Hosting a Virtual Summit on Circle with Moira Cleary

guest expert tech Dec 07, 2021

You've probably seen the Circle platform used to host course communities, but have you ever considered using it to host a summit? Here’s how to do it!

If you'd have asked me before this week's podcast episode if Circle was a good platform to host a summit on, I'd have given you a confused-sounding "no".

How in the world would you host a well-organized, strategic event on a community management platform?

Turns's a thing.

My friend and Summit in a Box student, Moira Cleary, experimented with hosting a summit on Circle and it was a huge success. And to be honest, I want to give it a try, too!

In this week's podcast episode with Moira, you'll hear about...

  • Her overall experience with using Circle to host a virtual summit.
  • How she made it all work.
  • External tools she used.
  • How her results with using Circle for the community compared to using a Facebook group.

I'll let Moira take it from here!

Hosting a Virtual Summit on Circle

Circle is a customizable community group platform. With it, you can host a summit, course, or any other type of community group when you want to get away from Facebook.

The main benefits of hosting a virtual summit on Circle include:

  1. A custom experience - The various features of the platform allow you to create a custom, exclusive experience for both attendees and speakers where you can communicate in real-time.
  2. Embed posts - Instead of a chatbox on your presentation pages, you can embed a Circle post.
  3. All your groups in one place - Instead of separate Facebook groups for attendees, all-access pass holders, and speakers, all your groups can be in one space. For example, with how my event was set up, only speakers could access the ‘green room’. There was another room for all-access pass holders. If an attendee who didn't have the all-access pass clicked to access that space they'd see a button to upgrade. 

Speaker Presentations and Chats

One of my big issues with some of the summits that I go to is that I can't always find the speaker’s post in the Facebook group. After watching their presentation, I have something to say about it, but the chat is down or I want to talk to the speaker, and I don't know what to do.

Instead of searching and scrolling, Circle allowed me to have a “main stage” where all the speakers were in a grid view. Their posts were already set up and people could see when they were going to go live.

Link Your Videos

And then I realized I could link and embed my videos, which was what made me realize that I didn't need a separate website for my summit at all. I put everything onto Circle. I got rid of all my speaker’s pages on my website and I embedded their videos inside of their Circle posts.

Communities and Connections

Along the sidebar in Circle is where all of the different spaces are listed. I had a community area for general comments and connecting during the day, but there was also a social area of the group and then a separate speaker’s area.

Each attendee or speaker’s Circle feed and posts were unique and customized to their experience, which is an advantage when compared to Facebook where no customizations can be made.

Generally, summits get about 30% of attendees to join a Facebook group, and I had about 46% of attendees log into Circle at least once.

The Registration Process and Circle

I had my registration page, all-access pass upgrade sales page, and ticket pages in ThriveCart. When an attendee bought a ticket, even a free one, they were tagged in Active Campaign. Then, Active Campaign sent out the emails that invited them into the Circle group.

Doing it this way let me customize the invitation link to Circle so that all-access pass buyers had access to their certain areas and free ticket holders got access to their areas.

Generally, summit hosts are encouraged to avoid platforms where attendees will have to log in, especially for the free ticket, because a lot of times having to log into something will increase email support time and attendees tend to get confused. It adds a barrier.

There was minimal confusion with my method. When there was a question about setting up their free account, I recorded a video and made it available to all attendees by linking it in the emails.

When attendees registered for the summit, I had a screenshot and videos to show how to walk through the steps of joining Circle and how easy it was going to be. I factored in the differences between my summit and a summit hosted on a webpage with a Facebook group like most attendees are used to viewing.

Also, if you have a Teachable account, you can log into Circle with the same login information. That was a helpful thing to find for my audience because Teachable is used frequently for courses.

Integrations with Circle

I also realized that I could connect Circle to my CRM, which I have inside of ClickUp. Every time an attendee joined, they were added to ClickUp.

I thought about using Circle to host my all-access pass, but decided to use MemberVault instead. However, all the videos and special events were done within the all-access pass area of Circle

What I love most about Circle

I love the experience of Circle itself. It’s quiet, clean, and purposeful.

I loved that I only had to log into one area and didn’t have to jump between spaces or browser tabs to find information or communicate.

Challenges of Using Circle

While the overall experience was great, I ran into a few challenges.


Before the summit, the group was excited and chatty, and then the summit went live and it got quiet! I wondered why. People were watching the videos, and some were still chatty, but I think the novelty wore off.

Next time I’ll open the chats a week before the summit goes live to keep things fresh and exciting.

Couldn't schedule posts

Another challenge was that I couldn’t schedule posts to go live ahead of time. I got around this by creating a Google doc for each day and I'd click and drag everything over, which was simple to do.

Event notifications

I also ran into a problem with the videos going live and no one being notified that they were live. Instead, I went into the general community and posted that each speaker’s video was live in the main stage area.

Live video

The last thing that was disappointing was that I had tested and retested and tested going live inside of the group.

As of right now, you’re not able to go live within Circle, but you can use Zoom or YouTube. But the week of my summit, I couldn't use any of them; it wasn't working.

I had to record myself and post the Zoom recording instead, which lacked the live and exciting aspect.

Will you use Circle again?

YES! Despite the challenges, I will use Circle at least once more for my summit. I would like to test a few new things with my speakers and see how communication and engagement go.

About Moira

By trade, Moira is a Certified, Accredited Professional Life Coach and Reiki Master focusing on helping parents and caregivers of kids with medical and special needs. After being in the summit space for the last year she's found her superpower and come to be a sought-out asset when it comes to creating and streamlined systems. People talk about being in the flow, Moira flow is systems.

Website  |  Instagram




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You've probably seen the Circle platform used to host course communities, but have you ever considered using it to host a summit? Here’s how to do it!You've probably seen the Circle platform used to host course communities, but have you ever considered using it to host a summit? Here’s how to do it!

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