13 April 2021

When a webinar is the best way to meet members’ needs

The FSB’s Covid-19 webinar series sets a great example of how powerful this platform can be when an agile response is needed

Interest in digital experiences reached new heights in 2020. And creating ever-more engaging webinars became a challenge the Redactive digital team met head on.

One particularly successful series created in direct – and immediate – response to the pandemic was the Covid-19 campaign of 10 broadcasts for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).  

The first event held on Friday 20 March 2020 – just days after the UK went into lockdown – saw a phenomenal spike in registrations. A 38-fold increase compared with the previous pre-pandemic FSB webinar broadcast on 19 February on the subject of phishing.

And so for any organisations or brands looking for best-practice insights into webinar planning and production – or indeed insights into the role they can play in your marketing mix – here are just a few tips from what we have learned serving the small business community throughout the coronavirus crisis.

Webinars can be agile
For the Covid-19 webinar campaign, long-term planning was a luxury of the past. The FSB had to act reactively to give members answers. Subjects were decided upon in response to the ever-changing circumstances. And on many occasions the content of the 2pm Friday broadcast would be tailored to that morning’s very latest government advice.

They assert authority and build trust
At a time when information was coming from all angles and clarity was needed about pressing issues such as the furlough scheme, small businesses owners needed advice they could rely on. The authority of the FSB webinars provided just that, eliciting Twitter responses such as: I’ve joined the @fsb_policy #webinar and there is some really helpful advice and support (@KarenMorledgePR).

Showing the human faces behind your organisation
Adding to the reassurance factor, was the calibre of the expert panels. Figureheads from the FSB’s own highly experienced legal, financial and policy teams revealed the human faces behind the Federation. And top-ranking guests, such as Patrick Magee, Chief Commercial Officer of the British Business Bank, and Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss, added gravitas.

Social media buzz is essential
To boost registrations and create a buzz, an attention-grabbing social media strategy was quickly put in place. On Twitter, #fsbhelp enabled small business owners to send in their questions to be answered during the live webinar broadcast. The hashtag gained a collective reach of over 2.8m, with 3,000+ interactions and 500 mentions in just a few months.

A wider audience can be reached
When the pandemic struck, the FSB was inevitably deluged with calls from small business owners thrown into a state of confusion and anxiety. By utilising the power of a webinar platform they were able to address their questions in real time, but en masse rather than individually. This helped to save time and avoid members waiting to get a call through. And by making the Covid-19 webinars available on demand their value keeps on delivering.

Experience the FSB Covid-19 webinars here.

And follow our top tips to for the optimum webinar experience:
1. Research your keywords/topic, and make sure that it’s relevant and timel

2. Carry out a technical rehearsal to check the quality of the speakers’ equipment

3. Prepare the content in advance and agree who is saying what

4. Consider the ‘so what?’ factor; why should the audience care about what you have to say, and what will they gain by attending?

5. Aim to deliver thought-provoking and thought leadership content rather than a sales pitch

6. However short the timeframe, make a plan that maps out everything from the date of the event, the rehearsal and all marketing

7. Post-event, make the webinar available on-demand so busy viewers can watch it in their own time

To discuss how Redactive could connect you with your customers or members, please get in touch with Redactive Director Aaron Nicholls at [email protected] or call +44 (0)20 7880 8547.