Networking events do what they say on the tin.
Their overall aim is to gather together professionals into one space, at one time, where they can connect with each other.
The customary exchanging of business cards takes place, and job’s a good'un!
And, these events are incredibly effective at doing just that.
But, they're not the only way to achieve this!
Webinars can offer a more relaxed, less formal alternative.
Rather than sending a representative of your company along to one of these events to help expand your contact base, use your online events as a way of networking!
With webinars, organisers have the opportunity to build relationships with those who registered to attend.
The presenter-to-audience dynamic of online events means that you can spark a connection with them through the various interactions that the technology offers!
Let’s see how you can achieve this!
Live Chat, Live Connections
While you can’t beat face-to-face interactions as a means of networking, having text-based communications with people can be equally as powerful.
As you might already be aware, WorkCast webinars have a Live Chat function built into every event auditorium, facilitating a dialogue between the presenter and the audience.
Naturally, this can be used as a way for the audience to message you, perhaps about the content they’re viewing.
And when they do, that’s when you have the opportunity to network!
When they query a particular aspect of your webinar, give them the answer they’re looking for, but also ask a little bit more about them.
- The topics they find interesting
- Their field and profession
- What else you can do for them as a brand
Don’t bombard them with questions, but show a little more impetus with your replies, you might find you build up more of a relationship with that particular viewer.
Of course, you’ll gather more information about your registrants in the registration data you receive when they sign up (more on that later).
But, showing more of an interest in people and what they do is as effective a way of networking as you’ll find!
Organic Networking with Social
When I say networking with your webinars, I’m not simply talking about just the presentation itself, but every single aspect of it!
- Invitation Emails
- Landing Pages
- Social Posts
- The Event Auditorium
Every single one of these cogs in your overall webinar machine is an opportunity to network, particularly through the social media side of things.
WorkCast’s Platform allows users to add social media links to many of the aforementioned aspects, meaning your event can easily be shared by registrants, and yourselves!
What does this have to do with networking you ask?
Well, giving people the opportunity to share your event on their profiles not only gives your event more exposure, but it also gets more like-minded people talking about your webinar.
Then, by tracking who is sharing your event and, in turn, who is viewing this shared content, you’ll gather some prospective clients to start connecting with!
Allow Your Attendees to Network Too!
Your attendees have registered to view your webinar, presumably about a certain, or several different topics.
It’s safe to say that at least have that in common.
That presents the chance for them to connect with other similar individuals.
You can facilitate this networking opportunity for them!
Implementing the Attendee Chat feature with WorkCast webinars, similar to Presenter Chat, allows the audience to converse among themselves during your event.
Okay, in a teaching environment, people talking among themselves while you’re lecturing them would perhaps be seen as a no-no.
Not with webinars!
You want the audience to talk about the content you’re presenting, but it’s also beneficial for them to network with other viewers whilst they’re attending your event.
Creating an environment where attendees can build their contacts, and learn something useful from you at the same time, definitely increases the value of any future webinars you run.
Although you’re not strictly benefitting from your attendees networking with each other in the short-term, in the long-term, your online events may be seen by prospective attendees as a great place to both be educated and engage with other professionals.
Tieing in with the previous section, you can encourage the audience to use and participate in the Attendee Chat via Social Media, by including details about it on your event materials and social posts.
Use That Registrations List!
It goes without saying that schmoozing prospective clients shouldn’t cease once your webinar concludes!
Continuing to get in contact with your registrants via the contact details they signed up with, is an absolute, complete, total necessity.
The bank of contacts you’ll receive, via registrations, is a goldmine to say the least, when it comes to post-event networking.
Webinars have registration forms (obviously...).
So, optimising this aspect of your webinar, will improve your chances of building meaningful contacts from your audience.
Usually, registrant signup contact details on a registration form consist of an email address and telephone number.
But, you can take it a few steps further, should you wish.
Include fields for professional social media profiles:
Are the obvious ones to ask for.
It’s not too intrusive, as you’re looking for their professional profiles and your registration form field will likely state that inclusion of this information is optional.
All of this is designed to give you a broader picture of those who are attending your events.
So, why not use this information to attempt to build bridges with them and increase your client base through networking?
By Matt Tobin
Matt is the resident Content Executive here at WorkCast and joined us last year. He's responsible for creating much of the Blog, eBook and Webinar Slide content you see on the WorkCast website. Also, he hosts the Weekly Tips Webinar every Friday at 2pm GMT (nudge, nudge). Check it out at http://insite.workcast.com/workcast-weekly-tips :)