In the past few months, there have been several discussions on the ReadyTalk blog about using social media, and other outlets, to expand the reach of your potential webinar attendees. Simone Verhulst, our Marketing Demand Generation Manager, recently gave several ways (34 ways to be exact!) to reach new audiences, which included tapping into user groups and online communities, while Anita Wehnert, Director of Product Marketing, pointed out the various promotion tools that ReadyTalk offers to those marketers that use webinars for lead generation.
But what's another way to use social media to engage your audience before the webinar even begins? AND ensure that you are covering the content your attendees are looking for?
Social media strikes again!
Many webinar organizers use the registration form as a vehicle to collect more information about their participants prior to the event, but mostly for lead qualification purposes. However, social media channels, like Facebook and Twitter, allow you to start the conversation prior to your webinar, between you and your individual participants, as well as each other.
How do you engage your participants prior to your webinars?
As ReadyTalk’s Director of Strategic Partnerships, Anita is focused on understanding market needs and working with partners to solve customer problems through integration. Before joining ReadyTalk, she gained first-hand experience with the challenges of running a webinar program while serving as director of marketing at an IT analyst firm. When she’s not thinking about conferencing, she likes to ride her bike, travel, and spend time with her dogs.
Connect with Anita on Twitter, @AnitaWehnert.
It was just over a year ago that Catherine Harrison and I (Katie Green) showed up at ReadyTalk ready to take on the challenge of filling hard to find positions within engineering. Having both had backgrounds in agency recruiting and a year contract with Google, we felt our backgrounds had prepared us for the job! Not only was this a fun challenge, but we had the awesome opportunity to create ReadyTalk Engineering Recruiting from the ground up.
The first step was to put a process in place that we could share with Dan Cunningham (CTO) and Jason Collins (VP Engineering) so they understood how we were going to help build their engineering team. This included implementing a more aggressive referral program which we named "ReadyTalk Referral Program" or "RRP." Catherine and I sat down with each and every engineer to find out who they had worked with in the past, who they went to school with and who they were connected to on LinkedIn, Facebook or any other social media avenue. Referrals are the number one way to find and connect with superstars. As they say, good people know good people. This certainly held true as we had several hires within our first few months that came from ReadyTalk Engineers.
Our second step was candidate sourcing. For those of you that haven't heard this term before, sourcing essentially means scouring the pages of LinkedIn, university websites, networking groups and other internet resources. We then reach out to individuals who look like they could potentially be a great fit at ReadyTalk. The trick is that they are already working and might even be happy. This is where we convince them that we just want a few minutes of their time to share with them how great ReadyTalk is. Sourcing is what puts the wheels in motion and gives us the ability to put a greater volume of talent in front of our hiring managers. If a candidate we present looks like a good fit we will move forward in the interview process. This includes a phone interview, talents interview, technical interview and finally a cultural interview. Most candidates really admire our process and feel that they get the chance to really understand what ReadyTalk is all about.
The last stage includes offer negotiation, letter of employment and setting up the new engineer's first week or two of training. When we finally have a candidate that is a perfect fit for ReadyTalk and vice versa we have the great honor of moving forward with the offer! We will typically call our candidate and make our verbal offer as well as discuss the fantastic benefits package that ReadyTalk provides. We then send the Letter of Employment and let the team know that a new engineer will be joining their team! We have continued to streamline our onboarding process and have made some great improvements so the newest members of our team feel welcome and know what to expect.
We are excited and proud to help grow this fantastic company. It is nice to know that the work we do directly effects the outcome of our ReadyTalk products. As we add talented engineers to the team it means that ReadyTalk can provide a great cutting-edge technology that our customers love. If our products are amazing that means marketing and sales have more to be excited about and have the opportunity to share with our customers and future customers the great technology that we provide. It is amazing how it comes full circle and that by hiring the best and the brightest we have the opportunity to be a part of something great.
In honor of our first year we would like to thank ReadyTalk and the great people that gave us a chance to prove ourselves. Thank you to Dan King, Scott King, Dan Cunningham and Jason Collins. If it wasn't for this team of people that gave us the ability to just "run with it" we wouldn't have been nearly as successful.
As of today we have extended 27 offers and have had 24 accepts! Not bad for year one. We look forward to keeping this ball rolling, so if you are a great engineer or know one and what to join our amazing team be sure to connect with Catherine or me on LinkedIn.
For those of you just starting a webinar program, hopefully this post is timely. For those of you that have been running webinars for months, maybe even years, this is probably an area that you’ve struggled with at one point or another and are always looking to improve and expand. The big hairy monster, the reason you put on those webinars, the thorn in your side (ok, maybe not that bad) – getting registrants!
In my world (the lead generation side of marketing), the purpose our webinars is to bring in qualified leads Where do you find your audiences? And, more importantly, the right audiences?
There a number of ways you can find a targeted audience: most tend to come through email blasts to a segmented list from your database or maybe you bought that segmented list. But what about supplemental promotion? If you’re limited to lists, you’re not tapping into your network. Think about social media, user groups, event calendars, online communities, etc. Hopefully this post will shed some light on a few specific places that we use most for our webinar series that can be used for your events as well.
EventSpan – This is a great site for syndicating webinars and virtual events to bump up registration. There are a number of ways so promote and track progress and even manage speaker information through a company profile page where you can upload additional content such as whitepapers. You can also push out messages to your social network through the site, knocking out two birds with one stone. Another perk is the ability to create watchlists, whether it be for a topic, speaker or even company.
WebinarListings.com – A central source of webinar listings (thus the name) covering a number of industries, both national and international. They have a couple of options, both paid and free versions of listings. The paid version range from $30-$250 and includes items such as additional data, advertising/promotion, and priority result in search. Both live and recorded events can be listed.
WebinarBase – Listings on this site start at $2 and go up to $19. The more you pay the more categories you can list your event in plus additional promotion (twitter stream, facebook updates, top listing on homepage & access to user topic requests). This site is pretty straight forward, no real bells or whistles to speak of but still an additional resource to get the word out.
Webinar Bucket – Just recently came across this site – not as much information available since it’s in a beta version currently but worth a try if you’re just getting started with your webinar program. There is no charge to submit your webinars on this site and there are 30 different categories you can list your events in.
On the social side, we’ve seen additional success through our YouTube channel and posting the events to applicable LinkedIn Group pages. Check out some examples of our promotional “webinar trailers”; often times we’ll link to a video clip in a guest blog post from the speaker leading up to the webinar. Regarding your LinkedIn network – check out these groups for starters and start a discussion applicable to your event or list it on the promotions tab:
- ReadyTalk Webinar Series Group (ok, I’m a little bias on this one)
- American Marketing Association
- Event Calendar for Marketing, PR and Sales Innovators
- eMarketing Tips
Need even more ideas? Check out this blog post with additional resources, twenty-five to be exact. I’ve listed a few already but this is a good place to start. Hopefully you came across a few new venues for promotion that you hadn’t uncovered yet. Am I missing any? Drop us a line and share the wealth if you know of others that you’d recommend!