Webinars have always been around however, for the beauty and wellness stakeholders, it is a recent discovery. A solution in these trying times of self-imposed quarantine and social distancing, a webinar appears to be the go-to option for continuing e-learning courses hosted by salon owner-driven academies or best suited for brand-induced panelist discussions, employee trainings and product demonstrations. Whether it is Webinar Jam, Google Meet or Zoom, with such diverse options looks like the future is abled with the webinar.
Keeping in mind the all-pervasive need of humans to stay connected in these socially distant times, Vipul Chudasama, Founder, Vipul Chudasama Salon & Academy shares that while he has always used social media to announce a new course or session at his academy or to launch a hair collection, the technical webinar is different from a Live session available at social media platforms. He shares, “I am very active on social media platforms like Instagram and use it to connect with young aspirants who join my academy. Recently I was invited to be a part of a webinar and I must say it was impressive. The technology, ease of addressing any amount of people (I am told that in one meeting, 100 people can participate), cost efficacy and convenience is very attractive. Today, Covid-19 has completely transformed our lives, and the way we reach out to an audience. Initially in our segment, a webinar was not even considered to be of use, but today it is one of the top tech facilities.”
Puskaraj Shenai, CEO, Lakme Lever shares, “COVID19 and the consequent lockdown has had a widespread impact on businesses, and it has changed the way we work. Webinars have provided us with a platform to interact with our teams and consumers alike, in these days of social distancing.
“The Lakme Lever team has been busier than ever. We have stepped-up education, leveraging the digital classroom on our Xcel online varsity. Over 4,500 members of the Lakme team have attended over 300,000 hours of high-quality education. We have also created ‘Beauty from Home’ series for our consumers; it is a bi-weekly session on hair, skin and make-up conducted by our NCDs. We have engaged with our consumers through DIYs and expert sessions on our pages. Our largest session, ‘Lockdown Pedicure’, hosted by a Lakme Salon expert on Facebook Live gave men a step-by-step demonstration to do a ‘salon-like’ pedicure for their wives. This session itself had more than 3.5L views on the internet.”
To organise and host a successful webinar, you do not need much more than a list of invitees, a webcam, some scripted content that you want to share with an audience, and a broadband connection to stream high-quality footage directly to your audience. But the benefits availed of are more permanent than you may think. They generate leads, can transform your online reputation and even generate sales leads. Shares Vipul, “The opportunity webinars present is tremendous. The number of people one can reach; and that it is cost effective and time saving are big draws, more so for the business traveller and educational institutes.”
Puskaraj agrees and says, “Webinars are allowing us to make the maximum use of the current lockdown period and reach out to our partners, teams and customers alike. Our education team has utilised these to refresh and hone the skills of our teams, so we meet our consumers with fresh skills and renewed enthusiasm once the lockdown ends. As we look forward to reopening of salons after the lockdown, we have digitally trained our team – right from the housekeeping staff and experts to salon managers, office teams and business partners – in new methods of safety and hygiene to ensure complete adherence to safety protocols at the salon level.”
Downsides of webinars
Technology has its own set of issues, and Vipul and Puskaraj share that there is less interaction as compared to an event where we are face to face with an audience. It sometimes leads to loss of synergy. Elaborating on the thought Puskaraj says, “While webinars and digital seminars are going to be the new normal, we will need to work around a few points like:
– Technical difficulties during the session: Losing network and consequently your audience is a challenge.
– Limited opportunities for audience interaction: A live seminar will always be a dynamic and interactive experience. Webinars can fall prey to other distractions that may come up during the session. Also, it is difficult to interact with large audiences at a single time. Communication in webinars is usually very structured, and though the instructor may answer questions, we may not be able to respond to all.
– Especially in our industry where new skills need to be practised, we can host a large Look and Learn session, but the hands-on will need a follow up class.
A webinar is hosted with a purpose in mind, be it to learn or launch a product or have a discussion. To ensure these are met with shares Vipul, “Before launching a webinar, it is imperative to promote the webinar in the form of email blasts, direct text messages or Whatsapp messages. It is much like I would promote and market a new service in my salon. Today, it has become a great medium that allows adherence to social distancing, yet connect with people and carry on with education, which is a priority for us hairdressers.”
It is also possible to measure the success of a webinar. Reveals Puskaraj, “Thanks to technology and the different apps available, a webinar today also gives enough data that allows us to measure its success. We have done several webinars and have used the below measures to gauge their success:
– Number of participants who have registered and attended the session.
– Number of questions and comments throughout the session.
– Audience queries on the brand’s social media handles after the session.
Shivam Chaurasia, Founder, Invoay, an IT firm, shares pointers for an effective webinar. He reveals, “A successful webinar needs to cover topics such as management of business, best practices, the role of technology in engaging customers, the role of the industry association, the role of product companies, and overall growth of the team. In order to create an effective webinar, industry leaders like salon owners, product owners, and more need to be engaged in a discussion and have it promoted on their respective social page. Google Ad words should be used wherever possible. Also the best software for hosting webinars is Webinar Jam, which is used by various businesses and industries for online marketing, and apps like Google Meet and Zoom.”
Customer Engagement in Real Time
“The whole aim of hosting a webinar is to engage with the audience in real time. The key to an interesting session is the topic, the duration of the session and how you interact with the audience. Our experts continuously ask questions during the sessions and reply to audience questions and comment in real time, also calling them out by name – in short, involving them in the session. For internal sessions, there are fun quizzes after every section to make sure that people are paying attention!”- Puskaraj Shenai, CEO, Lakme Lever