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When Webinars Meet Social

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When Webinars Meet Social
When Webinars Meet Social

Webinars and social media each remain effective marketing tools that drive engagement and generate leads. Combining the two, however, continues to be a golden strategy for marketers looking to promote, educate, and interact with audiences before, during and after each digital presentation. “Infusing social into webinars is a great way to draw an audience, get the message out, and most important, keep the conversations going,” says Mairead Ridge, senior manager of marketing at Offerpop. Ridge says that if done right, social media will strengthen the performance of webinars in a marketing campaign. They key is to know what steps to take, and when, for maximum results. She offers a few simple, but valuable tips on how social can be helpful at each stage of a webinar campaign.

Building the hype
A social media strategy must be in place long before the actual event, Ridge warns. Marketers should leverage the power of social media to build interest and excitement. “Social is getting the word out. Influencers, social ads, discussions with LinkedIn groups are all great ways to promote participation.” Marketers can do that by soliciting influencers to tweet, post, and chat about the event, which Ridge says creates buzz and encourages the target audience to pre-participate. She adds that great promotion, in effect, means more registrants, and potentially, more leads.

Showtime
Without a doubt, the production behind a social campaign is imperative during the webinar. Live tweeting and hashtags in tandem with the event are a must, but marketers should do more. “Use a so-called fangate—where viewers are required to like your brand if they want receive content,” Ridge says. She encourages marketers to simply ask viewers to share and post by using a call-to-action. In addition, offering extra incentives, such as coupons and gift certificates—perhaps in the form of promo codes given during the webinar—can be a great motivator that will get an audience to watch, participate, and share.

Reaping the benefits
Although important, webinars do more than generate leads, Ridge explains. Webinars keep the conversation going—particularly on social media. “When the webinar is over, that doesn't mean the campaign is over.” Evergreen content can have a second, third, or even an infinite amount of lives, she explains. Marketers can continue to educate their audiences by sharing factoids, blogging about the event, and promoting interaction through discussions on platforms such as LinkedIn.

One more thing
Remember to involve your brand advocates, Ridge says. Brand advocates are not only familiar with your products and services, but also are engaged, loyal, and valuable customers. They expand the reach of a marketing campaign, especially through social media. In fact, 18% of brand advocates have between 300 to 600 people in their online networks, according to digital marketing firm Ciceron. “Make a connection with your brand's advocates. You might even use them as speakers on the webinar,” Ridge suggests. She says that the more you identify with brand advocates—and include them as part of your marketing plan—the more they'll become involved.

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