It's officially springtime and conferences are happening every single week. Every industry has a handful, or more, of popular events and a lot will be taking place in the next couple of months. You might personally be ready for the big conference, your suitcase is packed, you have your laptop and a notepad ready for all of the information you'll take in, but is your business ready? Is your business ready on social media?
If your business is showcasing at a conference, a social media strategy should be in place to help support your company's presence. Get in front of your audience during 3 different times: pre-event, live-event, and post-event to fully showcase why your business is there.
Here's how to successfully tackle each time frame for your event social media marketing!
Promoting your business's presence prior to a conference is crucial. You need to let your audience and potential new prospects know where you're going to be and when.
Start promotions about 4-6 weeks prior to the event. This gives you a lot of time to ramp up excitement and awareness. These promotions should include basic information such as: booth number/location, sponsorship level, speaking sessions, product demos, giveaways, and any VIP/customer dinner or party you are hosting.
The basics are important because weeks prior to a conference, attendees are planning their schedules and starting to network. Get ahead of competition and make sure everyone knows where to find your business day 1 of the event.
Moving to the actual event now...
Day 1 of the conference is here! For 4 weeks, you have been getting your social audience excited about the event and what you have to offer.
Engaging LIVE during a conference is when your business will reach the most people and receive the most engagements. This is mainly due to the use of an event hashtag - attendees will be scrolling through live updates on popular platforms like Twitter and Instagram to see what's hot at all hours of the day.
Here is what your business should do to trend during the event:
Video: The opportunity for video at events is MASSIVE! Film booth set up, give your audience a sneak peak of what the booth will look like. Live stream demos that are going on at your booth (but not the whole thing!) make sure you get your audience on social at the booth to see the rest. Conduct interviews with your onsite subject matter experts (why are you there? what are we offering?) and even booth visitors! This showcases your business's presence but also drives more booth traffic since there is a chance to be interviewed, and obviously get a piece of swag or two! Video performs best on Twitter and Instagram at events, this is where trending hashtags will take full effect.
Attend sessions: Live tweet sessions that your company is hosting or industry-leading sessions that relate directly to your business. Send out quotes from top influencers (be sure to tag them!) and any stats/facts that you know your audience will want to see. Video is critical here too as some of your social following may not actually be at the event. Don't let them miss out! Video of sessions can get your entire audience engaged, not just those at the event.
Just to encourage you a little more here, my company attended two large industry events last month, and from being LIVE at the event on social, we generated over 10 million impressions. AWESOME! Talk about getting an audience in front of your biz...
Social coverage does not end when you pack up your booth and head back to the office! A solid social media strategy for events extends about 3-4 week post-event.
Here are a couple of things you can do to extend event coverage post-event:
Create new content! Write a couple of blog posts of key takeaways from the event. Post these to your social platforms with the event hashtag and appropriate social pages for further amplification.
Re-purpose event content. Download your live videos from Twitter and Instagram and cross-promote each video on other platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. This offers a new opportunity for your content to reach an even larger audience.
Follow up with prospects. Were there specific social users that were highly engaged with your event content? Reach out to them and see if there is anything you can help them with or if there is any further insight they need. Social is also a great platform to reach out to booth visitors on, if you do not have a nurture program set in place.
Conferences are fun, extremely tiring, but most importantly, a huge opportunity for your business to develop new relationships and grow existing ones. See even more success at the next event your business attends by developing a full social plan from pre-event to post-event!