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Rachel Strella a expert at the Global Social Media Managers Association and the owner of Strella Social Media.  Learn more about her at strellasocialmedia.com

Last month, I held a webinar called, “Social Media ROI for Small Business” as a way to help build my list and begin generating interest in my product.

I participated in several co-hosted webinars when promoting Social Media Manager Profits (SMMP), but Michele took the lead on marketing so I was unaware of all of the things it took to prepare for a solid webinar. Here are my top five lessons learned – I hope you can avoid them if/when you run a webinar!

Send browser requirements. Some attendees used Sarfari and had difficulties either accessing the webinar or viewing the slides. It would have been helpful to include browser recommendations in the reminder emails, especially with such a short webinar.
Consider ALL potential noise. I thought I was clever with my little checklist: turn cell phones off, turn radio off, put ‘do not disturb’ sign on office door, etc. But I forgot that Amanda was sick! She had a coughing fit a few times during the call. I asked my friend Jennifer if she could hear Amanda coughing in the background. She said, “Yes, but that made it seem live.” I’m glad it was apparent that it was live, but to some it may have sounded unprofessional.

Go easy on the content. There was way too much content for what spanned about only about 23 minutes. Attendees had trouble keeping up and some were lost early on. I should have either trimmed some of the content or made the webinar an hour to cover all of it.
Don’t script it. Since I tend to get long-winded, I decided to write the entire presentation, however my plan backfired as many could tell it was scripted. I usually do well with presentations because I use bullet points and talk conversation-style, so I’m not sure why I thought I should script the webinar. My friend Joel made a great point, “I heard the script and would encourage that we hear more Rachel.” Duly noted, Joel!
Rehearse the webinar as if you were doing it live. While I rehearsed the content several times, I didn’t think to try a dry run while operating the PowerPoint in my software. I was fumbling to switch the slides while keeping the phone at my ear to record. Minor error but lesson learned nonetheless.
Despite these setbacks, the overall feedback was positive. A few people said it was full of great information and practical content. Others liked the example I used throughout the presentation to emphasize my points. I was even the feature of a head-swelling blog written by Paul Miller.

Moreover, I accomplished the goals I set out to attain, which was to build my list and generate interest in the product. I also learned a few lessons in the process, which is always priceless!