So, you’ve run your webinar. As far as you know, the content was interesting, as you attracted a considerable number of registrations and saw a great attendance rate. But, how engaged were your audience throughout the presentation? Did you interact with them at all and if so, how can you quantify these interactions?

When running a webinar, it’s not always easy encouraging engagement and interactions with the hundreds (or thousands) of attendees sitting behind their computer screens. Luckily, we have compiled a comprehensive list of 7 ways you can encourage interaction during your next webinar, so you can prevent drop-offs and the sound of crickets when you invite attendees to participate.

1. Webinar Q&A

This one may seem simple, but inviting attendees to ask questions during your webinar is a sure-fire way to encourage interaction with your audience. It’s no coincidence that most of the webinars we run at WorkCast include a Q&A section at the end of the presentation. Doing so encourages engagement and gives you the opportunity to personalize the experience for attendees.

You can either save all of the questions for the Q&A section of the online event, or you can simply answer them throughout if you want to maintain the flow of communication going. If you have a moderator, you may want them to answer the questions, as it’s proven that a change in voice during an event will keep people engaged.

If you’re looking to personalize the experience for attendees, then you might even want to use their first names when answering questions, e.g. “Carl asks ...” It’s no secret that we all get a kick out of hearing our name mentioned on a live broadcast

Related: Learn how to host a successful live Q&A in 3 easy steps

2. Live Webinar Chat

If you’re looking for a more immediate medium of interaction with your audience, then you can opt for the Live Chat function. This function differs from Q&A, as it allows your audience to not only interact with the presenters, but with fellow audience members - which really helps to establish a sense of community.

Everyone loves a good discussion, so if your audience have started one you can rest assured that they are engaged and find the content interesting. If you’re savvy, you can even have some of your colleagues join the chat to discuss some particularly important points raised in the presentation and spark a conversation.

3. Webinar Polls

Similar to Q&A and Live Chat, polls are a great way to engage your audience. With the option of single choice, multiple choice and open questions, you can use polls throughout your webinar to do the following:

  • Review the knowledge of your audience by asking questions at intervals.
  • Measure learning during the webinar by asking the same question(s) twice throughout the event to review whether answers change throughout.
  • Offer a certificate or reward points for attaining a certain number of correct answers by using graded polls throughout.
  • Build a sense of community by asking leading questions, such as how many people are watching the event in each location.
  • Review the quality of the webinar by inviting attendees to rate the content and presenters at the end of the event.

4. Display Messages

Another straightforward way to encourage interaction with the audience and ensure that are engaged is to send out a display message into the live forum. This message may be a quick message prior to the event informing attendees that the webinar will be starting shortly and you’re looking forward to speaking with them, or it may be a prompt for attendees to ask questions or use the Live Chat function.

5. Create a Call-to-Action

When signing off, make sure that you have a clear call-to-action that provides next steps to attendees - whether that’s accessing supporting documents in the resources tab or reading a blog you’ve written on the topic.

You want to keep the conversation going long after your presentation has ended, so be clear and concise with your call-to-action and make all additional resources, URLs and phone numbers easily accessible to attendees.

6. Social Sharing - Webinar URL's and Hashtags

Use social sharing as part of your webinar strategy and create your own hashtag, so your moderator and the audience can interact on social media platforms, like Twitter, throughout the event. Once you have your own hashtag, you can watermark your slides with it to keep the hashtag front of mind.

The great thing about social media is that you can encourage audience interaction long before the webinar has even begun, as you can invite attendees to share the event on social platforms and create a buzz about it. Even if people didn’t attend the webinar, owning a hashtag and inviting attendees to share on social during the event, this will create a buzz and even encourage engagement with non-attendees - who can then later view the webinar on-demand, if it’s available.

7. Webinar Feedback Surveys

Finally, another effective way to encourage engagement with the audience is to use surveys during your webinar presentation. Much like polls, you can use surveys to do the following:

  • Collect feedback from the event and measure the learning of your audience
  • Collect some demographic information about your audience

Now you have some of our top interactions to encourage webinar engagement, you can apply them to your upcoming webinars. Just be mindful of what you really want to gain from your webinar and which interactions will best help you to gather this information from attendees.

If you’re looking to drive maximum engagement with your webinars, download your free copy of our eBook: ‘Create Engaging Webinar Content for Webinars’ and learn how to create awesome webinar content that boosts interactions and lead generation for your business.

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