WhatsApp With Webinars?

I hardly ever use WhatsApp. That tells you two things about me…

I’m an old manI live in America

But even with these limitations in perspective, I know that the mobile messaging platform is incredibly popular worldwide. Heck, even in the USA it has over 75 million users – primarily 45 years of age and younger. And it’s far and away the most popular messaging app across Mexico, Central and South America, India, Russia, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

Why bring this up within the context of a blog about webinars?

My last post mentioned the problem of getting your webinar-related emails seen amid the clutter of overloaded inboxes these days. And yesterday I read an article by Dave Michels on the No Jitter website about adjacent services that improve the value of meeting platforms. These put me in mind of an interesting utility I recently looked into.

Webinar Booster is a specialized community builder designed to use the WhatsApp infrastructure to increase communications between webinar hosts and their target audiences.

The concept is centered on the idea of a WhatsApp channel associated with your webinar. Webinar Booster creates a short URL that lets people join the channel with their WhatsApp userID (they can also create a display alias if they don’t want to expose their actual WhatsApp name). You might include the join link in the confirmation email that shows up when they register for your webinar, or you might include it in initial promotions and landing pages.

Once they join the channel via Webinar Booster, they can type in questions, comments, and requests through their normal WhatsApp interface. Messages are seen only by the host’s account. The host can then decide which messages to share with the group at large, along with their own replies.

I spoke with Tomer Saar, the CEO and Founder of Texuto, the company that created Webinar Booster. He told me that the app has been in general availability for about one year and has had its greatest initial adoption in India and Europe. It is not designed to replace in-session chat inside a webinar platform, but has the greatest utility before and after the live event.

Webinar Booster may be best used to help stimulate interest and boost attendance by encouraging active participation in the days leading up to a webinar. The host can request topics of interest or questions that people would like to see the presenters address in the webinar. As people see questions asked by others, they can chime in as well. Since the chat is moderated by the host, you don’t risk a free-for-all open discussion with people promoting themselves or sidetracking the conversation. Users never see contact information for each other, so they feel safe in contributing to the conversation. And the host can use it as a broadcast channel to send out reminders and incentives for attendance.

After the webinar, the host can use the channel to collect additional questions related to the topic and to provide answers to everyone without having to create and share documents or email chains.

Tomer said that Webinar Booster can extend the sales nurturing pipeline after initial contact in a webinar while letting registrants maintain a sense of connection and interaction with the hosting company. I rather like having an alternative to email for keeping the communication channel alive with your targeted audiences, especially if you are working with demographics that already use and trust WhatsApp.

I’ll be interested to track Webinar Booster’s popularity and usage. What do you think about the idea?

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