Using Twitter during Webcasts

Written by Kim Oates on November 2011

Webcasts are a proven and popular way to deliver training.  As any elearning enthusiast will tell you, audience engagement is crucial for a successful webcast. Without engagement, the important messages you spent hours honing could fall on deaf ears. Webcast participants may end up multi-tasking – checking email or even worse, playing Angry Birds (gasp!).

One great tool for getting your webcast audience engaged in your content is Twitter.

But, like all great technology, if not used properly, Twitter can be a time-suck at best and overwhelming at worst. The 140 characters, @s, #s and RTs might just seem like foreign, robotic language. There are plenty of guides and countless blog posts and user guides to teach you the ins and outs of this ubiquitous social network, but here’s a great overview for using Twitter to enhance engagement during a webcast.

Here are our favorite tips for integrating Twitter into your webcasts:

  • Design a hashtag: On Twitter, a hashtag (#) makes a topic easily searchable, when a user clicks on the hashtag they can see all the tweets that also include it. So for your webcast, decide what hashtag you want to use. Here’s an example for how to create an effective hashtag: At BlueVolt, we recently hosted BlueVolt Academy and perhaps we wanted to create a hashtag for attendees to use. One option could be #BlueVoltAcademy, but remember Twitter limits the number of characters in a tweet to 140 characters and #BlueVoltAcademy uses 16. The hashtag #BVAcademy would be more effective because it is shorter, but the topic at hand is still clear. Overall, when creating your hashtag, make sure it’s both short and relevant.
  • Incorporate the hashtag into the planning process: Delivering a webcast isn’t easy, and it can be easy to forget a non-crucial planning element such as a Twitter hashtag. Taking questions live throughout the webcast that are asked using your designated hashtag is a great way to encourage participation, but, again, it’s easy to overlook this step. In your notes or script, be sure to call out when you’ll mention the hashtag and when you’ll mention audience tweets. In order to maintain your focus, you may want to enlist help from a second party who can call out relevant tweets for you.
  • Promote the hashtag: Build up some buzz about the webcast before it even begins by using your hashtag early and during the actual webcast as well. A few suggestions:
    • Use your hashtag when you tweet about the webcast.
    • Include it in any promotional materials (i.e. flyers, invitations, web pages, etc.)
    • Call out the hashtag in registration information, as well as confirmation and reminder e-mails.
    • Remind viewers about the hashtag at the beginning and in the middle of the webcast.
    • Consider including the hashtag in the bottom of the webcast screen itself if you choose to use slides or graphics
  • Respond to tweets: This is where the presenter will certainly need a helping hand. When people use the hashtag, write back to them, ask questions, get a conversation going (as much as you can in 140 characters). Attendees are much more likely to use the hashtag when there is a good dialogue happening.
  • Keep it alive afterwards: The webcast hashtag can live on after the webcast is over.  Sharing links to the presentation or other support material via Twitter is a sure way to get people to participate who may not have during the live portion. 

Tell us, how do you use Twitter in your elearning program?



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