Let’s be honest, exhibiting at an event is expensive; the bigger the show, the bigger the opportunity, the higher the cost and the more pressure to deliver a return on investment. Have you thought about how social media can increase your return on investment at the event?
Attendees will have an exhibitor list and they may walk the whole event to take it all in. But that’s only 2 interaction points with your brand and a moment in time to attract their attention.
By using social media before, during and after the event, you have many more touch points to utilise and more opportunities to provide a solution to their problem if you are paying attention.
If you are heading to an event soon, take a read through these suggestions and take a moment to work out how many more connections you could make if you leveraged your social media presence.
Build up to the event:
- Start networking by going through the exhibitor list on the show’s website and follow any businesses that interest you. Introduce yourself and suggest visiting their stand. Get the conversation started.
- Follow the show’s social accounts and search the show hashtag to see who’s talking about it already.
- Follow your competitors too to get a little insight into what they might be focusing on at the show and how they engage with their customers. But hopefully you will already have them in your sights anyway.
- Start to engage using the show hashtag. The show’s social accounts will very likely RT for you which helps boost your reach.
- Post about the show on your social accounts. Tell people that you will be there, where your stand is, what they can expect to see or perhaps a teaser to entice them over. Link them over to where they can buy tickets and ask them to follow you to be kept up to date with what’s happening on the day.
- Plan your content for the day. Take a little time to schedule content ahead which will give you freedom to spend more time on interaction. Plan any live content so you can advertise that it is coming up and attract more viewers. Plan any giveaways you might want to do. Plan Plan Plan.
- Decide who is going to post to your social accounts on the day. That person will be busy! That way other team members can focus on getting leads without worrying about posting too.
- When you are setting up your stand post a few photos of how it is all coming together. You will be helping to build the excitement, add authenticity to your brand, and show people what your stand will look like so they can find you more easily.
- USE THE SHOW HASHTAG to be found by the most attendees.
- Post often, every hour, every platform. As long as you keep it varied you are not spamming.
- Post photos of people on your stand (not standing with their hands in their pockets or eating or drinking though (unless you are a food or drink brand)). Show interaction, show it is buzzing.
- Encourage selfies using an Instagram frame for instance. It’s becoming a bit overused but it still works!
- Go live! Use Facebook Live or Instagram Live. You can do a walk around of your stand, have a chat with a colleague to explain what’s going on, do a mini tutorial, hold a Q&A. Do a mini live video first telling people what time the main event is happening. Facebook gives live content a leg up the news feed so if people see the teaser they are more likely to tune in to the big one.
- Hold a competition: the most retweets gets a free gizmo. Make the gizmo relevant to your brand and your target customer though. Give away every hour to keep the engagement going or a bigger gizmo at the end of the day. If the show is across a couple of days, do a giveaway each day. Most people will attend for one day only.
- Instagram story: keep the story going with stills and video giving your followers the show experience particularly if they haven’t been able to attend.
- Keep listening: People will use the show hashtag to ask who they should come and talk to about the problem they have and you can be there to offer your help if you are monitoring the show hashtag.
- Look out for variants of the show hashtag. Not everyone will know what it is, and may mistype or use one that they think is right.
- Get every single person that visits your stand to follow you. Make it easy and obvious by having a poster or sign with your social media accounts, and ask them directly. A great way to encourage people to follow you is to ask if you can take their picture for your twitter, and then ask for their handle to tag them. Chances are they will RT it and follow you too.
After the show, keep those interactions going.
- Thank everyone that followed you during the show with a tweet, or a like on Facebook of a double click on Instagram.
- You can write a blog post to put on your website about your highlights and then share it on your social channels.
- Tag any people that feature in that post so they can share it too.
- Create a Facebook video or slide show of the highlights and tag pages that you feature in it.
- After a couple of weeks use the #ThrowbackThursday hashtag to show more content from the show.
- If a relationship has developed after meeting at the show, tell your followers about it. They will be encouraged that you used the opportunity, are genuine about building your business and may encourage others to follow up too.
A show or live event is a fantastic opportunity to grow your social presence and your brand visibility. By following these steps you will be adding authenticity to your brand, maximising your reach and giving yourself the best chance of getting leads to grow your business.
If this all seems too much for you to contend with, fair enough, but you don’t have to miss out. Hire a social media manager for the event (like me *wink) that can help you plan and execute and give you more content than you will know what to do with for following up leads. Get in touch so I can help you get the best return on investment from your event!