How do you drive people to you and your business and how does all this technology impact how you have meetings? If you haven’t participated in an online meeting lately, this article should open your eyes to new possibilities. Webinars, teleseminars, and podcasting sites are all great tools to combine with your social media marketing.
Today, you can meet in your office with a group of 2 to 10 employees, but online you can meet with a group of 2 to 2,000 people from around the world. Come and explore the new world of online meetings to network, collaborate, and grow your business and brand.
The term “webinar” came about when someone had the idea to give a seminar over the web. These days, with the cost and inconvenience of air travel, webinars are not only an increasingly popular way to do a presentation, but you can also chat with a loyal following or announce a new product offering to your prospects, clients, and fans. Today’s webinars are different than those from five years ago, and there are some great sites to take a look at. Entrepreneurs and small business owners are saving time and money by delivering webinars to their clients and prospects.
Teleseminars are similar to webinars, but without the computer. A teleseminar takes a phone plus a seminar (or discussion) and it becomes a teleseminar. Participants are given a number to dial into, and the facilitator leads the call. The audience is typically muted so the facilitator can speak without interruption. No business is too small to host a teleseminar. You can even have one with no one on the line but still reach hundreds (if not thousands) of people.
Let me explain. I know many people who have done teleseminars with no one on the receiving end by prerecording it, then posting it on a website or blog or e-mailing it out to intended recipients. For teleseminars, you will still need to plan in advance, but you can promote the same way you do webinars. For topics, you can pretty much host a teleseminar on just about anything. People like teleseminars because they are easy to participate in—you just need a phone. They typically are free or for a low cost, and participants can still get a lot of information without investing a lot in travel time driving to and from the event.
Think you need to be a large corporation to host a webinar or teleseminar? Think again. Today’s entrepreneur and small business owner are successfully using the amazing technology available to talk with prospects and clients and educate fans on what they do. It’s another way to stay connected with people and share your expertise.
Still not convinced how could use a webinar or teleseminar? Check out these ideas:
When hosting a webinar or teleseminar, you must first be prepared. Know how much time you have to speak. Have a timer or clock in front of you and make sure you don’t go over the time. Everyone today wants succinct, to-the-point events. If targeting a variety of time zones, ensure that you are specific about which one is being used (for example, 9 pm Eastern Standard Time). However, do list all time zones and state what time the meeting starts in each one.
Other points to consider:
After you decide that you are ready to do some webinars and teleseminars to grow your business, you need to go back and promote them on all your social media sites. There are arguments for how much time in advance you need to promote your efforts; the bigger your webinar/teleseminar, the more in advance you want to promote. For our purposes here, let’s say you want fewer than 100 people on a webinar/teleseminar. You will want to start promoting about two-and-a-half weeks in advance. Avoid holiday weeks or weekends.
The best times will vary, depending on your audience and industry. Some webinars are done first thing in the morning, at noon, in the afternoon, and even during evening hours. Know your audience and what time they will respond. You might have to either experiment or offer a few different times, or give people a survey to see what time most people respond to. A lot of these webinar and teleseminar companies offer the capability for you to record your webinar so people can play it back at their own convenience.
Although I don’t advocate constant 24/7 self-promotion on Twitter, you can certainly promote your webinar or teleseminar there because there is something beneficial for those who attend. Typically, participants are going to learn something that is going to help them in life or in business. So promote your webinar on Twitter by providing a link to sign up for the webinar in a tweet. Ask staff members, your PR person, or your clients if they would promote the webinar or teleseminar. Typically, if you are connected to them via Twitter, they will retweet your tweet and spread the news to their network.
You can also promote your webinar/teleseminar in the events area on LinkedIn. If you are in groups on LinkedIn, let your groups know. You can also promote your webinar in your status update section. You can even create an event on LinkedIn promoting your webinar/teleseminar.
To promote your webinar/teleseminar on Facebook, simply put it in your status update or post an Animoto video about your event on Facebook.
Here are a few more ides to get the word out:
Here are just a few companies that can help you host a webinar; if you do a search on the Internet, you’ll find plenty of others.
I like GoToMeeting because it’s easy to set up. They offer service for those having phone/web meetings of up to 15 people. Then, they offer GoToWebinar for those who need more space (up to 1,000 people), and an even larger solution for large corporations. There are monthly fees, so check their sites for a variety of programs.
WebEx is very popular within the corporate world for large formal presentations, but it still can be used by the entrepreneur or small business owner for groups of up to 25. It has a few more bells and whistles and there’s a bit more technology involved. WebEx also has a video conferencing service online.
A webinar, web, and video conferencing site, InstantPresenter (instantpresenter.com) is neat because of the video collaboration component. Say you begin talking and then want to introduce someone else, such as a strategic partner, collaborator, vendor, or another employee. Attendees enjoy seeing who is talking. You can also share screens and chat live (via text) on the site.
ReadyTalk has web conferencing, audio conferencing, and webinar and recording services. It prides itself on quality performance and customer service excellence.
MegaMeeting is a web and video meeting tool that allows you to share documents as well as control others’ computers to show them a live demonstration. You can have hundreds of participants and up to 16 video screens simultaneously. The site gets high ratings.
When starting out on your first teleseminar, know in advance it can be a little awkward. You will be talking and not hearing anyone responding back to you. Even simply getting used to talking without a live person in front of you is a bit uncomfortable.
There are many teleseminar companies to choose from, so first ask yourself what you can afford. Then ask friends and associates what they have used. Ask your Twitter or Facebook friends which services they recommend.
After you find one, see if you can do a trial run. An important question to ask yourself is it you just want to speak or if you want to open up the lines to get others talking. This is important because if you want to open up the lines and ask questions, you might need specific types of providers. Also, determine if you want to record the teleseminar and learn how to do this in advance. You don’t want to end the call and then realize somehow it didn’t get recorded. It is also important to understand the recording functionality in advance when selecting a provider as some offer it with their service, but for others it’s an extra charge.
Next, get comfortable with the teleseminar setup and features. Learn how to mute callers. Again, do this so you don’t hear unflattering noises in the background. Before you do your first one, log in at least 15 minutes early to get it set up and going. Just before you begin, send out a tweet (if it’s a public teleseminar) and invite folks to join in. Have fun!
Here are just a few of the teleseminar service providers:
If you haven’t done a podcast before, it can seem a little daunting. Don’t despair; after you’ve done it a few times, it’s not so bad. The word “podcast” combines the words “broadcast” and “iPod.” However, you do not need an iPod to produce a podcast. What you will need is a microphone and computer audio editing software, an RSS feed, and a website or hosting service to which you can upload your podcast.
When you create a podcast, you will want people to get it delivered to them automatically via an RSS feed. When you download a podcast, it’s in the form of an MP3 file.
One option is to use an audio editing program such as Audacity, which has a free audio editing program (audacity.sourceforge.net) that works with both Macs and PCs. To learn how to create a podcast using Audacity, view an easy-to-understand video on YouTube. Go to youtube.com and search for “creating a podcast with audacity” to actually see how it’s done. Once you have created your podcast, you can upload it to the Internet using podcastalley.com or podomatic.com. To create your podcast on other sites, you can go to blogtalkradio.com; your radio show can be used as a podcast.
Podcast.com is a hosting provider that can help you create a distribution format. If you have a WordPress account, use Podpress.org.
After you complete your podcast, remember to market it and upload it onto your social media sites. Facebook has the My Band application, so you can upload it there. Also, put it on your blog and on your website.
Tips to Remember