Post by Adi Englander
The Internet is undergoing another major transformation. Video is utterly and completely taking over, and live streams are the bells of the digital ball. Digital video’s extreme popularity is not isolated to YouTube and live broadcasts, however, as webinars are also proving to be an increasingly prominent tool.
In a recent 2016 benchmark report conducted by custom webinar service provider, ClickMeeting, it was uncovered that more than 554,000 webinars were held in 2016; a 35% increase over the previous year.
What makes platforms like ClickMeeting, and webinars as a whole, so powerful is not only the popularity and intimacy touted in live video, but also the reuse value obtained from recorded versions as each has the potential to acquire emails, drive traffic, conversions, sales, and more.
Using such solutions allows users to create highly-personalized experiences with polls and surveys, branding elements, waiting room agendas, and other features that audiences adore.
Before we expose how to effectively leverage social media marketing for your next webinar, let’s first discuss the core elements that keep attendees engaged.
Webinar best practices
In the previously mentioned ClickMeeting report, it was noted that roughly 49% of a webinar’s registrants will actually attend. The average number of attendees per webinar was about 26 over the course of 2016, meaning that a brand needs to know when to promote their upcoming lesson in order to drive the highest number of attendees possible.
ClickMeeting’s research reveals that the best time to promote and broadcast webinars is on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays as these are the days when most folks are not busy planning their week ahead or are engrossed in weekend activities. Additionally, broadcasting the webinar between 10 am and 2pm is most advantageous as it caters to east and west coast prospects.
No matter what time you hold the broadcast, you need to keep your audience’s attention. This means that the webinar cannot be too long and needs to be structured correctly.
Most viewers will tune out at the beginning of a webinar if it doesn’t captivate them, meaning that the most important info should be towards the beginning. Additionally, keep the webinar to an hour or less so as to not test people’s perseverance.
It is also wise to announce there will be a Q&A session at the end to try and get folks to stick around for the entire presentation.
And since mobile is one of the driving forces behind the demand for online video, your webinar solution needs to be optimized for mobile; an average of 25% of webinar attendees tune in from a mobile device. This also means that you should optimize your materials for mobile as well by using large images and avoiding small text.
With this knowledge under your belt, it’s time to start using social media’s reach to drive a sizable crowd.
The social spotlight
Before you actually begin promoting your webinar, it is best to start creating some hype around its topic. Start by posting questions to your audience and engaging in the comments section as well as publishing and sharing blog posts that show your intimate understanding of the problem. These can also be used as a promotional vehicle by including a webinar signup CTA at the end.
After generating a bit of buzz, start creating and publishing social posts across all of your existing accounts that let your followers know about the event. Be sure to include a shortened URL by using Bit.ly. This will make it easier for Twitter followers to share the post as well as provide analytics around the clicks driven from each social network so that you can find out which are most prosperous. You will need to create a unique URL to be shared on each platform for this to work.
To help increase the discoverability of your posts, craft and include a unique and relevant hashtag on your Twitter and Instagram posts; hashtags are not as beneficial on Facebook.
Additionally, your posts need to include a compelling and applicable image. It is important to note, however, that image size optimization varies from platform to platform. Here are the dimensions you will want to apply to avoid image distortion:
- Facebook: 1,200 x 628 pixels
- Instagram: 1,080 x 1,080 pixels
- Twitter: 1,024 x 512 pixels
- LinkedIn: 700 x 400 pixels
To help increase the visibility and number of signups your webinar generates, paid social ads are a powerful and effective solution. Using this method, you can reach people who would be most interested by targeting them based on age, location, interests, and various other options.
Moreover, Facebook provides custom and lookalike audiences so that you can direct your efforts towards people who recently visited your website, are on your email list or are similar to people who are already interested in your brand.
When creating social media ads, you will want to include all of the aforementioned elements. It is also necessary to structure your promotion in a way that will be most beneficial for driving registrations.
Use the ad’s intro text (above the image) to briefly address the webinar’s topic, the benefits attendees will receive, guest speakers that will be involved (if applicable), and what folks need to do to sign up.
Using the allotted space below the image, be sure to highlight the main benefits using lines like “FREE webinar training on XXX,” “Learn how to XXX with this FREE webinar,” or something similar.
Webinars can be monstrously effective at building email lists, driving conversions and sales, along with other digitally-focused goals when they are structured and promoted correctly. Using these guidelines, you should be able to craft a compelling webinar that drives tons of signups and helps you reach your designated KPIs.Adi Englander is a freelance writer and social media expert who writes for Gerris digital, a full-service digital strategy firm in the Washington, DC, area.