Why Would You Want to Host an Online Event?

Without us having a definitive end in sight for when we can gather together again and connect on a more face-to-face basis, there are virtual, online gathering options that you can begin to adopt so that you can deliver your message to your contacts and continue to build relationships and loyalty outside of phone calls, emails and print marketing.

We’ve taken this guide a step further by sharing the ins and outs of online events including how to host, how to invite viewers, what tools to use for participation, what topics to cover and much more. 

Before we get into the specifics, here’s a quick reference checklist that you can refer to whenever you’re thinking about planning your own event.

Go-To Checklist for Any Event Type

1) Don’t forget to market your event. If you build it, they will come AS LONG AS they know about it.

2) Give attendees enough notice to participate. Give at least a few days of notice so that people can plan to get involved.

3) Always keep in mind: What’s in it for them? Your message and content needs to be interesting and engaging. Your content is your event.

4) Create incentives for participants to join you. This can be in the form of a free guide or bonus report; or an entry for a drawing to win something they would enjoy.

5) Consider partnering with another service provider you trust who can also bring value to your contacts. For example an attorney, an accountant, or another expert that provides complimentary services. The cross promotion helps extend your reach and you can also bring value to their contacts. 

6) Give your contacts a clear path for how to join your event.

7) Have a backup plan if you have technical or connectivity issues.

8) Plan on including a Q&A session as a way to encourage participation.

9) Do a test run so you can work out any kinks or technology questions ahead of time.

How to Write an Event Invite

There’s no need to get fancy and hire a graphic designer to create an event invite. All you need is a good description that sparks interest and curiosity.

This is where you should be focusing your attention: What’s in it for them? Here’s a quick reference guide for what to include in your event invite.

  • Who is hosting?
  • What is taking place?
  • When is it taking place (day and time)?
  • Where is it happening?
  • Why should your contacts tune in?
  • How do your contacts sign up or join you?

You want to make it simple, short, and easily readable. Using an event registration link usually allows you to capture email addresses and gives you an idea of how many people are interested in your event. We’re sure you’ve received a few event invites in your email inbox that you can also use for inspiration and guidance.

If you really want a graphic element, you can use Canva.com to design a graphic image for free.

This is a simple example of an invite you can use…

Subject Line or Title: Don’t Miss Our 20 Minute Industry Update 

I’m excited to share that I’m co-hosting a Facebook LIVE event next week. Please find the details below and I hope to see you there – remember to register so you don’t miss it.

Who: John Doe, Insurance Agent & Jane Smith, Real Estate Attorney

What: 20 Minute May 2020 Industry Update

When: May 12th at 4:30pm

Where: Facebook

Why: For you to understand the recent changes impacting insurance policies and real estate rights right now. We’ll also be making a free bonus report available with resources that will benefit you and your business.

How: Sign up here to learn more and receive event reminders. [INSERT EVENT REGISTRATION LINK HERE]

If you know anyone who could benefit from this event, please share these details with them.

I look forward to “seeing” you soon!

Until next time,

John Doe

Where can you create event registration links?

Two of the easiest places to create an event online so that viewers can register and receive event reminders are on Facebook and EventBrite.

How To Create a Facebook Event

You can create a private or public Facebook event.

To create a private Facebook event on your computer:

  1. On the left side of your News Feed, click on Events.
  2. Then, to create an event, Click ‘+ Create Event’ on the left side.
  3. Click ‘Create Private Event’. Only invited guests will see your event. Note: You can’t change the status from private to public at a later time. 
  4. Type in the name of your event along with the description, date and time. 
  5. Since your location is not a physical address, check the ‘Online Event’ box and you will be prompted to include the link needed for viewers to join. 
  6. Click ‘Create Private Event’. From there, you’ll be taken to your event where you can invite guests via Facebook and edit event details.

To create a public Facebook event on your computer:

  1. On the left side of your News Feed, click on Events.
  2. Then, to create an event, Click ‘+ Create Event’ on the left side.
  3. Click ‘Create Public Event’. Anyone will be able to see your event and search for it, even if you aren’t friends. Note: You can’t change the status from public to private at a later time. 
  4. Type in the name of your event along with the description, date and time. 
  5. Type in keywords about your public event so that Facebook can recommend it to people who are interested in that topic. Example: Real Estate.
  6. In the ‘Admission’ section you can choose to ‘Add Confirmation’ and/or ‘Create Tickets’ for free or paid events (issued through Eventbrite). This is where you can include the online link viewers will need to join your event.
  7. You can also add a Co-Host and your Co-Host will then be able to invite their Facebook contacts to the event as well.
  8. Choose who can edit and post in your event and then click ‘Create’. From there, you’ll be taken to your event where you can invite guests via Facebook and edit event details.

If you would prefer not to go through Facebook, you can use Eventbrite directly. There is no charge to you for hosting free events. Learn how to create an event by going through Eventbrite’s Complete Guide to Setting Up Your Event here.

What events can you host online?

You might be wondering, “What kind of event could I even host for my contacts to join?”. It may feel daunting to figure out, but there are lots of options and we’ve included a few to spark your creativity.

Simple Events You Can Host

Share Industry Updates

Keeping your contacts informed about industry trends (and focusing less on selling your service or product) is a simple way to build their trust in you. You will be staying top of mind to your contacts and it will remind them to turn to you when they have questions about your industry.

‘Ask Me’ Event

Social Media Examiner does a great job of explaining what an “Ask Me Anything” or AMA event. “The concept gained popularity on Reddit under the brands AMA or ASK ME ANYTHING, which are trademarks owned by Reddit, and was later adopted by mainstream social networks as a way to transparently engage with an audience; promote new features, updates, and products; and connect with users in real time.” These “Ask Me” sessions really help bring a more personal voice to your brand by showing transparency to your viewers. 

Conduct Interviews

This is similar to an ‘Ask Me’ session, but instead you are asking your guest questions so they can share their knowledge with your followers. It’s a nice way to bring value to your viewers and to help you build loyalty. 

Think of other experts in your community or experts who provide complimentary services who could benefit your contacts with their expertise. 

Behind-the-Scenes Insights

If you have attended an online event or have learned something new from your association or brokerage that would be great for your viewers to also hear about, you can host a live event to share your insider knowledge. 

Advanced Events You Can Host


Once you’re feeling comfortable with hosting live events, you can think about more in-depth, specific information to share with your viewers with how-to’s, tutorials or classes. 


With webinars, you’ll typically have a slide deck presentation that you are walking your viewers through. With this format, you’ll mostly be sharing your screen to go through your presentation. Participants can then ask you questions along the way or at the end of your presentation.

Zoom and YouTube are popular choices and here are some other platforms you may want to look into.

How to pick the best time for an event

You could go to all the effort of setting up your event, creating your game plan, doing a test run, and being prepared, but if you pick a date and time that isn’t ideal for your contacts, you aren’t going to have a good turn out.

Before setting up your event and sending out your invitations, do some research to figure out a good date and time. Be sure to avoid competing with holidays. You wouldn’t want to host a business-related event on a day like Mother’s Day, for example.

How to promote your event

Unfortunately, it isn’t good enough just to create an event and expect people to show up. You need to drive contacts to join or sign up for your event. 

This is when it can be helpful to include an incentive to your contacts for joining you. Providing them with something they could only get by attending or tuning in to listen and watch. These are things to include in your event description.

Once you have created your Facebook event link or your Eventbrite link, send an invitation email out to your contacts with the registration link so you can reach your contacts in another way.

Don’t forget to post the event link to your other social media platforms.

How to host an easy live stream event

Now that you’ve picked the event type you want to host and you have a topic and description ready, it’s time to decide where to host your event.

There is no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to online or virtual events. It will come down to these 3 variables:

  1. What technology works best within your budget?
  2. What technology works best for your technical abilities?
  3. What technology do you contacts have easy access to?

Many social media platforms have livestream options and live streaming is known to drive engagement by an average of 6 times more than posting a regular video. 

Plus, live streaming often shows comments and attendees which makes the ability to have a Q&A in real time much like a webinar and also boosts your algorithm rankings because of the high engagement.

Don’t Forget to Do These Things When Going Live

Determine Your Content Plan of Action

If you are comfortable with being off-the cuff with your content, that is awesome! Make sure you still write out key points or reminders that you don’t want to forget so you have a reference guide as you go through your event.

If you are less comfortable with sharing information on the fly, a general outline or jotted down talking points will help you stay on track.

Work Out Any Technology Hiccups with Practice

On your personal Facebook profile, you can ‘Go Live’ just to yourself by selecting the ‘Only Me’ setting. This also helps you confirm your lighting, camera, and microphone are all in order.

Embrace Hiccups

Going live is like performing a live show. Mishaps are bound to happen because there aren’t any redos. Believe it or not, these small mistakes make the experience more fun. Acknowledge and make fun of any mishaps – you’re showing your viewers that you’re a real person and not a robot. 

Ask for Involvement

Social media platform algorithms favor more comments, likes, and engagement. So, it’s in your best interest to encourage your viewers to get involved. Ask them questions along the way and have them chime in. Or, ask them to type in their questions so that you can get to some of them during your Q&A session.

You can also remind your viewers to answer the poll questions if you filled those out on your Facebook live event details.

Ask them to like and share the post if they found it interesting, valuable or entertaining.

Credit Your Attendees by Name When They Comment

To build a stronger and more authentic connection over a virtual medium, call out your attendee’s first name and read their question or comment out loud. It helps them feel important and acknowledged for participating. You can even thank them for joining.

Sign-Off with a Call-to-Action

Give your viewers one step you want them to take after you finish your live stream. Maybe you want them to share your video. Or, maybe you want them to sign up for your newsletter. Whatever it is, when you post your Facebook live video, be sure to include that call-to-action step you want them to take.

What is Facebook Live?

As explained by the Facebook for Business Help Center, “Facebook Live lets you livestream events, performances and gatherings on Facebook. Viewers can watch from a phone, computer or connected TV. Reactions, shares, comments, and other interactive features enable you to engage with your audience.”

In case you weren’t aware, here’s what happens to the video of your Facebook Live:

  • they remain on your page or profile for any of your contacts who missed the live event to see. 
  • they are displayed in the feed of your contacts both during your live event and after the event as well. 
  • they are more likely to be displayed to your contacts because of their high ranking in the Facebook algorithm.
  • on a Facebook Business profile, you are able to control your audience once your live event ends. 

How To Get Started with Facebook Live

To get started, you need a Facebook account, followers, and a mobile device or desktop or laptop computer with a camera and a microphone.

Step By Step Guide to a Facebook Live event

Step #1: Look for the “Live Video” Button

If you’re using a mobile device and are going live from your personal Facebook profile, you’ll see a small “Live Video” button in the choices when you go to type up a regular post. Select “Live Video” to start setting up your live event. You will NOT go live immediately. You will be prompted for a few more details before you actually “Go Live”.

If you’re going live from your desktop, the menu looks a bit different. Here you will see a “Start a Live Video” icon. Select that icon to get started. You will NOT go live immediately. You will be prompted for a few more details before you actually “Go Live”.

Step #2: Enter Your Description

Remember, your description needs to be enticing and easy to read. You want your contacts to join you as you stream live. Enter your description in the area that says “Say something about this live video…”

Step #3: Select Where You Want Your Live Stream to be Displayed

From a business page, you can share your live broadcast on your timeline, in a group, in an event or on a page you manage. When you scroll further down, you can also share it to multiple groups in the “Share to Your Groups” section.

From a personal profile, there are a few different options compared to a business profile. You can still share your live broadcast on your timeline, in a group, in an event or on a page you manage. 

Then from the blue dropdown menu, you can select if you want it to be shared to the public, to your friends, to specific friends, or just yourself (this will come in handy when you do your test run).

From a personal profile, you don’t have the option to share it to multiple groups because there is no “Share to Your Groups” section.

On both business page and personal profile, you can also add a title when you scroll down below the camera and microphone settings and add polling questions in the interactive tab.

Step #4: Make Sure You Have Good Lighting and are visible

You definitely don’t want dingy or bad quality lighting so that your viewers have issues seeing you. Sitting with your face toward a window is ideal. If natural lighting isn’t possible, turn on lighting or lamps in the room from which you are going live.

Step #5: Put Your Smile on and “Go Live!”

You will be able to see a preview of your camera view before starting your live stream. If your surroundings look messy or you want to fix your hair, you can still do that before selecting the blue “Go Live” button.

Step #6: Remember to Click “Finish” When You’re Done

When you’re ready to finish your live stream, be sure to hit the red “Finish” button so that your video stops.

Step #7: Edit and Post Your Live Video

For those who missed your live stream, you can post your video to your profile for them to catch later. When posting, you can make any changes to your description and you can add a caption. 

What is YouTube Livestream?

As explained by YouTube, “YouTube Live is an easy way to reach your community in real time. Whether you’re streaming an event, teaching a class, or hosting a workshop, YouTube has tools that will help you manage your stream and interact with viewers in real time.” 

Step By Step Guide to a YouTube Livestream event

How Do I Get Started with YouTube Live?

To get started, you need a YouTube Channel, desktop or laptop computer with a camera and a microphone. [If you want to stream using a mobile device, you also need at least 1,000 YouTube subscribers.]

There is no minimum requirement of subscribers for live streaming on YouTube when you use a webcam or your laptop/desktop computer. 

Here we are focusing on desktop or laptop live streaming.

Step #1: Verify Your Channel

You have to confirm that your channel is verified and that you have no live stream restrictions in the last 90 days (meaning that there are no Community Guidelines violations). To verify your account, you’ll just need to enter a phone number where YouTube will send a verification code by text or voice call to that phone number.

Once you have verified your channel, you can start to go live after 24 hours.

Step #2: Enable Channel for Live Streaming

To enable live streaming, go to https://studio.youtube.com/ for your Creator Studio tools, then click on the upload icon in the upper right-hand corner

Step #3: Check Webcam Compatibility

Confirm that your webcam is compatible with Chrome 60+ and Firefox 53+. Click on “Webcam” to give permissions for your browser to access your webcam.

Step #4:

Enter a title and description, and 

Step #5: Set Privacy Level

Select the privacy level you want and click Save

Step #6: Take a Picture

Now it’s time for your camera to take a photo to be used as the thumbnail image.

Step #7: Time to Go Live

Click Go Live.

Step #8: Remember to End Stream

When you’re done with your live stream, click End Stream at the bottom. 

Streamed videos that are under 12 hours in length automatically be archived. You can access previous, current and upcoming streams in the Live tab.

Manage Live Streams

From the YouTube Studio dashboard, you can access current, upcoming and past live streams. Here’s how:

  • Go to YouTube Studio or studio.youtube.com.
  • Click Videos.
  • Click the Live tab.
  • Live Now: Videos that are currently live streaming.
  • Upcoming: Videos that have yet to stream, but are scheduled to be at a certain time.
  • Live Replay: Videos that have already live streamed.

What is a Zoom Conference?

The platform explains that, “Zoom is the leader in modern enterprise video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat, and webinars across mobile devices, desktops, telephones, and room systems.”

How Do I Get Started with Zoom Conference?

If you don’t want to use the free tools that come with Facebook or YouTube for your LIVE streaming, you can turn to Zoom to host a video conference.

Here is a really great guide from Zoom for how to run engaging online events.

If video or live streaming is a new concept to you, that is 100% okay. We’re all evolving and shifting to the new business landscape in front of us.

The easiest way to get more comfortable with video or live streaming and to reap the benefits of its accessibility is to start small, practice, and then give it a try.

How else are you staying “face-to-face” with your contacts?