What are the must-attend events in your industry?
You know, the ones where you’re committed to making an appearance because it’s the right thing to do for your profile, your positioning, and your organisation.
Whether you’re exhibiting, speaking, or sitting in the audience, events are a good way make new contacts, build your network, and find new customers.
So once you’ve got your ticket (or secured your speaking or exhibiting spot), make the most of your attendance by using it as a marketing angle — before, during, and after the event.
This needn’t require a lot of extra work. In fact, if you keep reading you’ll discover a series of simple social media strategies that can start conversations, raise your profile, and increase your return from the next event you attend.
Let me show you how…
What to do on social media before you attend the event
1. Figure out your strategy
First up, get clear on your reasons for attending. Do you want to:
- Learn about your field
- Make new connections and build your network
- Position yourself as a potential speaker/exhibitor for future events
- Create joint venture opportunities with speakers
- Get referrals
- Build awareness of your exhibition stand and encourage people to come and see you
This important first step helps ensure your social media marketing delivers the results you want.
2. Research the event
Make sure you stay on top of what the organiser is saying in the lead up to the event by following their social media accounts. To do this, you need to collect the following event information:
- Organizer Twitter handle
- Organizer LinkedIn
- Organizer Facebook
3. Research the speakers
Whether you’re prioritising which sessions to attend or figuring out which speakers to connect with, time spent collecting their information will pay off.
You’ll need to know the:
- Speaker’s name
- Twitter handle
- LinkedIn details
- Facebook address
- Bitly link to their session along with any hashtags they use
Once collected, it will be easy to mention speakers in your social media marketing. In turn, you could increase your reach and even initiate conversations with the speakers.
4. Tell people you’re attending
Use your social platforms to announce your attendance. Here are some tips to enhance your results from this:
- Craft a weekly tweet that promotes your attendance at an event. Remember to include a link to the event website along with the event hashtag as well as the organiser’s handle.
- Tag relevant speakers and tweet that you’re looking forward to seeing them. Here’s a template you can use:
- “Looking forward to seeing @PERSON at EVENT BITLYWEBSITE – looks to be a great topic #HASHTAG”.
- Ensure your tweets contain the hashtags you want people to associate with you. (For example, here at Fonteva we want to show up in #Salesforce searches).
- If early bird discounts are available for the event, include this information in two of your tweets.
- Remember to add visuals. Pictures can boost engagement and visibility in a fast-moving social timeline.
- Connect with influencers via LinkedIn
- Craft a post to promote your attendance at the event together with a link to the event website. To boost engagement, you could:
- Talk about your reasons for attending
- Say what you hope to get from visiting
- Ask who else is attending so you can start to make connections and conversations
- Similar to your strategy for LinkedIn, publish posts that announce your attendance with a link to the event website. Also, think about how you could boost engagement. For example:
- If it’s an event you’ve attended before, post a picture from the last time and say how you’re looking forward to going again
- Talk about a speaker you’re most looking forward to hearing and say why – you could ask your audience what they think of this speaker
- If you’re exhibiting or speaking give people a teaser about what you’ll share
- Ask who else is going and invite people to make time to meet face-to-face
- Tweet to find out who else is attending. Here’s a template to try:
- “Who’s going to the EVENT #Hashtag? It would be great to catch-up HASHTAG #Associations.”
- Select up to five key influencers who are attending or speaking and Tweet to them to encourage them to visit your stand or to chat with a senior person. For example:
- “Hey @INFLUENCER great to see we’re both at EVENT #Hashtag. We’d love to catch-up. Are you around to chat with @SENIORPERSON on Monday?”
Post these tweets twice a day — once in the morning and again in the afternoon. Be conscious of where in the world said influencer is — time zones matter!
- Publish your attendance at an event with a link to website and state which sessions you’re speaking at, hosting, or sponsoring.
- Publish a blog post to support any speaking slots and share what topics you’ll be speaking about. Remember to include:
- Why people should attend
- Key takeaways to expect
- Speaker contact details
Before publishing, remember to test how your post will look when people share it via Buffer and HootSuite. You want to be sure the header and image are picked up correctly.
Facebook: Same as your LinkedIn strategy, but include a Bitly link for the session(s).
- Tweet about looking forward to seeing people at the event. If you have a stand, remember to promote your competition/giveaway along with any relevant hashtags to increase your visibility.
5. Reach out to contacts connected with people you want to meet
If someone you know is connected to someone who you want to meet, use the event to ask for an introduction (and arrange a face-to-face meet up).
6. Keep your eyes on the pre-event chatter
If there’s an event hashtag you can search for it across the social media platforms. This is an easy way to stay on top of the pre-event conversations and identify who else is attending.
If you identify other attendees that you want to connect with, the event gives you an opener, which you both have in common. You can use it to start a conversation and even arrange a face-to-face meet up on the day.
What to do on social media during an event
1. Get social!
If there’s a Twitter wall, then you want to own it – subtly. Here’s how…
- 8 am: Use your first tweet of the day to remind your audience that you’re attending/presenting/exhibiting at an event. For example:
- “Fonteva #CRM is exhibiting at [EVENT]. Look forward to showing you the latest features in #Associations #HASHTAG”.
- Start of show: Take a picture of your stand (if it looks good!) and tweet out. For example:
- “Ready and waiting with our team to talk.” Remember to include your hashtags and the event’s.
- Start of show + 10 minutes: Take a picture of the WI-FI codes and share – it’s key information that lots of people will want. Imagine the impact of getting it from you! For example:
- “Looking for the WI-FI code at #HASHTAG then it’s here.”
- Tweet 10 Minutes before each session you’re involved in. For example:
- “We’re talking about Topic at EVENT at TIME with @Richard_Y #HASHTAG.” Remember to do the same as the session starts.
- If you have someone who’s skilled at Twitter, ask them to live tweet from a session. It helps if you have prepared text and images to support this.
- Tweet 10 Minutes before any significant influencer session that you’d like to engage with:
- “Don’t forget @INFLUENCER is talking TOPIC at TIME #HASHTAG.”
- Throughout the day take pictures, tweet about key incidents, and initiate conversations. Remember to tag key people too. For example:
- Take photos with influencers and speakers (this is valuable social proof which you can use after the event too)
- Tweet pictures of people talking at your stand
- Take photos of the lunch!
- Tweet key takeaways and phrases from sessions
Remember to tag any key individuals and include relevant hashtags to boost your visibility.
What to do on social media after you’ve attended an event
Once the event is over, make sure you capitalise on your attendance by taking to social media in the days that follow. Here are some simple actions you can take to achieve this:
1. Use social media to talk about your key takeaways
Event day +1
- Publish a blog to support any speaking slot. Include takeaways and tips that expand on your presentation.
- Promote this across all your social media channels.
- Include a call to action that invites people to contact you for more information.
- Consider creating a white paper aligned to your audience and the event. Make access gated so you can collect contact details on the back of the event.
Event day +5
- Publish a blog to share your key event takeaways and promote across all your social media channels.
- Promote your white paper so that your blog also helps to build your list of prospects.
Event day +30
- Repurpose the +1 blog you wrote for LinkedIn.
- Remember to reference the original blog, but expand to 2000 words and include eight images.
- Ensure your call to action is strong, relevant, and drives useful activity, which you can follow up.
Event day +35
- Repurpose the +5 blog you wrote for LinkedIn.
- Again, reference the original +5 blog, but expand to 2000 words and include eight images.
- End with a compelling call to action.
2. Use social media to follow up connections and continue conversations
Make sure you capitalise on any conversations and new contacts from the event by taking to social media:
- Follow people and make contact on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter
- Create a generic message that you can tweak and personalise
- Get clear on where you’d like the conversation to go and prioritise your messaging appropriately
- Get chatting
As you can see, with a little bit of preparation, you can use social media to maximise the value you get from attending an event. Whether you’re exhibiting, speaking, or simply attending, make the most of your presence by taking to social to start conversations, boost your profile, build your network, and make more sales.
The tips in this blog are a good start. Use them the next time you attend an event and see if your return on investment doesn’t increase.