Social media webinar success – how we got there

Social media for BCE webinar screenshot

Last week, with my colleague Andy Stewart, I hosted a webinar to help over 50 education practitioners scattered across the UK working in Business and Community Engagement (BCE) roles.

The lunchtime webinar (recording available here) was titled Social Media for BCE and covered an overview of the different types of social media, offered advice and guidance on their use and presented some examples of effective social media engagement in a BCE context.

We’ve used webinars countless times before for project communications and dissemination but this one was different. It was the first time we had run an event like this that was completely public. Anyone could book on for free.

This made us more self-conscious during the planning process – we wanted to get everything absolutely right.

Getting the plan right

The idea had been in the pipeline for a while. The BCE team are keen to offer practical advice and guidance for those working in engagement roles and social media is a topic that we keep receiving requests about when we ask what kind of help our community is after.

With that in mind, we started to put the plan together.

Working together on content like this can be challenging, as different styles can make the presentation seem disjointed. To avoid this, Andy and I set aside some development days working together in the same location, but using Google Docs to put together the slides collaboratively.

This worked really well, allowing us to review each other’s content and to help us keep to a similar style.

Dress rehearsal and the real thing

After putting the content together, we ran a pilot of the webinar with colleagues here at Netskills and Jisc infoNet.

Their feedback was really helpful and allowed us to make necessary changes such as adding more interactive elements to the session, which left us confident that what we had would result in a successful event.

We then chose a date and started taking registrations.

The interest far exceeded our expectations. We had over 100 people registered to attend. We know from experience that not everyone who signs up for a free event will attend, especially on online events, and expected about half that number to take part.

On the day, that’s exactly what happened. We had a 50% turnout in what turned out to be an interactive and engaging webinar, with lots of questions and discussion at the end.

Charlie @Seneska: Watching a @Jisc webinar on social media. I really like the participation style of the presentation.

Sarah Boswell @SarahBoswell1: Currently taking part in an excellent @Jisc seminar on Social Media for Business and Community Engagement – very useful for higher education

Initial feedback looks very positive, leaving us enthusiastic about choosing a topic and planning our next event.  If you want to have a listen, you can find a recording and resources from the webinar on our BCE blog.