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How To Use Social Media To Increase Webinar Success


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When planning the webinar integrating social media into the process can help you to achieve the results you desire.

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How To Use Social Media To Increase Webinar Success

  1. 1. Jessica Kleppang 2011 How to Use Social Media to Increase Webinar SuccessThere are many elements that attribute to the success of a webinar program, such as relevantand valuable content, an engaging speaker, and use of the right technology. Above all that,however, you need an audience. You could have the best program in the world, but it nobody isthere to hear it, does it exist?Enter social media. When planning the webinar integrating social media into the process canhelp you to achieve the results you desire. Social media will help you do three things: inform,engage and reinforce. Use it during the promotional stage to inform potential audiencemembers about the webinar. Use it during the webinar to engage those attendees in theconversation. Lastly, continue your use of it post event to reinforce the message.So… how can you add social media components to your existing webinar promotion,production, and post event strategies? Part I: Before the WebinarThanks to social media, your potential audience is essentially limited only by the number ofpeople in the world. Well, at least those in the world who are already using social media siteslike the Facebook’s 500 million active users, the 90 million users of Linked In, or Twitter’s 175million. It is most likely that you are already using either one or all three of these platforms. Ifyou are currently not using any social networks this may be the time to get involved.The first way to apply social media is to conduct research and limit your audience recruitmentto those who would be interested in your topic. You want find out where the conversationsabout your topic are happening and spend time in those networks or discussion boards. Tostart you can look up groups on Linked In or Facebook that are related to what your webinarwill be about. You will want to then join those groups you have identified. Most groups will letyou in rather easily, as they want to develop the community of their social media network.However, some Linked In groups may require either certification in the field, references, oreven a written request that outlines the reasons why you should be allowed to join the group.Once you have joined those groups you need to get involved with them and become a memberof that community. Ask and answer questions, link yourself to other members, and offer relatedcontent that others would be interested in. Once you have firmly established yourself as amember, post a link and a description of your webinar. By first establishing yourself, instead ofjust promoting yourself, other group members will be more likely to listen to you and attendthe webinar.Don’t forget about Twitter either! By doing a twitter search of terms you can see who is talkingabout your specific topic. Look at those top users who are tweeting about your topic and start Page 1 of 5
  2. 2. Jessica Kleppang 2011following them. Most likely those you start following will follow you back. This search andfollow method is one way you can create your own network of followers on twitter, which isimportant when you eventually post a tweet about your webinar. Also, look up your speakerand see if they have an account and follow them. You can also look at who they follow and see ifthose people would be interested in your topic.The next step in using social media would be to promote the webinar on social media networks.Now that you have established yourself, or further extended your reach, you can begin toactively promote the webinar. Below are some of the techniques you can use on the differentnetworks: Create blog posts about the topic and your upcoming webinar; make sure to include a link to the registration page If your organization has a facebook page or group post the webinar information to it Post information to those relevant groups that you joined Add social sharing to the email campaign so recipients can invite their friends/followers to the webinar Post to facebook events and Linked In events and invite your network Tweet about the webinar as often as possible. Twitter posts fade quickly and you want keep your followers informed! Invite the speaker to blog & tweet about the event If possible, post a teaser of the webinar Set up a twitter hash tag and share it in all promotional communications (this will be important during the webinar!)The above list if far from complete, I am positive you will be able to think of other creativeways to use your social media to promote your webinar. The point is that the more you put theinformation out there, the more people will be able to find it. As the social media expert JayBear said “every conference has the same MVP: some guy named Google. Why would you passup a chance to double, triple, quadruple your search engine listings?”Using social media to promote the webinar is just the first step. The next installment of thisthree part series will be focused on how to use social media on the day of the webinar. Page 2 of 5
  3. 3. Jessica Kleppang 2011 Part II: During the WebinarIn the weeks leading up to the webinar you have been using social media to its fullest potentialto promote the event. You have your audience and they are ready and waiting for that greatcontent you’ve promised them. It is now time to take those social media networks frompromotional powerhouses into engaging platforms that will keep the attendees involved in theconversation.On the day of the webinar you will want to make one last promotional push. Have all thoseinvolved in the webinar, including the speaker and those who are monitoring the webinar, postan update to their facebook and linked in statuses or twitter accounts. Let the world know onelast time about the great webinar that will be taking place today. Don’t forget to update theorganization’s facebook page or linked in group as well.During the webinar you most effective social media engagement tool will be twitter. This iswhere that twitter hash tag you set up and distributed to attendees will be used. Make sure youhave let attendees know that this is how they can ask questions or post comments during thewebinar. Assign one person on the team to monitor and respond to the twitter feed while thewebinar is taking place. This tactic will make it easy to communicate with everyone at once,which is convenient if there are any technical issues or other problems with the webinar. Byusing this technique you will also be allowing the attendees to connect and interact with eachother. This will make them feel like part of a community and bring that “live” conference spiritinto the mix.You may also choose to have someone live share the webinar. This is done by posting leadingtopics, ideas, commentary, or references via Twitter or Facebook and Linked In status updates.You can also set up the twitter feed automatically post to your organization’s facebook page.This technique is more time consuming, but it can add weight to the webinar content and giveattendees a space in which they can further discuss the webinar’s topic.At the end of the webinar make sure to use the twitter feed to thank the attendees forparticipating. Continue to answer questions or respond to comments for as long as you are able.Ask the speaker(s) to do the same if they are available and create an ask the experts panel. Youwill also want to thank attendees and respond to any questions or comments made to yourother social media networks. Make the responses as specific as possible and thank attendees byname, or their twitter handle, for great questions or insightful comments.Once the webinar has concluded you are not done with social media just yet! The last part ofthe equation is to extend the conversation and reinforce the message(s) of the webinar. Page 3 of 5
  4. 4. Jessica Kleppang 2011 Part III: After the WebinarYou have promoted and engaged; now it’s time to use social media to reinforce the message andcontinue the conversation. The conclusion of the webinar does not mean it is time bow out ofthe social media spotlight. It means that your webinar social media strategy will be divided intotwo separate, but equally significant, objectives. These objectives are divided by those whoattended your webinar and those who did not. For the attendees you will want to continue theconversation. For the non-attendees you will want to share the webinar so that they can getinvolved in the conversation.One of the key values of social media is building long term relationships; therefore it is vital foryou to stay involved with your established networks after the webinar. During the webinar youclearly articulated your message to the attendees and now you want those attendees to takeaction. By continuing your social media engagement and reinforcing your message you arekeeping the organization on the minds of those attendees. This engagement will help get theattendee to take the action you want them too, such as buy your product.At this point of the process you are using social media as a way to nurture your webinarattendees. Continue to participate as a member of the community by offering topic relatedcontent or asking and answering questions. As with your other marketing efforts, follow up is akey component of your webinar social media strategy. Offer attendees ample opportunities tocontact you directly and begin the one on one conversation that can be a crucial step for anattendee to become a customer.There are several steps you can take to keep the conversation moving forward. First, you canput together a summary of the top discussions that took place during the webinar and post thatinformation to your facebook page, linked in group, or blog. Invite all those who were involved,including both the speaker and attendees, to comment further, clarify points, or pose newquestions. You can also take this time to answer any questions that you weren’t able to get toduring the webinar. Continue to monitor the twitter feed for more questions or comments andrespond as needed.The second part of the post webinar social media strategy would be reaching out to those non-attendees. These are the people who either registered and didn’t attend or wanted to attend butwere unable to make it. Just because someone didn’t attend the webinar, does not mean they arenot interested. As we all know, things happen and interested invitees are unable to attend. Postwebinar you should reach out to those non-attendees you connected with pre-webinar.To get these people engaged you can embed the webinar on your social media sites, such as thefacebook page, blog, or website. You can use other social media sites, twitter or linked in, topromote and inform your contacts about where it is embedded. By embedded the webinar youare allowing for two positive things. First, and most obviously, you are letting people view it Page 4 of 5
  5. 5. Jessica Kleppang 2011when they have the ability to do so. This is great for those who have a busy or inflexibleschedule. Secondly, you are giving your social media connections the ability to share thewebinar with their networks. This is truly a great way to spread your message and expand thereach of your webinar.Also, when embedding in the content you can require people to fill out a registration page inorder to view the webinar. This registration page will capture the information about who isviewing it post event. A registration page is a great way to make new connections and (again)expand the reach of your webinar.By embedding in the webinar you are effectively expanding the webinar’s life span. Encourageboth attendees and first time viewers to discuss and ask questions. Again, you will want tofoster and nurture the conversation by asking your own questions and responding to othersquestions or comments. According to Irwine Hispman of Brainshark, a company thatspecializes in embedding and sharing presentations, “for every person who attends, anotherperson will view the replay.”In Conclusion…Social media is a great tool to use as a part of your webinar promotion, production, and postevent strategies. It will help you do three things: inform, engage and reinforce. First use socialmedia to connect to potential attendees and then to inform them about your upcoming webinar.Second, use social media during the webinar to keep attendees engaged in the dialogue. Lastly,use social media post event to reinforce the webinar’s message with attendees and to expandthe reach of your webinar with non-attendees.One last tip…In each part of the strategy make sure your content is easy to share. That is, after all, whatsocial media is all about! Page 5 of 5