Live events are the lifeblood of any online community or live online cohort based course. Sadly, new tools for managing those events are few and far between.
While Google Calendar is among the most popular tools for live online event management, it’s probably falling short in a number of ways:
With Google Calendar, you can’t save audiences or segment your community. If you find yourself constantly inviting the same groups and sub-groups of students to events, that means you’re doing a whole lot of copying and pasting email addresses.
Not only is this susceptible to human error, but it’s also taking a good chunk of time out of your day that you could be using in more productive ways. Not to mention that it adds tedious extra steps if members join or drop out of your program after your events have already been created.
While Google Calendar does let members RSVP to events, it has no way of determining who actually attended those events. Because of that, you don’t get a clear sense of how your events are performing (at least not without manually counting attendees - another timesuck and waste of resources!). Not to mention how challenging this can be for a community with a mandatory attendance policy.
Collecting quantitative and qualitative data is key for you to continue improving your event programming. What event times are most popular? Which topics do members enjoy most? Answering these questions and iterating are near impossible without good clean data.
Learn how to leverage data to find course-market fit for your career as a course creator here.
These days, live online communities, courses, and learning programs are looking for a holistic view of member engagement across a variety of platforms. Unfortunately, Google Calendar doesn't connect with any of your existing community data. While it does a great job of notifying members when and where events are occurring, its usefulness stops there.
In order to do a real and effective pulse check on your community, you’ll need to compare engagement across platforms, events and individual members. Integrations are key for these kinds of comparisons.
Because of these gaps, creating, sharing, and managing your live online events is likely taking a lot more time than you have to spare (not to mention potentially falling prey to human error!).
When it comes to continuous, repetitive tasks, automation is key.
That said, instead of using Google Calendar alone for your live online event management, we suggest the following solutions and life-hacks:
Zapier is an automations super-tool. To manage your live events, you can use triggers to tie together multiple tools to automate your event management process. For example, you could set up the following automation:
Upon completing an onboarding survey, get a member added to your member database, community platform, and relevant google calendar invites.
Instead of duct-taping multiple top tools together, Virtually lets you manage (and automate!) live events, communication, reminders, and engagement data from one place.
This is because Virtually integrates with:
With Virtually, you can upload your member roster, segment your audience into various groups, and start creating events. Members will get sent a calendar invite, zoom link, and an email/Slack reminder before the event starts.
After the event ends, you can see all your event analytics (attendance and feedback) right on Virtually or easily export it all to your tool of choice.
Read Next: Your Checklist for Hosting Live Events
Laura Marks is Head of Community at Virtually