With a huge rise in people running their events online during lockdown, we asked one of our event organisers on Ticketlab to give us some tips on what’s worked for them with online events.
Allie is a wellbeing professional who runs Eleventh House Wellbeing:
I run a wellbeing business (reiki, EFT, NLP, MBCT and Mindfulness), and with the advent of Covid, I’ve started putting together courses as 4-week packages, and putting them online. I am currently teaching week 3 of the Tools for Anxiety one, and the next one, about self-confidence, is starting in May.
Tools for Anxiety was a bit of a pilot – I didn’t know whether it would work or not, so I was a bit wary of sticking my neck out; I could have promoted it more, but I thought a smaller group would be preferable for this first online experience. Now that I know the format works well, I will promote the May one more widely.
Allie has the following tips for running your own events:
I use Zoom for the online meetings; it has been excellent, very reliable even with my rubbish internet connection. The free version has a 40-minute limit on group meetings, but that is perfectly adequate! I hold two sessions a week, and it gives us time for a couple of minutes of welcoming participants and exchanging pleasantries, a full half-hour session, and some questions or comments at the end. The dynamic of online groups are so very different from in-person meetings, and you wouldn’t want to make the sessions too long.
If participants are using Zoom for the first time, you might want to offer practice runs, to make sure that they all know what they are doing and no precious session time is wasted – they will also feel more confident and know that you care about them getting the most out of the sessions.
I asked people to let me have their email addresses at the time of booking, and created a mailing list. This way, every week I can send out a Dropbox link to the resources we will be using (Zoom also allows for screen sharing, which has been brilliant), and I also send the recording of the video session after each meeting, as some group members have indicated they wanted to watch it again and make notes.
I also set up a private Facebook group just for participants to share insights, thoughts, questions, or something light-hearted. This builds a sense of community and allows people to interact outside of the structure of the course. It’s also where I post any extra suggestions for readings, or interesting articles I come across. We’ve also used it to organise Zoom coffee-and-chat meetings, so it’s definitely worked to help the group gel! It could equally well be a WhatsApp group – I just opted for Facebook because all of my participants were on it.
I promoted the course on the local Facebook hubs and selling pages. I did try Facebook advertising in the past, but it didn’t really give me good results.
I have prepared a feedback form for people to fill in at the end of the course, which will inform the choices I make for the next one. And of course, I will also ask them to leave a review on my Facebook page – this is ever so important to build a good reputation!
If you’d like to know more about setting up your events online, please check out the article on our support site: Hosting a virtual event