The current state of webinars
Why is it not dead? Why does it need an upgrade?
Webinars, when they first ran in the 1990s, were used to host online seminars, presentations, lectures, and workshops. Over the years, webinars began to power all kinds of online interactions.
🚀 When sales and marketing permeated the online space, webinars became an indispensable part of a business’ marketing strategy.
📚 As classrooms transcended beyond four walls, webinars became learning spaces.
💻 And when offices became globally distributed, webinars replaced conference rooms and hallways to communicate and collaborate.
There hasn’t been a better channel to broadcast video content, connect synchronously, and share information at scale.
The benefits of running webinars in an online, remote, and distributed world are many. But there is a big gap. 🚨
In an age of video, on-demand webinars, and always available content, we’re all shifting to asynchronous ways of learning. Your audience’s search for good content and information can even end with a podcast, a blog, a book. What do webinars offer that these other formats don’t?
Webinars combine the delivery of useful content with the real-time presence of hundreds and thousands of like-minded people. This is also why they are different from blogs, on-demand videos, podcasts, Clubhouse, and any other learning and social format.
But the common webinar formats (40 minute session. 10 minute Q&A. Chat for engagement) do little to nothing to tap into how audiences who come from similar profiles and want to solve similar problems can connect and collaborate with each other.
Webinars enable the delivery of useful content and knowledge very well. But they do nothing to connect audiences and enable human interactions intentionally and meaningfully.
Webinars also have other gaps that need to be solved for.
- Webinars are a speaker and organizer dominated format. The one-way speaker to audience broadcasts have reduced most webinars to monologues.
- Because of the ubiquity of video, conferencing apps, and remote work, webinar and online fatigue has become real. Webinars don’t do much to beat fatigue. All webinar formats look and work in the same way.
At Airmeet, we built a virtual events platform that helps our customers build genuine connections and deeper engagement through interactive learning and conversation spaces. We are taking our approach on meaningful connections, conversations, and collective learning to the space of webinars.
Introducing, Social Webinars
Imagine if you could meet your attendees right at your webinar for demos, feedback, or introductions in one-one meetings or group conversations. And imagine if your attendees can meet other people in the audience to build connections and learn collectively. This is exactly what we’ve built.
We’re excited to introduce Social Webinars that you can use to both run engaging sessions and to connect and interact with your audience in real-time. Social webinars can unlock sales opportunities faster, and engage your customers and employees better.
Social Webinars are made up of 3 main spaces.
1. The Social Lounge: A waiting room experience that builds connections
The Social Lounge is made up of several virtual tables that your audience and you can hop into after or before sessions to connect and engage. You can assign and set tables for Speaker AMAs, product demos, attendee networking, attendee introductions, and a lot more. Your audience can also use the lounge to run into like-minded people for quick catch ups using speed networking that matches people for smaller catch ups based on their profile.
2. The Backstage: Remove any technical hiccups and go live confidently
The backstage is the space where your speakers, you, and other hosts can prepare to go live by testing the audio and video, take breaks in between sessions, and connect and network with each other.
3. The Stage: Run highly engaging sessions that increase audience retention rate
The stage is where you’ll run your session. The stage is designed to be modern and intuitive to both share great content and information and also encourage dialogue and feedback. With features like Raise hand and come live on stage, immersive emojis, and Polls and Q&As that appear on stage, the stage is built to make sessions highly engaging and increase active consumption that in return increases audience retention.
How to use Social Webinars for lead generation, engagement, and internal events
1. Interact with your prospects in real-time for better and faster acquisition
Webinars are a core pipeline generation and revenue channel. A 2020 Linkedin study says that 67% of marketers were increasing their investment in webinars. With Social Webinars, you can turn your webinars into a virtual sales and marketing floor. Use persona or industry personalized content and a networking agenda to get your prospects in the webinar. Connect 1:1 or in group conversations using the social lounge.
✔️ Generate pipeline even before your webinar ends
Brand a virtual table in the lounge as an “Example company” demo or “Example company case study.” Enroll existing customers to share their experience or your solution specialists to give a live demo. Get feedback on your messaging, product, and pitch.
✔️ Get lead contact time down to a few minutes
Meet your prospects right where they are. Run polls at the end of your webinar to gather interest for your offering. Navigate all interested attendees to the lounge for demo’s, consultations, and Q&As.
✔️ Let your customers do the selling
Connect new prospects with existing advocates. Set up a virtual table to connect advocates with prospects and share case studies or use Speed Networking for shorter 1:1s.
2. Enable exchange of knowledge for your customers. Build long-lasting brand recall and customer loyalty.
Keep your customers in the centre and not your slides by empowering them to actively engage during your sessions and connect with you and other attendees. Your audience can meet other people at virtual tables before the session, continue the collaboration during the session through chat, polls, DMs, and connect back at the virtual table after the session.
✔️ Empower your audience to ‘raise hand’ and come on the stage during sessions.
✔️ Showcase polls and Q&As on the stage to encourage active consumption and participation
✔️ Use Speed Networking to meaningfully yet serendipitously connect your audience using factors like their job title, region, and more.
✔️ Design virtual tables for 1:1s or group conversations around your product, attendee networking, speaker AMA’s and more.
3. Drive engagement and collaboration for your distributed teams
Social webinars are not limited to running external marketing and customer engagement events. Employee engagement for a distributed workforce is a tough nut to crack. At Airmeet, we are our own customer zero and use the product to run product training, orientation programs, all-hands meetings.
Use Social Webinars to:
✔️ Run engaging and collaborative all-hands or town halls
✔️ Host campus placements, quizzes, or seasonal events and celebrations
✔️ Use an always-on social lounge tables for finding and interacting with HR, Finance, or Legal teams
Ather Energy, a leading electric vehicle company, uses Airmeet to run town halls and employer branding events. Here is what they had to say: “The lounge feature in Airmeet was great for forming small chatter groups for networking. It’s a wonderful feature from a bonding perspective and has the ability to recreate a physical event virtually.”