How many of your email subscribers are active? If subscribers feel you are irrelevant, they will unsubscribe. End of relationship.
Using Social Media
Communicating with blog subscribers using social media channels is superficial and less than satisfying.
Nobody feels loved when they see one of your tweets or Facebook posts. You need to get personal to have any impact.
Twitter chats using tools like TWchat can help your tribe members to feel involved. Facebook groups can foster a sense of group identity, too.
But if you want true communication then you need to talk to people face-to-face.
Why an Online Meeting?
Words represent only 10-40% of the meaning in a conversation. So, if you are only using text-based media to communicate with subscribers they are missing out on 60-90% of what you are trying to say.
An online meeting where people see you talking and read your body language is the answer. It is the closest you can get to a face-to-face meeting with blog followers who are scattered around the world.
A small online meeting of 10 – 25 people is perfect for making personal contact with blog subscribers. Each attendee feels valued and appreciates the time with you. The number is small enough that each person can make a meaningful contribution, yet is not so small that talking to all your subscribers would take until the end of the century.
Online Meetings – The Software
A webinar is usually used as a broadcast medium where one person needs to speak to hundreds of others, rather than a discussion or meeting of minds. It doesn’t have to be like this.
Your dream meeting software will:
- Be free
- Include recordings
- Allow recording to pause
- Allow multiple presenters with the ability to mute camera/microphone of any standby presenters
- Be fast, with high-quality video
- Be integrated with social media applications
- Allow you to embed an online meeting into your web page
Dream on – No meeting platform has all of those features. You will always need to compromise in some areas.
Make a list of essential features you need from your meeting software and check that your chosen solution has all of them. Read the marketing literature carefully, because no company will ever mention the features they don’t have.
Many webinar platforms have a free option, but these rarely have any recording capability. There is even free software you can use. Blab and Google Hangouts are two great free options. Both have recording options, and both allow attendees to comment in notes, but each has severe limitations. Blab only allows four people to participate in the video chat at a time. Google’s Hangouts have quality issues with time lags on the ten video feeds it can accommodate.
Online meeting software such as ClickMeeting is designed to suit small groups such as those that will interest most bloggers.
ClickMeeting has a feature whereby you can assign a spare video/audio feed to any attendee, so you can bring in any attendee who has something helpful to say and rotate spare video feeds between attendees. The lowest cost ClickMeeting subscription allows two presenters with video/audio feeds and higher-cost subscriptions allow four presenters.
Planning Your Online Meeting
Online meetings give you as a blogger the chance to listen to the problems your subscribers have. You can always guess what your subscribers want to discuss, but a better option would be to survey them using free such as SurveyMonkey.
You will need a microphone and webcam because the built-in mic on your laptop will generate feedback if you have the speakers on and the tiny lens on the built-in camera means that video quality will be poor. Nobody is going to participate in your meeting if they have to watch shoddy video.
It is a good idea to have a team member alongside you when you hold the meeting because that person can handle all the muting of microphones, answering messages and solving any technical problems that crop up.
Publicising Your Meeting
Start with a few small-scale meetings with one to three people invited. These will help you to become familiar with the software. You can also post screenshots of these meetings to your blog, upload the recording to your YouTube channel or even embed the whole meeting into a blog post.
Write a few blog posts about your planned online meeting. These will attract anyone who has subscribed to your RSS feed. Be sure to direct readers to your earlier small-scale meeting recordings.
If you use an email subscription management you can send out alerts and reminders to everyone who has subscribed. It is best to send only two reminders, so people don’t become tired of your emails and unsubscribe or mark them as spam.
There are some great tips here on using your social media channels to spread the word. Remember to think “Visual.” Make gifs, memes, and promotional videos.
The one consistent message you need to get across in all your marketing is that your online meeting is about attendees and how they will benefit. You need to make it clear that there will be no sales pitch, no hard sell and that it is only help that is being offered.