5 Tips for Hosting Google+ Hangouts

January 30, 2012

My Google+ Profile: http://gplus.to/dshiao

Introduction

A bunch of us started a digital book club. On a regular basis (well, soon to be a regular basis), we meet via Google+ Hangouts. We recently held our first meeting, for which I was the host of the Hangout. I learned a lot from my first Hangout, so I thought I’d share these five tips.

1) Do a dry run in advance.

Another way of saying this is, “when hosting your first Hangout, don’t enter the Hangout five minutes prior to the start.” Similar to hosting a webinar, you need a dry run prior to the “live date.” I discovered that one browser crashed [perhaps I need to install the latest version], while on another browser, the Google Talk plugin seemed to consume 100% of my CPU, rendering my laptop (and the Hangout itself) unusable. I ended up moving to a better equipped laptop, but in shutting down the Hangout, it bumped everyone else out.

2) Have a backup host.

In the off-chance that you experience technical difficulties, have a designated “backup host” who can fire up a new Hangout. You know how some events publish a “rain date” in advance? Do the same with your Hangout and let your target audience know about your backup host (e.g. “for any technical difficulties, be sure to join a new Hangout that <BACKUP> will create”).

3) Create a Circle of your Hangout’s participants.

In the case of our book club, we asked interested people to “opt in” to our club. Once they did, I added them to a Google+ Circle that I created. I then “shared” the Circle with its members, allowing them to conveniently add the same Circle to their Google+ account. The Circle makes it easy to invite “members” to the Hangout – when the Hangout begins, you can invite the members of the Circle to join.

4) Encourage use of the “Chat” tab.

Text chat can add an entirely new dimension to a multi-party conversation. While one person is making a good point, others can write “Thumbs up!” in the chat area. Or, they can provide a related comment, or perhaps a hyperlink to a relevant article. In this way, the chat creates “more bandwidth” within the Hangout, without the “overhead” of switching from one speaker to another.

5) Set expectations in advance.

Participants in your Hangout ought to have a clear expectation of the agenda and flow. If you want to have 30 minutes of completely free form discussion, state that up front. For our book club, I created an agenda that included introductions, discussion points and a wrap up. Of course, I didn’t do my dry run, so my first Hangout didn’t follow the agenda as outlined.

Conclusion

My first Google+ Hangout was a lot of fun. They happen to be a great tool for digital book clubs. Use the comments area below to let us know your tips for hosting Hangouts.

Note: I invite you to connect with me on .

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How to Generate Registrations and Attendees to Your Virtual Event

August 11, 2011

Introduction

Successful virtual events start with the ability to generate registrations and attendees that meet or exceed your targets. I presented a webinar at AMA’s Virtual Forum on “Achieving Success with Online Events.”

My webinar was titled “How to Generate Registrations and Attendees to Your Virtual Event.” My presentation was divided into two parts: I first covered how to generate virtual event registrations and followed that with how to convert registrants into attendees.

Top 10 Tips for Generating Virtual Event Registrations

To generate virtual event registrations, I provided the following 10 tips:

  1. Leverage speakers
  2. Leverage exhibitors
  3. “Less is more” on your registration form
  4. Use social sharing buttons
  5. Promote via syndication
  6. Start early
  7. Create a LinkedIn Event
  8. Promote on Twitter
  9. Promote on Facebook
  10. Promote via content marketing

Top 5 Tips for Converting Registrants into Attendees

To convert registrants into attendees, I provided 5 tips:

  1. Spruce up the confirmation page
  2. More content marketing
  3. Game mechanics
  4. Automated email messaging
  5. Facilitate pre-event networking

View My Slides

Feel free to view my slides (below). They’re also available for download, if you visit the presentation directly on SlideShare.net.

Conclusion

The AMA virtual forum is available on-demand and you can view all of the archived sessions.  You can register for this free event on the AMA web site.

Leave me a comment below if you attended the session – or, if you have questions or comments on this topic. Thanks!

Related Content

  1. Blog Post: Virtual Event Audience Generation via Content Marketing
  2. Blog Post: How to Leverage LinkedIn for Your Virtual Event
  3. Download: Free eBook on Social Media and Virtual Events

Hybrid Events Roundtable: Help Us Determine the Questions

March 31, 2011

Hybrid Events Roundtable - Help Us Determine the Questions

Introduction

I’ll be moderating a Focus Roundtable, “Best Practices for Your Next Hybrid Event.” The Roundtable will feature Dave Lutz (Velvet Chainsaw Consulting), Malcolm Lotzof (INXPO) and Samuel Smith (Interactive Meeting Technology, LLC).  We’d like you to shape the questions that get asked to this esteemed panel.

How to Participate

There are a number of ways to participate.

1) Provide your input on Focus.com.

I’ve posted four questions that I may ask to the panel.  Write an answer to the question (on Focus), letting us know which of the four questions you’d like me to ask – and why.  To post an answer, you’ll need to sign up to become a Focus.com member.

2) Vote via Twtpoll.

I’ve posted the same four questions on Twtpoll (Twitter poll).  Visit the Twtpoll page to view the current results – and, to log your own vote.

The Roundtable Flow

The Roundtable is scheduled  for April 6th (Wednesday) at 11AM PT.  Anyone can access the Roundtable via telephone:

Toll-free Dial-In Number: (866) 951-1151
International Dial-In Number: (201) 590-2255
Conference # : 4999006

All callers (besides the speakers) will be muted.  However, you will be seen and heard via Twitter.  Use Twitter hash tag #FocusRT to ask questions of the panel – and to provide comments.  I plan to ask four questions:

  1. Question with the most votes (Focus.com plus Twtpoll)
  2. Question from the Twitter audience (#FocusRT), selected by me
  3. Question with the second most votes (Focus.com plus Twtpoll)
  4. Question from the Twitter audience (#FocusRT), selected by me

As an alternative, feel free to leave a comment below with your panel question (for those of you not inclined to tweet your question).  Hope to “see” you during the roundtable!


Top Blogging Tips From … Influential Bloggers

February 6, 2011

Blogging Tips

Introduction

Blogging Success Summit 2011 (“The Web’s Largest Online Business Blogging Conference”) is in full swing.  We’ve identified recent blog postings on the topic of … Blogging Best Practices and wanted to share them here.

Heidi Cohen: Why Above-the-Fold Matters for Blogs

Heidi provides a great list of “16 Must-Have Elements to Put At Top of Your Blog” (above the fold).  I reviewed this list against this blog … and it seems I have some work to do!  The link to the article:

http://heidicohen.com/blog-above-the-fold/

Lisa Barone: A Quick & Dirty Legal Guide For Bloggers

If I could sum up Lisa’s post in a few words, it would be “blogging: be careful out there”.  Lisa provides a list of five myths and then provides details to dispel those myths.  Many of her points I had not considered.  The link to the article:

http://outspokenmedia.com/blogging/blogging-laws/

Joe Pulizzi: 10 Blogging Tips for Beginners and Experts

Joe shares the 10 tips that were included in his presentation at Blogging Success Summit.  I think I need to focus more on Joe’s #3 – “Less is More”, since I tend to go on and on!  The link to the article:

http://blog.junta42.com/2011/02/blogging-tips-beginners-experts/

Jeff Bullas: Are You Making These 10 Mistakes On Your Blog?

Jeff provides a list of 10 things you ought to have on your blog – the good news is, you can quickly and easily implement the majority of Jeff’s list right from your blogging platform’s dashboard.  I know that in WordPress, I can knock out many of these items quickly. So what are you waiting for? The link to the article:

http://www.jeffbullas.com/2011/02/03/are-you-making-these-10-mistakes-on-your-blog/

Conclusion

Even for those of us who have been blogging for a while, there are new things to learn, each and every day.


FOCUS Best Practices Report: Exhibiting at Virtual Trade Shows

December 28, 2010

Introduction

FOCUS.com has published a Best Practices Report, “9 Best Practices for Exhibiting at a Virtual Trade Show“.

The report features insights and tips from Roger Courville (1080 Group), Dave Lutz (Velvet Chainsaw Consulting), Shannon Ryan (FOCUS), Cece Salomon-Lee (PR Meets Marketing), Tom Wieser (CGS VirtualEvents365) and myself. We’re all FOCUS Experts and contribute to virtual events (and other) topics on FOCUS.com.

Download The Report

You can download the report here:

http://www.focus.com/research/research-briefings/sales/best-practices-exhibiting-virtual-trade-show/

A Related Webinar

I did a related webinar with FOCUS titled “From Fad to ROI: How Smart Marketers Succeed with Virtual Trade Shows”.  You can view the on-demand webinar (or the associated slides) by following the links here:

http://allvirtual.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/live-webcast-how-smart-marketers-succeed-with-virtual-trade-shows/

Join the Discussion

The report was generated from a question posted to FOCUS.com – feel free to join the discussion by adding your own thoughts about exhibiting at virtual trade shows:

http://www.focus.com/questions/marketing/virtual-trade-show-best-practices-best-practices-exhibiting/


It’s All Virtual Turns Two

December 12, 2010

“Time flies when you’re having fun.”

It all started two years ago today.  The first blog post was made on December 12, 2008.  Since that time, I’ve covered virtual trade shows, hybrid events, virtual worlds, Second Life, social media and many other topics.  It’s been a fun ride to date, but I’m even more excited about what the next 2 or 5 years will bring.  For now, let’s take a look back at five selected posts from the past two years.

What Started It All


My first post, from December 2008, looked ahead to 2009.  It was titled “2009: The Year We Go Virtual“.  I was mostly on target with this post, except for that innocent comment where I noted that face-to-face event producers would struggle to survive.  I should have known that physical events would never go away – and, I hadn’t considered what would follow in 2009/2010, the hybrid event.  Whoops.

Lenovo’s 3D World, Powered by web.alive


This posting, from January 2009, remains today the top grossing piece on this blog.  Lenovo launched a 3D world to promote their Thinkpad notebooks.  It used the web.alive 3D platform from Nortel (and is now part of Avaya, via Avaya’s acquisition of Nortel).  While touring the environment, I met Nic Sauriol, the Venture Lead for the project and he took  me on a personal tour.  Read more: “Review: Lenovo’s eLounge Virtual World“.

Musings on Physical Events & Virtual Events

(Photo courtesy of “ExhibitPeople” on flickr)

Physical events have been around for a long time.  So I decided to write about what we like at physical events and consider how those “features” could work in a virtual event.  I didn’t expect it at the time, but this turned out to be one of the most popular postings this year.  For more: “Bringing The Physical Event Experience To Virtual Events“.

Whose Platform Do I Use?

Once you’ve decided to do a virtual event, one of the key steps is finding the right virtual event platform.  In my Virtual Events 101 series, the most popular posting was this one: “Virtual Events 101: Tips For Selecting A Virtual Event Platform“.  For me, it comes down to the 6 P”s – People, Platform, Production, Price, Process and Partners.

Branching Out A Bit

Branching out from virtual events, I shared some thoughts on the topics of social gaming, location-based services, “gamification” and loyalty programs.  In the coming 1-3 years, gamification, location services and virtual events will come together (via API’s and integration).  On the gamification front, it’s noteworthy that San Francisco will be home to the Gamification Summit in January 2011.  For the full post: “The Name Of The Game Is Engagement“.

Conclusion

It’s been a great two years.  It’s hard to imagine what the (virtual) “world” will look like in another two years.  There’s one thing for sure: I’ll be blogging about it.  Come along for the journey and subscribe to regularly receive my posts.  Until next time!


RainToday.com Podcast: Accelerated Lead Generation via Virtual Events

November 30, 2010

Introduction

I was interviewed by Michelle Davidson, Editor at RAIN Group, on RainToday.com’s “Marketing & Selling Professional Services Podcast”.  Michelle and I talked about lead generation via virtual events – a process I call  “accelerated lead generation”.

About RainToday.com

RainToday.com “is the premier online source for insight, advice, and tools for growing professional services businesses. Marketers, rainmakers, and leaders in consulting, accounting, law, AEC, marketing, advertising and PR, training, financial, IT, and other professional services industries, turn to RainToday.com for research, tools, training programs, and recommendations to help them market and sell their services.”

Virtual Events Questions

The questions Michelle asked me:

  1. What is a typical virtual event?
  2. What’s the cost of a virtual trade show compared to a physical trade show?
  3. Do people worry about the lack of face-to-face interaction in a virtual event?
  4. What kind of success have B2B service professionals had with virtual events?
  5. You wrote on your blog that generating leads with virtual events is a process, not a discrete project – tell us about that?
  6. Is the use of virtual events growing?
  7. How does a company get started with virtual events?
  8. If people want to get more educated, do you have any resources to recommend?

You can find the podcast here:

http://www.raintoday.com/pages/6575_podcast_episode_96_accelerated_lead_generation_via_virtual_events.cfm

Additionally, you can directly download the MP3 here:

http://traffic.libsyn.com/raintoday/Shiao_Virtual_Events.mp3


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