We might as well be honest about it; the human attention span just ain’t what it used to be. The modern world is brimming with shiny bright distractions that are trying to sabotage us at all times. While real life meetings and lectures are only targeted by a wandering imagination and a nice view from the window, online content is more challenging. With viewers often watching alone or at home, there’s nothing to stop the mind - and the mouse - going amiss, and all of a sudden you’re one viewer down because they’re off watching dog videos instead.
This is why interactivity in content is becoming such an integral aspect of digital marketing - it offers something unique to attract, and most importantly, keep the attention of a consumer above the internet white noise of online content. If your webinar isn’t up to scratch, there’s nothing to keep your attendees viewing. There’s no walk of shame from leaving the seminar room early - you need to keep them committed by keeping them engaged and involved.
Webinars are centered around a presentation - but their purpose is to be a dynamic, engaging piece of long-form content that's effectiveness is linked to its interactivity. Have you just noticed the error of your ways? Well, don’t panic yet. We’re going to tell you all about how to make your webinars interactive - and more engaging in the process.
One of the biggest culprits for stealing our attention is social media. When the mind wanders these days, it tends to go to aimlessly scrolling through a timeline.
With interactive webinars, you can kill two birds with one stone: rather than fighting against the allure of social media mindlessness, integrate it into your presentation and use it to interact seamlessly with your attendees.
Some providers (like us) allow customisable tools, like Twitter widgets, to be added to your webcast. This means that your attendees can view their feeds directly from the webinar, without having to open a new browser or resort to scrolling through their phone. Best of all, Twitter is one of the most useful platforms for engaging and interacting with an audience, particularly for a B2B orientated webinar; members of your industry who follow each other can generate conversation in concordance with the webinar topic.
Prepare hashtags for your audience to use to reach out to other attendees they may not know or follow. Even better, your webinars, business and products will automatically be promoted across the feeds of your attendees, expanding your reach for next time. After the webinar has finished, you can also use these hashtags to continue conversations, garner feedback and even source inspiration for your next webinar by asking questions or identifying key discussion topics for your industry.
Depending on your audience, LinkedIn or Facebook could also be key tools for your webinar. Integrate these platforms with shareable links that your attendees can share onto their own timelines and grow your potential audience.
A little more conversation
That’s one thing Elvis did get wrong. Conversation is fantastic to include for more engaging webinars. While these are not meetings - and shouldn’t be approached as such - it’s really useful to integrate chatbox functions.
Similarly to the approach of utilising Twitter hashtags, a chatbox means that your attendees can communicate during the webinar. This allows for a controlled way for users to offer their own thoughts, as well as communicating directly with the speaker. It also means that you’re able to check in with them and ensure that everyone is following the webinar - which is especially helpful for a training session. It’s a wasted experience if your attendees aren’t grasping something, or feel it’s moving too fast, yet have no way to let the speaker know.
A chatbox can become hard to follow, so it’s often a good idea to have a colleague manage this for you. That said, using entirely written communication is a much smoother process, as it negates the possibility of crackly connections or too many people talking at once.
Q&As are another way to increase interactivity in your webinars. Advise your audience in advance so that they can prepare live questions for the end of the session - no one wants that embarrassing moment when you open up the floor for questions and the only sound is the gentle breeze of a tumbleweed. With our FastCast system, you can generate questions from on-demand viewers to answer by email - it’s interactive even when it’s not live.
Alternatively, bring in a co-host or guest speaker. It could be fun to open up a Q&A with them, involving your audience and allowing them the chance to quiz a thought leader, or keeping them on the edge of their seat with some on-the-spot thinking from the pair of you. Furthermore, introducing other speakers keeps things dynamic and breaks up the session.
Visualise, visualise, visualise
Never underestimate the power of visual tools. Keep things interesting by implementing interesting slides, and visually appealing content like infographics and imagery where necessary.
Video inserts are also a fantastic way to engage your audience. Whether this is a guest speaker who couldn’t be there live, a visual demonstration of a product or idea, or anything in between, this is a dynamic way of recapturing any of those pesky wandering attention spans we mentioned. Use a good interface that allows your videos to be shown side-by-side and seamlessly against your webinar to ensure you don’t lose points by looking dodgy and unprofessional.
Remember those chatbox and social media features? Yeah, visual and video tools are perfect for starting discussions and gathering feedback. A good provider will allow you freedom and creativity, so there are plenty of ways you can use these to spark interactivity.
Webcasting tools and widgets
Does your webcasting provider offer you customisable tools and widgets precisely for interactive purposes? If not, it may be time for an amicable separation (or an angry break up.)
We don’t want to brag (much) but our FastCast system comes with a variety of these kinds of tools, because we understand the vitality of using them to make your webinars stand out and better for lead generation.
Breaking up the dialogue with these is ideal. For example, implementing live polls could help you to generate new content or engage with current content, as well as checking up on your audience’s comprehension of the topic. Discussions can be centered around the results. The same can be said for surveys; we offer real time questionnaires that you can customise for the purposes of your audience.
We can also help you to provide a series of downloadable resources for attendees. This is really useful, because it means that you can provide any kind of visual or interactive tools that you want to fuel your webinar, challenge your audience or gather research for potential future products.
When implementing all of these, it’s important that your provider offers a real time method of data collection and reporting tools. Otherwise, you have no way to measure your subsequent lead scoring and ranking and comprehending how successful your webinar actually was in terms of engagement, interaction and lead generation. FastCast offers this, but whatever provider you actually use, this is a must.
These are just a couple of suggestions on how to make an engaging webinar - the truth is, with a good provider, alongside thorough research and preparation, the possibilities are literally endless. Be creative, innovative, and most importantly, don’t let your webinars be boring. Check out our Knowledge Bank for more nifty webinar tips, and get in touch if you’ve got any questions!