Webinars are a great way to connect with current and potential customers for both large and small companies. People are very visual, especially when it comes to consuming content and information from companies in both B2B and B2C relationships.
One of my favorite and cheapest ways to get companies involved in producing webinars is by using Google+ Hangouts.
Google+ Hangouts are free to use and stream live to attendees, not just on the company's Google+ page, but through the company's YouTube account well.
Some successful applications of using Google+ Hangouts that I have produced with clients in the past include "How To" webinars for a company's products and/or services, educational webinars about specific topics, Q&A sessions (for example, "Ask an Engineer!") and even sharing a workshop in real-time with those who could not attend in-person.
So what's my best tip for an effective Google+ Hangouts webinar? Engagement before, during and after the webinar.
Engagement should start at least a few days before your Hangout session is scheduled by promoting the event through a company's digital marketing channels, especially through your... you guessed it... Google+ account. These promotions can be strictly informative about the webinar but a more effective strategy is to engage the potential audience with that information. For instance, announce the topic of the Hangout on Facebook and ask your followers what they would most like to learn from the presenter. In addition, share other content that relates to the upcoming webinar to get people interested in the topic that is to be discussed.
During the actual Hangout, continue the engagement by addressing questions from the days before the Hangout as well as questions asked during the Hangout. The presenter can also pose their own questions or polls for the audience to answer. A more creative strategy would be creating a hashtag for the Hangout so that people can tweet information they learn or find interesting. This opens the discussion to people who are not viewing the Hangout and generates more visibility for your company and the webinar topic. At the end of the Hangout, the presenter should invite the audience to continue the conversation on their or the company’s social media accounts.
Following the Hangout, a company can further audience engagement by repurposing the information from the webinar into blogs, infographics, etc. for easy sharability. Because Google+ pages can be connected with YouTube, the company can direct their followers to the recording or post it directly to their social media channels. The company can then ask how the audience has used the information they learned during the webinar or they can pose other questions about the topic that may not have been discussed during the Hangout.
The goal of a Google+ Hangout should be to keep the conversation going with fans and consumers long after a webinar is over and into the sales process.