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5 Ways to Bring Social Networking to Online Video Events

"Video without social is like peanut butter without jelly," said Jason Thibeault, senior director of marketing strategy for Limelight Networks. "It shouldn't happen."

Thibeault was speaking on Digital Dudes, a one-hour video webinar on December 13, hosted by NeuLion, which provides content delivery and related services for online events. The purpose of the webinar was to show new and experienced online broadcasters how they can bring the power of social networking to their online events in order to engage and entertain their viewers.

If you're looking to make your online events more exciting, take this advice from the Digital Dudes:

1. Incorporate Tweets into Your Video Events

It's standard for live video events to have a group hashtag and to show related tweets next to the video. To go the extra mile, insert tweets into your broadcast. Have the hosts answer questions from the viewers, for example. Michael Calderon, vice president of digital media for Big Ten Network, said that when his site does this, they put the question with the name of the viewer who tweeted it on screen, create a screen grab, then tweet that screen grab to the viewer. That person invariably retweets it, creating free publicity.

2. Give Control to the Viewers

Let your viewers run the show for a little while. Kevin Daniels, director of product management at Mass Relevance, suggested offering viewers a deal: if a certain number of tweets come in during the event, promise an exclusive performance will take place. Be creative in what you offer, he said.

3. Don't Oversell It

Can you monetize social video experiences, a viewer asked? The panel agreed that the way to approach it was by getting a sponsor for the entire event. If you go deeper than that, perhaps by adding promoted tweets or ads, in undermines the experience and will likely anger the viewers. If that happens, they'll tweet about your event, but you probably won't like what they'll say.

4. Prioritize Experience over Numbers

People get caught up in the number of Twitter followers they have and the number of viewers. But a better thing to look at is how engaged those people are, said Chris Schlosser, director of digital strategy for MLS. How are those people interacting with you and your content? These days, marketers are judging success by engagement levels.

5. Offer Multiple Twitter Streams

Why does an online event have to have only one Twitter stream? If you have a large and diverse audience, you can create two different tweet streams for different interests, then have people view the one they prefer. Calderon said Big Ten Network does this, letting viewers choose which Twitter stream they'd like to view on a second screen while following a game on their big screen.

The full Digital Dudes presentation is archived online. Watch it here on desktop computers and here on mobile devices.

 Twitter bird image via Shutterstock.

Troy Dreier's article first appeared on OnlineVideo.net

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