The world has turned to virtual means when it comes to sharing information and building community. While some educational institutions were recently forced to move their classrooms to the internet, many were already leveraging their schools through virtual events and engagements. The parent-teacher relationship is very important for a student’s education. More “face time” can help open lines of communication and build trust between the school and the families. Luckily, virtual events allow for that process since they’re much easier to attend than adding a trip to the school at 4pm to the to-do list.
Promote the Event
To start, you need to get the word out there about your event, and since it’s hosted virtually, then the promotion can take that same route. Turn to digital channels such as email and social media to reach the right audience and boost your attendance numbers.
It’s no secret that many parents live by their calendars, and the best way to add your event to that precious real estate is by showing up in their inbox. Email marketing is an effective way to reach parents who are looking to learn more about your school by making registration a quick click. Thanks to calendar integration, adding the event to their schedule can also be just a tap away. Be sure to include all of the important details, such as date, time, virtual platform, and access information. A follow-up email with attendance information is also highly recommended. One last email to keep in mind would be a reminder the day before or morning of your event to ensure that it wasn’t just penciled in.
Get the word out on the school’s social media channels. Take advantage of posts, Facebook events, and groups to promote your virtual event. Include an appealing graphic or image that attracts the attention of the right audience while also providing information about the event. Don’t forget to include a link to the registration page if additional access is needed. If the event will also be live-streamed or a recording will be made available afterward, social media is the perfect place for those announcements.
Save the Date
Once you start your event, you have the audience’s attention. Most likely, the audience attending this event will be interested in others that you’re hosting. Use this opportunity to promote upcoming presentations, webinars, and information sessions by mentioning them aloud and providing a visual that can be shared or saved. Using one event to promote another is a direct way to connect with the right audience, plus you know they enjoy virtual events!
Host the Event
Once you’ve notified the key people about your virtual event, it’s then time to host it. Virtual events are no longer simply talking heads in webinars. The capabilities of the various event streaming platforms have greatly advanced to include video integration, Q&A pods, interactive polls, and other engagement functions.
The more traditional virtual event format consists of a presentation accompanied by an audible voiceover from the presenter. This process is still effective, but platforms have added webcams so your audience can also see the presenter while running through slides, video, or answering questions. Educational institutions such as Connections Academy have seen success with this type of event since it gives the teachers and administrators a chance to speak directly to parents. Parents are receptive to being able to put a face with a name and know who will be potentially teaching their children. Typically, attendees can ask questions through a Q&A pod or chat function, which is a great way to generate a dialogue without interrupting the presentation. It’s advised to consider using a moderator to manage the presentation and panelists, but also to organize the Q&A portion of the event.
Smaller groups fend well in breakout rooms. Similar to attending an event in-person, the audience is divided into groups by topic or just numbers and separated into individual virtual rooms. This allows for each room to be personalized to those in it. The nice thing about virtual breakout rooms is that attendees can easily go from room to room or back to the main event with a click of a button. No more rushing from one conference or classroom to another.
The switch to virtual events has been in the making for years. Parents are busy, and the best way to encourage them to add an event to their calendar is by making it accessible and worth their time. Promoting and hosting virtual events is an easy transition that will give your educational institution the reputation of being cutting edge, tech-friendly, and a progressive learning community.
If you would like help with marketing for your educational institution, feel free to contact us. We offer a variety of services like social media marketing, digital marketing & analytics, marketing & brand strategy, and more to small and large companies.