Associations and Webinars

Associations and Webinars

Webinars, or presentations, lectures, workshops or seminars that are communicated over the Web using video conferencing software, are all but a necessity for today’s associations. A 2015 report by Tagoras, a leader in continuing education, cites that a stunning 90% of organizations use webinars or webcasts, with another 5% planning to use them in the next 12 months. Webinars remain the leading platform for technology-based learning.

The question isn’t then whether or not your association should use webinars but, rather, how your association should use webinars. Are your webinars dynamic? Are your members engaged?

Here are some tips on how to maximize the benefits of hosting webinars in your organization:

  • Your webinar should be interactive. It should include a meaningful Q&A session, a social media component, and engaging speakers. Polling is also important; studies show that this is the most common way audience members interact with instructors during an online presentation. Choose your topics carefully so that they appeal to a wide audience and know your materials inside and out so that, particularly during that crucial Q&A session, you remain the expert and your members trust your responses. It’s recommended, too, that you make your list of online attendees public. This will allow participants to network and interact with one another.
  • Schedule and host your webinars frequently and reliably, just as you would with blog posts. Not only will this help you create benchmarks for success (“We saw an increase of 20% for our monthly webinars over the last year”), but it will also encourage your membership base to engage regularly and depend on your association for the most current information. On the heels of a successful webinar, the last thing you want is for people to attempt to register for another only to come up empty.
  • Create incentives for your members. Will they improve their accreditation or certification prospects by participating in a series of webinars, for example? Are you offering them exclusive access to exciting, members-only webinars? Is there an opportunity for your attendees to lead discussions or even host a webinar?
  • Ensure your technology is up-to-date and dependable and anticipate the technical needs of your attendees. Make registration a breeze for participants and plan to post your webinars online afterward so that people who wanted to attend but couldn’t are able to search for them. Incorporate video feeds in order to make your sessions more visually impactful. Review your presentation afterward and note things you can improve upon for next time.

What tips would you recommend to associations exploring a more robust webinar program?