Transitioning from working in live, in-person events to live, online events is often more challenging than people think. In the beauty industry there are several aspects of the industry that work together as a whole, from scientific information to marketing and technology. Bringing those industries together in the real world requires a lot of attention to detail and organization, but then to bring that detail and organization online adds an entirely new layer of complexity to the event planning process.
While it’s true, you don’t have the added difficulty of dealing with permits, booking venues, and booth setup for your conference or live event if you bring it online, it doesn’t mean that these things are simple to plan or require less work. Here are ten things to add to your checklist when planning your first online beauty conference:
#1 Decide on your format
Research and determine what type of online event you want to host. It could be an online webinar, a live Q&A session, a discussion between two or more professionals on a related topic, or even a pre-recorded keynote speech. There are several formats to an online event that give you a lot of freedom in determining which one might be right for you, your organization, and your speakers. Here we’ve included several resources for further reading, which includes a detailed list of different formats that you could choose from.
#2 Find your speakers
The first and most important thing you’re going to need to do (after you set a date and format, obviously) is find a group of speakers to speak at your event. This should be done first because you’re going to have to accommodate the scheduling of the conference around what they can work with, and now that you have time zones to worry about it might be more complicated than it would be at an in-person conference.
Choose your speakers based on a list of topics that you would like to cover in the event. In the beauty industry this can encapsulate topics such as marketing, research and development, regulatory, and innovation. It also might be a good idea to think outside of the box and offer speaking spots to people that normally might not attend a beauty industry conference. People like beauty influencers and notable figures on the consumer facing side can help teach your attendees about upcoming and popular trends, and it gives the consumer facing side of the industry a chance to learn about the ins and outs of beauty.
#3 Collect video samples from speakers
Whether your event is live or pre-recorded, it’s a good idea to get video samples from your speakers to take care of any issues that might arise at the actual event. If the event uses pre-recorded seminars and keynote appearances, having your speakers send in samples can help you determine what they might need to change in order to get a better quality video and audio for the final cut. It can also give you an idea of any pointers you need to give your speaker before they record the actual speech. In a live online conference, having a video sample of your speakers before the day-of can only help you in the same ways since it reassures that both your speaker and their technology are ready for the event.
In the same way that you would make sure that your presenters and keynote speakers have all of the tools they need to appear at your conference in real life, it’s important to make sure that they have everything they need to deliver virtually as well. This can include things like access to high speed internet, a proper webcam and microphone, any editing tools they’ll need if they’re pre-recording (or access to an editor that will do it for them), and a quiet place to be able to participate. This will also help establish your rapport and make your speakers feel more comfortable in participating in an online conference. Below we’ve compiled a list of websites and tools that are great for these types of events.
#4 Give tips and pointers to your speakers beforehand
Often when speakers are used to speaking in-person at live events, it doesn’t translate the same into an online event or an online seminar. Make sure to give your speakers specific pointers on what you might want them to do during their speech or seminar. This will make your speakers feel more prepared and more confident for the experience, and help your guests by making sure they get the most out of the experience. Make a list of pointers before you book your speakers, and don’t be afraid to add to it later on once you’ve seen the sample videos that your speakers submit. It’s important to create a list of clear calls to action to give to your speakers so that they know exactly what you’re looking for and where to send attendees for more information.
#5 Make sure the technology on both ends is working correctly
This is perhaps the most simple yet most important aspect of hosting a conference online. It’s important to make sure that all of the technology both you and your speakers will be using is able to work properly to assure that things run smoothly throughout your remote conference. Set up any remote conferences beforehand and make sure that everyone confirms the time slots for their respective events. For scientific conferences and events, we recommend setting up a dual screen system so that the speaker can refer to their presentations as they speak, allowing your guests to view the presentation in real time alongside the guest speaker. For more on scientific conferences, we recommend checking out this blog post from chemistryworld.com which gives in-depth advice for chemists and scientists that are presenting digitally.
#6 Structure the agenda
One of the biggest difficulties in moving conferences to remote, online experiences is that most people are located in different time zones. It’s important to schedule conferences and live events during a time that works for both your attendees and your speakers. Consider this when putting your schedule together. If a speaker is unable to attend a conference during business hours where your attendees will likely be, it might be a good idea to opt for a pre-recorded speech instead of a live one. This is why we recommend finding your speakers first rather than scheduling the event and then adding speakers later.
It’s also a good idea to create a list of agenda points or coordinate with your speakers on any points they have so that you can arrange time for a Q&A session afterward if the event is a live recording.
#7 Integrate with social media by using dedicated hashtags
In-person events often integrate with the online world by encouraging their attendees to post photos at the event or asking guests to tag their social media posts with a hashtag to increase visibility from anyone interested in keeping up with your event remotely. Luckily many conferences were beginning to offer live streaming and online integration before we were all forced to go remote, so the transition is easier now than it would have been even five years ago. Ask your virtual attendees to talk about your event on social media by using a dedicated hashtag or offering some type of incentive to go on social media. This could even be something simple, like having guests submit their questions to speakers via Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.
#8 Have staff to moderate the online events as you would in person
Just because something is online does not mean that you can get away with having less staff than you usually would. If you’re hosting a fireside chat or a panel event, have staff available to monitor the comments section and field questions from guests in real time. This will make it easier on your speakers and keep them from having to focus on more than one thing at a time. It will also make it easier to fix any technical difficulties should they arise.
#9 Make sure presentations are visually appealing
The truth about online conferences is that they’re far easier to get distracted in than traditional conferences. Keep your guests entertained by making your online events entertaining. Don’t be afraid to get creative and integrate visual elements into your online events or start a conversation to keep people excited about any topics you might be covering.
With so many customization options available on platforms like Zoom, you can easily make your presentations visually appealing by changing the background. This will also take some of the pressure off of your speakers, who might not feel comfortable sharing their home with their audience.
#10 Integrate real-life perks like gift bags or goodies
One of the best parts of attending a conference is any free stuff you might pick up along the way. These are also major advertising and marketing opportunities for beauty brands to take advantage of, representing major advertiser dollars within the industry. Thank people for speaking at your event by offering a gift bag or some type of goodie that you can have donated from an advertiser. This will make your speakers feel more gracious and show your appreciation for their time spent working with you.
It’s also important to engage with your audience in the ways that you would if you were creating a live event. This means creating things like live Q&A sessions, utilizing the live chat feature on platforms like Zoom, and integrating strong calls to action that will send your attendees to a website or other platform where you can further share your message.
#11 Make usage of different tools
Here are some tools that will help you create a great webinar or online event:
Webinar video conferences tools:
Games & Polls:
Last, but not least get inspired by our list of webinars and digital personal care events in 2020.