Using Social Selling to Promote Webinars and Increase Attendance.
Updated: Oct 10, 2021
With the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, large-scale events and conferences worldwide have been cancelled or postponed, causing a negative economic ripple effect across businesses. Marketing and sales teams are usually flooded with events in their annual calendar for branding and lead generation activities but have found that they needed to adjust their tactics to generate results.
The year of 2020 brought a boom of webinars and other virtual events. The more traditional companies found it more difficult to transition into an all digital realm while some other organisations have been quick to pivot.
What is a webinar?
According to Merriam-Webster, a webinar (or web seminar) is “a live online educational presentation during which participating viewers can submit questions and comments.” Webinars are events, video presentations, workshops or training sessions, hosted and delivered online using software.
What are some benefits of a webinar?
Hosting physical events can be very costly. Webinars however, are extremely cost effective. Think about it, there are no costs for the venue, furniture rental, catering, event staff, travel and lodging expenses for speakers and so on.
Webinars are highly scalable. You are not bound by the constraints of a physical location so attendee numbers are limitless generally speaking. Furthermore, geography is not a barrier as you can accommodate attendees from all over the world.
Greater audience insights. Webinars give you a unique opportunity to collect audience data for better insights. Beyond personal, demographic, and professional information that attendees would have provided upon registration, webinars also allow you to collect more information through polls and surveys which can be used to improve your business.
Webinars generate less waste. Save on environmental waste and carbon emissions caused by air travel. Save on time spent setting up and tearing down a physical event space. Save on costs for printing conference collateral and creating swag for door gifts. Save on food waste from leftover catering.
What is social selling on LinkedIn?
Let's first start by defining the backbone of this blog, social selling. What does it mean? Well, social selling is the art of using social media to find, connect with, understand, and nurture sales prospects. It’s the modern way to develop meaningful relationships with potential customers so you’re the first person or brand a prospect thinks of when they’re ready to buy.
When done right, social selling doesn’t involve any selling in the traditional sense. It’s meant to start conversations online and ultimately move them offline, where you can get to know your prospect better.
Why is it an effective tactic to promote webinars?
The social selling methodology is one that every commercial team needs to implement in their lead generation plan. Using this approach, marketing & sales teams can successfully promote their digital events on LinkedIn and by success, we mean high registrations and attendance rates.
Now to answer the "why" part. Firstly, all your prospects are on it! There are close to 700 million users (and growing) on LinkedIn globally. Secondly, LinkedIn is a high value and trusted peer to peer platform. Thirdly, you can be very specific in segmenting and targeting your audience (ideal prospects) and finally, people are always interested in valuable content and building relationships so with the right approach, the possibilities are endless.
The mistake that most commercial teams make however, is relying heavily on Inmails through sales navigator to invite prospects to webinars. While Inmails do generate better results than traditional emails, they are very easy to dismiss. If your prospect chooses not to accept your Inmail, the dialog and potential is lost forever.
This is why social selling is key as you build your network with your ideal prospects. Through this methodology, you connect with your prospect first and foremost. You see when you connect with your prospect, a certain amount of trust is built already as he/she has viewed your profile and has concluded that you can add value to their network. Connect with a personalized message and always lead with empathy and value thereafter. Here are some tips to spark-up your LinkedIn profile.
After this phase, you can communicate freely with your prospect with for example, invitations to digital events and expect good results (don’t over-do the communication!).
Be sure to have a high converting landing page that you link them to and let the process take its course. Again, you must lead with empathy and value to increase the chances of a response. When done right, this process is highly effective and affordable in comparison to advertising, physical event hosting & sponsorships and so on.
Using your 1st degree connections as your marketing database:
The definition of a 1st degree connection on LinkedIn is someone who you are already connected with. So if you have a big number of prospects in your network that you have built up over the years, it makes sense to invite the relevant prospects directly through a personalized message. Statistics have shown that it is just not enough to share your event on your own feed as that lacks the personal touch and it can be easily missed by your ideal prospects. Don’t forget, the objective is to get registrations so if your webinar is attractive and you get your targeting right, you will get many positive responses through this personalised approach.
We at Leadriver can help you accelerate and scale the entire process. We can very quickly identify the most suitable prospects in your 1st degree connections and reach out to them at scale with persuasive messaging on your behalf, saving you and the greater team a ton of time.
However, if you need to grow your 1st degree connections in certain industries or in different markets first, we can also accelerate that process for you also. Furthermore, communicating with your 1st degree connections once in a quarter for example with information relevant to them can prove to be very effective as it keeps you and your brand on top of mind. The content you send across must be of high quality or you may receive negative impressions. Valuable content is key.
LinkedIn by the Numbers:
The good news is that, according to LinkedIn, 76% of buyers are ready to have a social media conversation with potential providers, and more than 62 percent of B2B buyers respond to salespeople who connect with them to share insights and opportunities relevant to their business. Even better, 92% of B2B buyers are willing to engage with a sales professional who is a known industry thought leader, a reputation you can establish by consistently posting thoughtful, relevant content on social media.
LinkedIn has close to 700 million users across over 200 countries. More often than not, the prospects you are looking to connect with will be active on the platform.
Hubspot found that LinkedIn is 277% more effective at generating leads than Facebook and Twitter in a study that researched over 5000 B2B companies.
How else can you promote your webinar?
There are a number of ways to promote webinars such as posting about it on your social media, blogging about it, posting it on sites like eventbrite, getting speakers to share the event on their social platforms, emailing your database, advertising and so on. However, every sales and marketing professional is vying for attention online and it can get pretty noisy. How many emails are your prospects receiving per day from marketing teams? How many posts does he/she see in her feed daily? How many adverts? The answer is too many. Cut through the noise and have real conversations.
There are a number of ways to promote a webinar but the social selling methodology on LinkedIn is highly effective in performance and cost saving. However, this does not mean you can’t use different tactics in conjunction with one another to increase your chances but when you do, just be sure to ask for your prospect’s LinkedIn url in the webinar registration form so that the relevant colleague in your commercial team can then get connected on LinkedIn and start the social selling process.
So take for example, you received a sign up form from someone who saw an ad for your webinar, the relevant team member should connect with that person on LinkedIn with a connection message that looks something like this;
“Hi (First Name),
I saw your name on the list of attendees to our “.....webinar” and we can’t wait to host you. We are going to be producing a round-up blog with the key insights from the audience after the webinar and I would like to send it to you personally. Let’s connect here and see you at the webinar!
We at Leadriver can help you accelerate your social selling efforts to systematically generate more qualified leads on a monthly basis via LinkedIn based on your campaign objectives. In fact, we guarantee results! Contact us at email@example.com to find out how.