I had a chance to speak with Mike Stelzner, author of Writing White Papers How to Capture Readers and Keep Them Engaged, about a recent webinar he hosted, the Social Media Success Summit. The live online event spanned over a month and brought the brightest minds in social media marketing together and they never even had to get up from their desks.
"Social media happens to be the hottest thing on the planet," Mike stated. His summit brought together some of the biggest names on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and demonstrated the benefits and uses of these social networks to grow the buzz about your small business.
The most unique part of this event? It was a virtual conference. "It's a great way for me to impart a lot of knowledge on a lot people." Mike is absolutely right, virtual conferences can reach a large or small group of people worldwide. Mike was kind enough to give some tips for the business or individual looking to get involved in webinars on a small scale, or even the larger scale.
Have a helper
When you have a presenter, they should be able to be focused on just that, presenting. Assign someone else to keep an eye out for incoming questions, to sort through them if you're prescreening, as well as someone to field any connection questions.
Speak live in a way that will sound just as great on a recording.
Be mindful that this seminar will be available for people to listen to at a later time. Maybe they missed the first day of your seminar; maybe they missed the last day, or maybe they are just interested in writing down some of the smart things you said. Either way you want to make sure that everything is going to translate into a recorded format while you're doing the live conference.
Keep your audience engaged
"Something as simple as a poll question can really get people engaged." Ask your participants their opinions. 'Would you do this?' 'Is this something you would like to see more of?' Make your participants part of the conference and not just quiet observers to keep them excited about the topic and more likely to come back for the next event. Encourage them to interact with you via Facebook and Twitter. This will help them stay engaged and will give you instant feedback.
Provide different options to encourage questions.
Instead of just offering your guests or clients the old fashioned voice submission for questions, allow them to submit their questions via email, chat, or text. It's not always an easy thing to get people to open up. Have some questions ready yourself in the event that you might not get any questions submitted. "When it comes to taking questions that are live, you can run into some real technical challenges if you're not familiar with the platform. So I always believe in having a backup plan in place, and maybe even some back up questions."
These are just some of the tips that Mike was nice enough to offer, and I hope that you apply some of them to your next virtual event or conference call. If you'd like to find out more about Mike Stelzer, you can visit him on Twitter, @mike_stelzner.