How to Set up and Host Live Webinars

We run a monthly podcast for one of our clients which has become fairly popular in it’s respective industry. This is a relatively new ability we’ve learned and as with everything we do, we’re happy to help others learn to do it as well.

To be clear, when we say webinars or podcasts we mean live audio and video feeds (much like radio if it had view-able PowerPoint slides!) which are broadcast over the internet for everyone to view. We record these broadcasts as we do them and give that recording to viewers afterwards and post them on YouTube or SoundCloud.

Create you own webinar

Very recently we got a tweet from a sports coach wanting to start holding webinars and we answered. We arranged a Skype chat, walked them through the programs and techniques we used and introduced them to other possible solutions we found along our journey of developing a quality podcast.  Here’s a summary of our advice.

Our process

We use a combination of the program xSplit and the website UStream:

  • xSplit – recording a webcam or a computer screen is a simple process today, but controlling that recording is an entirely different thing. The FREE program xSplit provides users with multiple “scenes” which operate like a powerpoint presentation. Each “scene” is like a slide in powerpoint and can be customised with images, live screenshots, webcams and more. It also takes audio directly from your computer and microphone, if one is attached. The program can broadcast to multiple sources and can directly record to your computer as a separate option for making videos. While it is only Windows OS compatible (so no support for Mac computers) it provides a lot of flexibility and control to the user.

  • UStream – when you are broadcasting you need a destination and a place for that broadcast to be viewed by others. We use our paid account on UStream with ads removed to broadcast our live viewing. UStream gives us a way to communicate with our viewers as well via a text based chat beside the video as it plays.

This set up makes it easy for viewers to watch as we just need to send them the link to our UStream account while we take care of the broadcasting and content. With other solutions you may need to download programs, make accounts or have to send attendees passwords. We have tested some of those solutions and for a wide audience and age range they proved too hard and presented barriers to attendance.

Other solutions you could use

Many of these solutions add a level of difficulty for either us or our viewers to join a webinar that we broadcast. However they may suit your needs better than they suit ours:

  • Google Hangouts – the Hangouts system created by Google is amazing. It allows you to broadcast your computer screen or your web camera to a live stream (then instant recording) on YouTube. For others to view directly they can watch from YouTube. If you’d like to chat to viewers however they would have to join your Hangout and thus disrupts many of your functions. You would have to mute each attendee if you want to talk and then you could communicate with them via text chat. It works but is cumbersome in it’s design. On the other hand it is a free solution without ads and  is simple for basic internet users to learn.

  • Downloadable webinar technologies – there are meeting simulators that can be used effectively to run webinars such as GoToWebinar or Anymeeting. These solutions are often paid, require you and your attendees to download a program and are designed primarily for corporate use. They will take some training to use (especially for your viewers) but the technology is great. If you’re a businessman looking to run online meetings or training sessions this solution is a great way to go. [only problem with Citrix GoToWebinar solution is the meeting invite does not adjust timezone to the recipient’s calendar]

Now that you’ve got access to the tools, you can start exploring the world of broadcasting and build yourself a webinar! If you’re less technical, or would like to put all of your effort into the quality of the webinar, we’d be happy to take the broadcasting task off your hands. Contact us for more details on these technologies or for a quote on what it would take for us to set up and run your webinar.

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How to be a successful Twitter manager

twitterWhat is a Twitter manager?

A Twitter manager is an individual who monitors one or more Twitter accounts and engages with Twitter users for those accounts. They are more than an automatic tweeting machine. They think of ways to engage their followers, how to gain new ones and spend much of their time interacting with the Twittersphere (the space of Twitter).

A Twitter manager must keep in mind that they are an entity and represent the values and voice of the account that entity belongs to. This is particularly difficult when they manage multiple accounts as they have to reflect multiple personas in their tweets.

What does a Twitter manager do?

These attributes are exactly what a regular Twitter user will do. However we’re talking about it and looking at it from a Twitter manager’s point of view. Here are the activities a Twitter manager undergoes and how they do them differently…

  • Creates original tweets: when a tweet first comes into existence it is said to be original, rather than taken from someone else’s tweet.
  • Shares tweets: this is where a tweet is tweeted again and the original sender is notified and credited. These types of tweets can help smaller pages generate hype and develops relationships with the original tweeter.
  • Sends and replies to direct messages: known as DMs, direct messages allow twitter users to message each other privately. This opens up the Twittersphere to the sharing of personal details and private conversations.
  • Uses #hashtags and copies @people in tweets: by using a hashtag or at symbol in a tweet you notify users of that tweet. It comes up in their feeds and is a more reliable way of getting your tweets seen by the Twittersphere.
  • Follows #hashtags and conversations: a hashtag records all tweets with it attached and you can search via hashtags to follow a topic or conversation. This is crucial to success for Twitter managers as they can follow the best conversations from specific topics related to the account(s) they manage. They show you who tweets the most in that topic, who is important in that topic, what trends are rising and even helps you keep up with big news and events.
  • Balances their number of followers with the number of people they are following: this is another way of getting noticed. By following a Twitter account (a user) you encourage them to see what tweets you make and they will often reciprocate the follow. So this subsequently grows your followers and provides you with more original tweets to retweet from that user you followed. This also allows you to get more in touch with your followers by direct messaging who you follow as long as they also follow you.
TweetDeck

TweetDeck

Tools of a Twitter manager

  • www.tweetdeck.com = this is a powerful tool that grants you the power to post using multiple Twitter accounts, schedule posts and see every corner of each Twitter account in an instant. Being able to view messages and posts all on one screen improves productivity by a lot, even for just a single account.
  • www.tweriod.com = if you’d like to know when your followers are online the most, use Tweriod. They’ll send you a report showing you when your followers are most active. From here you can schedule your best tweets using Tweetdeck so they get the most impact and following.
  • Find many more on the Twitter Tools Listly. There are many tools to follow metrics and statistics for Twitter accounts and show you exactly how to use your account to it’s fullest potential.

Pitfalls of a Twitter manager

Be careful when replying – as a Twitter manager, your voice is that of the accounts you are managing. You have to maintain a constant persona for each account and be careful not to stir up negativity in your followers. For example, I’ve created conversations by simply asking people about what they do in their daily lives. They then get interested enough in me to look at the company web page and learn more about the brand I’m managing.

Share for your audience, but avoid profanity – as you re-tweet content you’ll see great tweets that are inappropriate in language, but perfect in context. Tweak these tweets to be appropriate and make sure you read tweets over a few times. It is easy to quickly retweet something that makes you laugh in the context of the account you manage.

Always give recognition of the source – if you know where it came from, recognise the creator because Twitter is all about following conversations and tweets from the source. If you re-tweet without saying who the tweet is from a lot of the time users will feel you’ve cheated the impact of the original tweet. It discredits your account and makes it seem like you put less effort into it.

Have personality, but don’t be personal – avoid getting too comfortable in your role. Have strict rules in place with how relaxed you can be on interacting with your followers.

Balance your followers and followings – try to keep these levels the same or have your followings higher than the number of followers you have. This promotes constant growth and makes sure you’re friendly with everyone in the industry you’re following for whichever account you are managing.

Final notes on Twitter

Twitter is all about getting shared and found, getting the most notice from your tweets and connecting with your followers and industry more closely. That level maintains a professional feel but again being able to become personal with your customers and industry is incredibly powerful for a company’s public relations.

Have all your activities reflect these points and connect with your audience and your industry on a level like no other!

How to use List.ly as a Marketing tool

What is List.ly?

List.ly is a list building website that allows you to build and curate shareable lists. These  are then viewable by others.

People can ‘like’, ‘dislike’, comment or even add items to the list.  This results in a list that re-organises items based on their popularity.  You can then embed these lists in your website or blog. So, rather than directing traffic to lists you’ve built on Facebook or Twitter, you can keep that traffic on your own site!  One of our first principles of marketing: build your own audience on assets you own.

Getting started with List.ly

Customised list header on list.ly

Creating lists is simple. Go to the list.ly site and click create a ‘new list’, then put in a name and description. Then all thats left is to add your content, simple.

By delving into the advanced options you can also create branding on your list. The advanced options allow you to add tags, a header image and links back to your website.  This means that Listly will also help you promote your brand through the header image, and also give you another backlink to your website.

How can brands and agencies use List.ly?

Product FeedBack

There is huge potential for brands to leverage Listly in order to gather customer feedback. Feedback is key in developing new products or making adjustments to existing products. Listly can be leveraged to create feedback, and even to get new insights into what your customers want.

Simply create a list of your products (or even future product ideas) and watch how customers interact with it. They will vote up the products they like, and vote down the products they don’t or they can leave comments.

In addition to this give them the opportunity to contribute their own ideas. If they add something to the list that resonates with your other customers it will climb up the ranks and give you new products/developments to consider. The best part of this is that not only are you getting ideas that your existing customers want and will buy, you’re getting them for FREE!

As a bonus you will also receive alerts from Listly when someone adds an item to your list. So you always know when something is added to your list, as well as who added it. You can also follow other peoples lists. This feature helps you to stay up to date with the how lists you’re following are changing and the new ideas that are being added.

Lists of Tips

Creating an industry specific list of tips allows you to easily find out what content your followers engage with the most. By following what tips people are voting up or down you are able to see what they want to know more about. This allows you to better plan out your blogs to appeal directly to your audience and will help to prevent you wasting time producing content that your audience isn’t interested in.

These ideas only highlight some of the potential that list.ly can offer in terms of content and product development strategies.

Do you have any other strategies? Have you used list.ly? Let us know your thoughts.


Brand campaign brief template improvement

Rob Lane my colleague recently wrote a first draft of a new proposal for a client brand and I was delighted that he chose to insert a new section header,

“Your responsibilities”.

Imagine an agency telling a prospective client – not one we’re working with already – that they had to actively participate in delivering to make the marketing programme effective?

I love it.

Now I’m recommending we put this into all new client proposals. It’s authentic and transparent and gives the brand clear boundaries and guidelines that will help us give them exactly what they hired us to do.

What do you do in order to improve your client briefing and agreements?

Read our archive 

What does a modern creative brief look like?

Call our Rescue service for advice on crafting your perfect brief

How to Launch a skincare brand on a small budget

The local business incubator here in Auckland is called The Icehouse.  It’s an impressive place buzzing with activity.

Creative Agency Secrets was asked to prove its salt by giving some free consulting to a new organisation, DirtyMan.co.nz Perversely, it is all about keeping men clean!

Avoiding costly product launches

The team is a start-up and was looking to gain profile without too much hard cost.  Our suggestions included:

  • Painting up an old caravan to take to events
  • Asking supermarkets about promotions based not in-store ($$$) but in the car park
  • Setting up google alerts for three phrases aligned to the 3 personae of their ‘ideal customer’ profiles
  • Set up a press or media page on the website to host high resolution pack images, past coverage and background information
  • Print A5 leaflets on light card single sided and then use the back for several different purposes: a Postcard; letterbox maildrops; product information – just overprint in black when you need them

Prioritising your time and money

We time showing DirtyMan how to prioritise their decisions with regard to which promotions to spend money on and how to pick the ones that would give the best return.  They were considering a radio show sponsorship, leaflet drops to households and joint promotions with other non-competing brands.

For a startup, we think the best promotions are those that

  1. Bring a customer face to face with the brand
  2. Drive awareness to a new audience based on someone else’s data list

We recommended assessing any joint promotion based on the size and quality of the database of the other company.  And so a sports team sponsorship that has a supporting newsletter (especially an electronic one) and a Facebook fan group is probably worth more than a radio show with no mailing list.

What were the outcomes?

Here’s what Tracey Orange, the owner had to say after the briefing with Creative Agency Secrets:

Yes I did find my meeting with Rebecca useful, we have been busy talking to lots of people over the last week or so and I guess I am taking bits from everyone I speak to, and then formulating our plan from here.

After meeting Rebecca we are going to use some of her suggestions, one was to get out and meet our customers face to face and we now are looking for a cheap promo vehicle brand up and use for onsite promos and events, (if you know of any old land rovers for sale please let Mike know), she also gave me some good things to be talking to organisations we want to align with and not to be just giving stuff away but to leverage product for contacts database names and she also suggested getting hooked up with a clothing brand or similar and then the next day we spoke to someone who is going to see about hooking us up with a menswear clothing brand so fingers crossed.

Would you like access to our ideas?  Think about how to apply these to your own brand.

Get in touch and ask for a FREE 20 minute chat on the phone or Skype.

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Website holding page – how to use for marketing gain

Taking your website offline is rarely welcomed by the marcomms team.  sometimes you have go do it.

Brand Glue did a great job of making a strong message come through their holding page.

In fact, since I took this screen shot, the timer doesn’t seem to have ‘counted down’ any more…. wonder if it’s really a permanent thing.  Tho they have added an article below it about their newsfeed optimization service.

in any event, don’t allow a 404 redirect to show up if you can avoid it.

Plus, having a ‘timer’ on the page keeps the focus  pressure on the team building the new website.

Which’ll probably be late.

That’s life.