There are so many products available to those of us using online platforms. Whether you are conferencing with colleagues across the country (or world!) or hosting a virtual component to an event, the number of options you have at your fingertips is astounding.
This doesn’t necessarily make your job easy, though. You need to know which tool will give you the most bang for your buck and meet your needs. If you’re looking to use an online platform for webinars or meetings, I highly suggest GoToMeeting or GoToWebinar. This tool is very powerful and can handle many of the requirements of virtual events.
For those looking to host an online community, your best options are Social27, Pathable and OneLobby. Here are a few things you should look for in an online platform, whichever you choose, to make sure you’re satisfied the next time you host a virtual event or meeting.
The ability to record and share your online event is a key offering of many online platforms. If you’re capturing online meetings, you can now share them with those who were unable to participate. You can even sell the recordings to the public.
If you are running a webinar or other virtual meeting, you need all the tools you can get to help engage those who are watching along. Polls and surveys throughout the content are a great way to keep people focused on the screen and the session, rather than multitasking and dozing! You can even use the survey tool of many platforms to get feedback on the format of the event and the usability of the platform itself.
A good online platform will allow you to share all kinds of documents and media across the participants. Whether you’re looking at a YouTube video or collaborating on a document, you will enjoy the ability to do more than just video chat. Many tools allow you to share files and edit documents simultaneously and this allows for a more productive virtual meeting.
Some online platforms are incredibly expensive, but a high price tag does not guarantee a better product. Take a very good look at your needs and make sure you are evaluating each product based on its offerings in comparison to your needs. Depending on how you use it, you may be able to purchase a cheaper product that still wows your attendees and engages your team across the country. Some tools offer a pay-by-use plan while others are monthly/annual packages. In addition to meeting your priorities, you want to make sure that you choose a pricing plan that will accommodate the frequency of your usage.
The ability to export information such as the attendee lists is important for any organization. This information should be inputted into your client relationship management system and tracked. It will be important for you to have an idea of who attends your online events, how you are working with them in the future and how often people return.