn’t disappeared; it has just gone online.
Many organisations have relied heavily on their meetings platforms like Zoom, Google Meet and Teams. And for most smaller meetings, these platforms have done well.
However, they aren’t designed for events: they are platforms designed to get people together for a short period. So what if you have a meeting/event where you need people to spend more than an hour or so? And what if you need them to do a lot of other things together like meet in smaller breakouts, chat for a few minutes or watch lots of others bits of content?
The answer is to find a platform that is designed for events. In this post, William Thomson, Founder of the Virtual Event Campus and CEO of Practically Perfect PA, picks out his favourite five platforms.
I asked him to recommend platforms that were:
- Affordable (so under $3000 for a 500 person event over two days)
- Easy for attendees to use
- Easy for Assistants to manage
I thought this would be very difficult, but William assures me that there are platforms like this!
I also asked him to tell me the “ideal” event that the platform would support. That way, we can be sure this is a super helpful and practical post. And finally, William has included links to each platform should you want to check them out.
This is a brilliant and straightforward platform. Over 3000 of you have already joined our events on Crowdcast! If you simply want to add some sparkle to shorter events, check out Crowdcast. It supports you to increase the interaction from the audience: no “Zoom” fatigue here!
You can set up an event in a few minutes, and there is a lot of automation on the platform. So it is easy to send attendees a unique link (which they can’t share) that helps secure your event.
Crowdcast pricing starts at only $29.00 per month. There is a free version, and Crowdcast even offers a free trial.
IDEAL EVENT: A staff meeting with a few presentations will last a few hours where you want to have more interaction and need a more engaged audience. If your audience is bored of Zoom, this is a simple step up.
This is the first of our “All In One” platforms. Airmeet is excellent at covering the most essential three pillars of an event. So if you are running an event with some content, needs people to connect, and have a space for displaying more information on particular topics or companies, you have to check out Airmeet!
The platform gets better almost every week, but they somehow manage to add new things without losing the simplicity that makes the platform so useful.
I am a big fan of Airmeet, and I recently did a short video on YouTube delving deeper into the platform. It covers more than most of the other platforms, so it is towards the top end of the “affordable” budget that Nicky suggested.
IDEAL EVENT: If you have to replace a significant physical event, like your sales conference, then Airmeet will be there to save you!
This was one of the first virtual events platforms and has been able to stay ahead of the pack. It is a very immersive experience and fun. I had one event with over 1500 people on the platform, and everyone loved it!
It is “table” based and uses a floorplan layout to help you navigate the platform. So you are free and able to jump from table to table or topic to topic, but you can also broadcast to all of the attendees. You can even tailor the floor plan and get super creative.
Remo starts at $100 a month, and there is a 14-day free trial.
IDEAL EVENT: If everyone in the company hasn’t had the chance to meet for months, then an event on Remo would be great. Just imagine each department hosting a table and attendees jumping in and out to hear all the latest news.
This is the platform if you want to run a large, fun and interactive event. It is very informal, but it packs a punch. Like Airmeet, it excels at the content, connections, and coverage parts of an event, but it does it in a more relaxed way.
An organiser should do all they can to encourage people to spend time at their virtual event, and the ease and appeal of the platform will support them to do that. Balloon just looks great!
It offers multiple stages so you can have loads of content. There are many ways for attendees to connect, and they can choose the method that suits them best. This is great if you don’t want to force people at a particular time to turn on their camera and chat with each other.
IDEAL EVENT: The staff away day would be brilliant on Balloon.
This is very different from the other platforms, and I am amazed at how useful it is. It allows organisers to use their own “tech stack”. So if you want to keep running Zoom meetings but want to add easier breakouts, for example, in Remo or Crowdcast, then Hey Summit supports you to do that.
I describe it as a virtual train station; where other technologies pull in to create the perfect event.
Using Hey Summit as the central station superchargers your event, and the platform is fantastic at updating and informing attendees using its intelligent automation.
It is a fantastic platform.
IDEAL EVENT: Ideal for anyone who wants to use the platforms they are familiar with but wants to add that extra bit of fizz to the event!
And if you want to supercharge the production of what goes on to your virtual events, I have to recommend two excellent bits of technology. Ecamm Live and Streamyard. Both of them give you broadcast studio-quality production for a very affordable price.
Virtual events are here to stay, and we will all be meeting and running online events for years to come.
Do let William know what you think of any of these platforms, and if you want to be kept up to date with all of the latest virtual event technology, then why not subscribe to William’s Virtual Event Campus.