How Twitter Can Turn One-Way Webinars Into Two-Way Conversations

    by Ellie Mirman

    Date

    December 16, 2008 at 8:07 AM

    Speech Bubble With quite a few webinars under the HubSpot belt, we've been able to nail down our process and even experiment here and there with new techniques to enhance our presentations. One such enhancement has been using Twitter as another means of communication during the event.

    Some time ago we realized that a number of our webinar attendees were already tweeting about our presentations. We were long-time users of Twitter for marketing purposes and we recognized this as another opportunity to extend our reach and create buzz, listen and engage with our community, and add additional value to our events.

    How Twitter Can Turn One-Way Webinars Into Two-Way Conversations

    (1) Extend Your Reach

    By tweeting about the webinar, our attendees were taking what was otherwise a closed event (though free, the event was limited to those who officially registered), and sharing the content with their network outside of that event. We loved this, of course, since we want our content to reach as many people as possible. By encouraging our attendees to tweet about the webinar, the number of tweets increased exponentially, and more and more people were sharing and spreading our content for us.

    (2) Create Buzz

    Not only did this extend our reach, but it also created a fair amount of buzz about us and our webinars. We asked attendees to use the hashtag #hubspot in their tweets about the webinar to help everyone track all the tweets related to the webinar. With the large number of tweets using our event hashtag, we very frequently made it to Twitter Search 's list of Trending Topics, which drove additional buzz and interest in our events.

    (3) Listen to Your Community

    One of the added benefits of using Twitter for questions and comments is that you can really tune into what people are saying about the presentation. With the webinar Q&A system, you will certainly get questions and a few comments directed to you, the organizer and presenter. Tune into Twitter and you'll see what people are saying to each other - not filtered, and not limited to questions about the presentation. This is a great way to get honest (and immediate) feedback about your event.

    (4) Respond More Effectively

    Using Twitter during our webinars has actually made my life - the life of the organizer/moderator - so much easier. What's great about doing Q&A on Twitter is it's public. That may seem a bit scary, but it's actually a lot easier to communicate with the large number of attendees all at once. If there's a technical issue of sorts, we can easily communicate to everyone the situation and when it will be resolved, instead of responding to each individual question about the same issue. This can also help pre-empt more of the same question. The other great thing about doing the Q&A in this public forum is that attendees will actually start answering each other's questions. Sometimes it can be hard to keep up with the stream of tweets and questions, but attendees are able to see and respond to each other's tweets.

    (5) Foster Networking and Communication

    That last note touches on yet another benefit - by fostering event-related conversations on Twitter, you're able to take your attendees out of the dark room of the webinar and communicate with other attendees. They can network, connect, and interact with others who are similarly interested in the topics covered in the webinar. This makes your event valuable not only for the content presented but also for the opportunity for your attendees to network and extend conversations beyond your hour-long presentation.

    Ready to Try It? Here's How:

    Here's how to start using Twitter for your webinars and web events:

    1. Create a hashtag specific to your event.
    2. Communicate to your attendees that you will monitor and accept questions via Twitter.
    3. Make it easy for attendees to tweet with your hashtag .
    4. Make it easy for attendees to follow the conversation related to your event .
    5. Have someone monitoring and responding on Twitter as necessary throughout the event.

    If you want to see this process in action, register for tomorrow's webinar , which is about using these different Internet marketing techniques - Blogging, Social Media, and Search Engine Optimization - together to achieve exponential results (very much relevant to this discussion, too!). Whether or not you join the live event, be sure to tune into the Twitterstream !

    Photo by StreetFly JZ


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