What 12 speakers shared in my online summit – and what I learned about running one

Thinking about running your own online summit? Find out what 12 speakers shared over three days in Louise Brogan’s online summit – and what she learned about running one.

This week I launched my three-day online summit Raising Your Visibility. I had 12 amazing speakers plus one fab Pilates breakout sessions (thank you Louise Humphreys of Studio44 Pilates) across three days, with my own three additional sessions on social media.

During the three days, we covered podcasting, sales, mindset, profit, websites, social media, branding, speaking events and so much more.

For people who had signed up to watch the summit in real time, it was completely free. Each day was available for 24 hours. We also had a pop-up Facebook group for summiteers to join and chat about the sessions, meet the speakers and network with each other.

Why did I run a summit and what did I learn from doing it?

The ethos of my business is to help other women to grow their businesses. One of my favourite sayings is ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’ and I truly believe this.

I have built up a fantastic network of women (and some men… let’s not leave our Martin Huntbach as my extremely knowledgeable web ninja in the summit).

I know that these entrepreneurs are very talented and have a lot of advice they can share with my audience, so I invited them to be part of this summit.

So hold on a moment… is it just that simple?

The truth is, at least three of my speakers have delivered keynote talks at international conferences. Many of them have much larger followings than I do. So why would they agree to be part of this summit?

This is where I think many people online are being a little misdirected. Social media and business (in my opinion). are best used to grow connections and network. The key is in the name… keep it social sweetie!

I have connections with all of my speakers – through connecting in real life, on Instagram stories, inside Facebook groups and on LinkedIn. As a podcaster, my favourite way to consume content is by listening to podcasts, and at least five of my speakers have very successful podcasts.

So what did they all talk about?

The topic of the summit, and the focus for my speakers sessions was on Raising Your Visibility, both on and offline.

We had between four and five sessions per day, so not completely overwhelming. The feedback has been mind-blowing. Here’s a taste of the comments I have received already:

“Louise, I just want to say thank you for a wonderful summit. The speakers were all brilliant, very informative with loads of advice and tips. I am so glad I came across Social Bee and this summit opportunity, invaluable! If somebody has missed it I have no hesitation in recommending it.”

“Fantastic event Louise – well done on putting together such a comprehensive panel of speakers.”

“For someone like me , who is all new to the world of social media and the various possibilities, it was very useful to see how this all interacts to market yourself and your business to bring about growth.”

What I will do differently next time

For my next summit, I will do a few things differently. First and foremost, I will not launch every day at 9am! As a mum who works from home, dropping my sons off at school and dashing back to the house to ‘release’ the sessions for the day was a little bit too risky. Next time, the days will start at a less stressful 10am.

I did get a few emails from people who were annoyed they had missed day one because they only signed up on day two, but I stuck to my schedule. If you do run something like a summit or a webinar, you will learn that if you start to bend the rules for one person you get yourself in a sticky mess pretty quickly.

So I did reply to these emails and explain the format of the summit and that they were very welcome to sign up for the All-Access pass.

The other thing I would do differently is offer out the lowest-price All Access pass a lot sooner than the first day. I had the most sales on this first morning, and looking back, I think I would have had a lot more if I had sent out the offer earlier.

I thought that I would have had a lot more unsubscribes to my email list than I actually did. I grew my list by about 500 names, and I only had about 30 unsubscribes from the whole list.

I promoted the summit my way

I know for other people who run summits, they ask their speakers to promote it and share email swipe copy to send to their email lists. This is not my style of business.

I feel funny sending an email to my own list that isn’t written by me, so I think that the same must apply to other entrepreneurs. Maybe that is missing a trick, but I would rather build my business my own way.

Others also will only accept speakers who have a minimum following of 5,000, but again, I think that means they are missing out on some top quality sessions.

I have less than 5,000 on my email list, but I can teach you more about using social media in your business than most people you will meet. (Yes, I am owning that… I just received an award from Facebook as an ambassador to business in the UK and I think I deserve to celebrate it.)

So where does this all lead?

The summit content is all inside my ‘vault’ online. If you still wanted to watch it you can access all of it through the All-Access pass here, which means you can take your own sweet time listening to all the training and value.

And I am going to take time to nurture all my new leads on my email list – share information and advice on online marketing, and focus on delivering value and help to those people so that they can raise their own visibility online and GROW their own businesses.

Louise Brogan is the owner of Social Bee NI, where she helps women entrepreneurs understand how to use online marketing to grow their business. You can ask find Social Bee NI on Facebook.

Photo by Nicole Honeywill