Bring Your Brand to Life with Live: 5 B2B Virtual Event Ideas

May 3, 2021

Topic tags

Meisha Bochicchio

Marketing


It’s no secret that the pandemic forced businesses to majorly pivot in the way they communicated, both internally and externally. While Zoom meetings with cute baby and pet cameos became the norm for employee communication, customers also needed an effective way to connect with their favorite businesses.

Enter: live streaming. With no safe way to host in-person events, many businesses and marketers instead invested time and effort into live stream offerings — and the results speak for themselves. Research conducted by streaming service Restream found that 53% of people who stream for clients or a company saw an increase in event attendance thanks to these capabilities.

“Research found that 53% of people who stream for clients or a company saw an increase in event attendance thanks to these capabilities.”

The sudden influx of live stream events is especially compelling for B2B brands. Live streaming events offer a unique opportunity for such brands to show their expertise in real time and build trust through a shared communal experience. This trust-building is critical for B2B brands since their products tend to be more expensive and generally require buy-in from company leadership.

With that in mind, here are five live stream events your B2B brand should consider hosting in the near future.

1. Launch event

When your business has a new product to share with the public, it’s your job as a B2B marketer to get people excited about it. Professionals are usually paying a premium for B2B products, so it’s especially important that you motivate them to take action.

A live stream can put your new product front and center, in all its glory, for everyone to see. These events are all about excitement and motivation. Think Steve Jobs when he hosted a historic launch event for the original iPhone — that’s the kind of feeling you want business stakeholders to have when they see what you’re announcing.

To create this feeling, there are a couple of key things your launch event live stream should include. First of all, you should have a member of your senior leadership host the event. Their presence elevates the event and will make the launch feel special, so businesses won’t want to miss it.

During the event, you should talk about the trajectory of this new product and what it means for your audience. Focus on how your launch product is going to make life easier for your customers. Don’t spend too much time getting bogged down in technical details; they can learn about that after they onboard.

Finally, before you actually turn on your live stream and run your launch event, create some social media buzz around it by teasing short video clips of whatever product is launching. This promotion will help create a sense of excitement and mystery around your new product.

Pro-Tip
This point might seem obvious, but it’s critical: Make sure whatever product you’re launching is running smoothly by the day of the launch event. Overpromising and underdelivering can lead to distrust in your brand and hurt its reputation. It will also raise eyebrows from B2B stakeholders, who likely won’t be as inclined to try your new product if it doesn’t meet expectations.

2. Conference

Remember back in the good old days when you could go to a conference hosted by your favorite B2B company and network with industry peers all in one place? The pandemic may have put a halt to these types of large-scale, in-person events for the time being, but they’re still valuable to B2B brands in a live stream format.

HubSpot, for example, took matters into their own hands regarding their traditionally in-person annual Inbound conference. In 2020, they turned the conference into a fully virtual event and live streamed a number of talks from guest speakers for over 70,000 attendees who joined remotely from across the globe.

Image courtesy of En Point.

Even thinking beyond the pandemic, live streaming is ideal for hosting B2B conferences. Platforms like Crowdcast, Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and LinkedIn Live each come with their own pros and cons, but all are able to handle the bulk of work that comes with live streaming a conference.

If you want to turn your conference into a true networking event, give viewers the ability to interact with each other after the conference has concluded. Depending on the number of attendees, you can divide them into smaller groups or cohorts. Create casual coffee chats or wine mixer events on Zoom; this gives people the chance to connect similarly to the ways they would in real life.

Pro-Tip
Make your virtual conference convenient for people who can’t attend the live stream by emailing subscribers the recording of your event. Some people may not have time to watch live but will do so on their own time. They may also share with people in their network, which can help grow your brand awareness.

3. Webinar

B2B audiences often have to sift through complex subject matter that may be full of terms or products they don’t fully understand. A live stream webinar is a perfect vehicle to teach people about larger industry topics and how your product can be useful to them. Webinars are also useful in that they can address any part of the marketing funnel.

“A live stream webinar is a perfect vehicle to teach people about larger industry topics and how your product can be useful to them.”

When determining the most helpful topics to tackle for your webinar, simply ask your audience. Send out a social media poll or email survey to determine what you should address in your webinar. Maybe people want to learn more about your industry from a holistic lens, or perhaps they have very specific inquiries related to your product.

Once you’ve decided on an overarching theme and the subject matter you’ll cover, make sure your marketing plan includes using your email list. Send email subscribers information about the webinar and a registration format least a few weeks prior. Send subsequent emails to hype up the event as it gets closer to the actual date.

Pro-Tip
After it’s over, add your webinar to a dedicated page on your website where all of your previous webinars are archived. This library will help visitors find the exact webinar they’re looking for on their own time. You can also repurpose your webinar content in the form of blog posts, podcast episodes, e-books, and more.

4. Q&A

Q&As are the perfect outlet for B2B brands to interact with their audience in a live stream format. Through them, you’re able to answer questions about your industry or product and build a sense of community around your B2B brand.

Some people host free-flowing live Q&A on platforms like Instagram Live or Facebook Live, but those can be a bit disorganized as you have to scroll to see viewer questions. Another option is to ask viewers to submit questions in advance and tell them you’ll answer them throughout the live video.

In general, the best way to structure Q&A live streams is a hybrid approach. Use any submitted questions as a starting point, and then ask viewers who are watching live to ask questions of their own as well. That way, you have material to help the Q&A get underway and can also bring in live viewers to make them feel like they’re part of the conversation.

Pro-Tip
If you want to get live audience participation, have someone at your company moderate the questions coming in. Moderators can collect questions as they come in, so you won’t feel pulled between the chat and hosting the event. Having admin help can also help you in the unfortunate event you need to remove anyone due to inappropriate behavior or language.

5. Live interview

With live interviews, you can bring more eyes to your B2B brand by speaking with noteworthy industry experts and thought leaders. These conversations can uncover relevant insights and help you promote your video content through the other experts’ channels as well.

Like a Q&A, reach out to your intended audience ahead of the interview (via social media or email) to ask for input and pick a select number of submitted questions to ask your guest. Vetting viewer questions in advance will help your guest prepare and not feel as pressured to come up with answers on the fly.

If your brand has hosted multiple live interview streams, it might be a good idea to set up a dedicated page to host them on your website as part of your video strategy. You can even put together your own Wistia Channel that will help viewers find all of your interview-related content under one banner and page on your site. We did something similar with our brand-based interview series Brandwagon for folks to watch on-demand.

Pro-Tip
Don’t just go after the biggest names from your industry to interview. Look for opportunities to interview up-and-coming industry experts and thought leaders; this can be a useful strategy to beat your competitors to the punch.

Ready to start live streaming?

If you’re a B2B business seeking to build a sense of trust and community around your brand, live streaming events need to be part of your larger video marketing strategy. They add a real-time element to how your brand interacts, and people are able to get a better feel for you and your product.

May 3, 2021

Topic tags

Meisha Bochicchio

Marketing

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