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Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Working from home: The future of business is remote

LinkedIn debuts Virtual Events to help brands during COVID-19 crisis

The new offering combines LinkedIn Live with LinkedIn Events to help businesses build up their brand.

LinkedIn launches Virtual Events to help brands reach their target audience
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With no clear answer as to when "business as usual" may resume, businesses are looking for ways to keep their employees productive and their customers engaged through the COVID-19 crisis. Platforms like LinkedIn, meanwhile, are busy building the tools and features needed to accommodate the current reality. 

On Tuesday, LinkedIn announced that it's offering a tighter integration between its two virtual events solutions, while adding some new features, to help businesses build up their brand through the crisis. 

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"We understand that one of the biggest adjustments you've had to make is in the way that you bring your professional community together," LinkedIn's Ajay Datta wrote in a blog post. The latest features for LinkedIn Pages, Datta wrote, are "designed to help you connect with your community through virtual events, share important updates, and rally them from afar, all for free." 

The new Virtual Events offering brings together LinkedIn Events and LinkedIn Live. While LinkedIn Live was designed for building brand awareness, LinkedIn Events was built for strengthening existing relationships with target audiences. 

With LinkedIn Live, Virtual Events users can livestream an event to their LinkedIn Page followers or to Event attendees. They can use third-party broadcasting tools, including Restream, Wirecast, Streamyard and Socialive, with more tools to come. 

Virtual Events users can also share their event with their Page followers or send direct invitations to first-degree profile connections. Once a Virtual Event is over, the content can be saved on a new Video tab on LinkedIn Pages. 

Meanwhile, LinkedIn is also giving customers a way to add announcement banners to their LinkedIn Pages. Businesses can use the banners to keep followers up to speed on topics like changing operating priorities, new hiring decisions or workforce protections. 

Nonprofit and school Pages are also getting access to a new "Volunteer" call to action button.