Tips for Using Social in Webinars (Marketo Panel, Part 3)

This post is the third in a three-part series sharing my take on each question from a panel discussion at last week's Marketo Good to Great virtual event. On Friday, I covered my take on the hot trends in online events (spoiler alert: I said integration and content marketing). Today, let's talk about the key role social marketing is playing in modern webinars.

What effect is social marketing having on online events?

Social is helping marketers drive better results from their investments in webinars and touching every aspect of online events – from promotion to audience engagement to post-event.

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Before the Event: Social Promotion

You can use social sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook not just as channels for promoting your event to your existing audience, but as a way to exponentially expand the audience for your event. We’re seeing more and more marketers include social sharing buttons on their webinar invitations, registration pages, and even reminder emails. This makes it extremely easy for prospects to share the event with their own social networks and has a real impact on results.

In fact, one of our customers increased registration numbers by 111%, blew away their registration record by a whopping 246 people, and nearly doubled their attendance numbers simply by adding social sharing buttons to their event-related emails and pages.
 
On a side note, did you know that ReadyTalk makes it easy to tap into your audience's social networks with our social sharing tools? Read more in my post on this topic.

During the Event: Engagement

Social – particularly Twitter – is playing more and more of a role during the live event as well and it can really help you keep your audience engaged. Here are a few tips for using Twitter effectively during your next webinar:
  1. Create a hashtag for every event and display it (and your Twitter handle) on every slide. 
  2. Encourage your audience to join the conversation on Twitter.
  3. Have someone on your team live tweet the event and monitor activity on the hash tag.
  4. Display key messages on slides in 140 characters or less to make them easily tweetable.
 

After the Event: Recording Distribution

Social can even play a role after your event. If you aren’t already, share the webinar recording on your corporate Facebook page, YouTube channel, Twitter, and relevant LinkedIn groups. This will help you reach more people and drive more leads from your event recording.  
 
How else do you use social to make your webinars more successful?
 

 

3 Hot Webinar Trends (Marketo Panel, Part 2)

This post is the second in a three-part series sharing my take on each question from a panel discussion at this week's Marketo Good to Great virtual event. Yesterday, I shared my thoughts on what makes a webinar great vs. good. Today, let's talk about the latest trends for webinars and online events.

3 Hot Webinar TrendsWhat are the hot trends in online web events and webinars?

Trend 1: Integration

One of the hot trends I’m seeing in online events is the integration of webinar platforms with other applications, particularly with marketing automation platforms like Marketo. There’s so much valuable behavioral data captured during a webinar – attendance data, polling responses, chat conversations – but until now, that data has been locked in your webinar platform and it took a lot of effort to get it into another system. 
 
The problem here is that this manual work delays follow-up and, as we all know, slow follow-up has a major impact on conversion rates. I saw a March 2011 Harvard Business Review article that stated:
 
“Firms that tried to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving a query were nearly 7x as likely to qualify the lead … as those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later—and more than 60x as likely as companies that waited 24 hours or longer.”
 
That’s an amazing stat that illustrates how quickly leads grow cold!
 
At ReadyTalk, we’re working with partners like Marketo to automatically capture webinar data in their platform so marketers can act on it instantly – driving timely and relevant follow-up, lead scoring, and audience segmentation into different nurturing programs based on audience behavior. Note to Marketo users: check out the new integration between Marketo and ReadyTalk.
 

Trend 2: Content Marketing

Another trend that’s hot right now is content marketing. While the live webinar is valuable in and of itself, webinars provide a rich source for high-value content to use in your ongoing content marketing efforts. You can really get a lot more bang for your buck by thinking beyond the end of the live event.  We’ve seen customers do some pretty creative things with their webinar assets. Here are a few ideas for creating content you can use on your blog, on social channels, and in nurturing programs:
  • Market the recording as an on-demand event for audiences you missed the first time.
  • Break the recording into a series of brief sound bites that each hit on a key point.
  • Craft a blog post sharing key takeaways from the event or a recap of the Q&A.
  • Transcribe the event and turn it into an e-book.
  • Create a companion infographic that visually communicates key messages.

 

Trend 3: Social

Finally, social is another key trend. In fact, it's such a trend that it warranted it's own question, so stay tuned for part three of this series on Monday for my take on the role social plays in webinars.

 
What other trends are you seeing in online events?

Marketo Panel, Part 1: Great vs. Good Webinars

Marketo webinars

 

 

 

 

 

This week, I had the opportunity to be part of a panel discussion at Marketo's Good to Great virtual event. The topic was making online events awesome. Tom Grubb from Marketo posed three questions to the panel:

  • What makes a great online event versus one that's just good?
  • What are the hot trends in online events?
  • What effect is social marketing having on online events?

This post is the first in a three-part series sharing my take on each question. What advice would you add for marketers?

Planning for Successful WebinarsWhat Makes a Great Online Event Versus One That's Just Good?

I think the single biggest thing that sets a great webinar apart in a sea of mediocre online events is PLANNING. Great events don’t happen by chance – a lot of time and energy went into every aspect of making them successful. Don’t shortchange yourself by not allowing adequate time upfront.

At ReadyTalk, we recommend starting the planning process at least 4 to 6 weeks prior to the live event. Each event can take 20-25 hours of preparation and planning.

Take time to consider your audience: What is a topic that is going to catch their attention? Who is the right speaker? What’s the best format for the event? Your job is to deliver content that is compelling to your audience in an interesting way.

Spend time on the event title and abstract – it can make or break your event. Tell people what they will learn and why they should give you their valuable time. Promise them actionable takeaways. Consider other formats like panel discussions or expert interviews vs. a traditional 1-hour webinar with slides.

Pull together a comprehensive strategy for promoting your event. You’ll need more than a mention on your website and an email invitation to drive registrations. Plan to leverage social channels, partners, your speaker’s professional network, community sites, paid search, and other tactics to get the message out there.

Don’t overwhelm prospects with a long registration form. Keep it short and sweet to increase conversions and then learn more about your audience during the live event.

Make sure everyone involved is prepared for the live event. You definitely don’t want to wing it. Hold a full dry-run with your speakers so everyone is well-versed on their portion of the presentation, in sync on hand-off points, etc.

Audience engagement doesn’t happen organically. Encourage it by building in opportunities throughout the session. Sprinkle in 2 or 3 polling questions. Invite your audience to join the conversation on Twitter.  Ask attendees to share their own stories and ideas via chat. Don’t subject your audience to “death by PowerPoint.” Weave in other types of content like video clips to keep things interesting.

Finally, have a follow-up plan before the event ends and act on it. Send your follow-up emails as soon as you can – preferably within hours of the live event. Get hot leads to sales right away so they can strike while the iron is hot. Answer any outstanding questions from the audience in a timely manner. Get your hands on the recording and start putting it to good use.

What tips do you suggest for planning for a webinar or web event?

Marketing Experts Discuss “Events Made Easy” on Marketo Panel

Join ReadyTalk and Other Event Experts at Marketo's Good to Great Virtual Event, Nov. 14

Anita Wehnert, ReadyTalk's Director of Product Marketing, will have her webinar best practices hat on for the Events Made Easy panel at Marketo's virtual event this week. Join her and other events expertMarketo Logos for answers to:

·  What makes a great online event versus one that's just good?

·  What are the hot trends in online events?

·  What effect is social marketing having on online events?

·  How do you decide whether an event should be a webinar, virtual event, or physical event?

ReadyTalk recently announced its latest integration, ReadyTalk for Marketo, which is free and available to ReadyTalk and Marketo users as a step within the Marketo Design Builder. ReadyTalk is also proud to be a service partner within Marketo's new ecosystem launching November 13.

The Marketing Nation helps you plug into a powerful network of ideas, experts, and integrated solutions. Register now to join more than 3,500 marketers for this upcoming virtual event. Hope to "see" you there!