Are you attending a trade show, conference or some other event? You absolutely need to be active on social media! Why? Every business wants their prospective customers to know they exist. With so many product and service offerings out there, it can be difficult to stand out in the crowd — especially at events that are saturated with businesses that are just like yours! You may be asking yourself, “how do I rise above the rest and attract people at events to connect with me and learn more about my business?” or “how can I get the most out of the time and money I invest in attending such functions?”
Below are a number of ways to use social media before, during and after your event to help attract prospective customers to your business and build buzz around your brand.
Before the Event:
- Let your audience know you’re attending weeks/months in advance. Include your booth # in your post, if applicable. This helps to create buzz very early on.
- Create a countdown. Create and post content 5, 7, or 10 days before the event to share your anticipation for attending. Countdown ideas: a simple image/gif/video with numbers counting down to the event with your logo and the event hashtag, a different reason daily as to why you are excited for the event, a variety of stats about your business/product/service, testimonials, etc. Get creative!
- Use the event hashtag in posts leading up to the event across any and all social platforms your business uses.
- Consider creating a hashtag specific to your business and the event.
- Follow the event host, association, organizers, vendors, attendees, etc. on Twitter.
- …and communicate with them! Let other attendees know you’re excited to connect with them at the event!
- Consider creating and posting teaser videos/photos leading up to the event if you are launching a new product/service, or are unveiling new features to your product or additions to your team.
- Give a “behind-the-scenes” look or a sneak peek at your team, strategizing sessions, booth setup, materials, swag and more! This will build excitement in your audience and hopefully encourage them to visit you at the event.
During the Event:
- Snap photos and post them to your social networks in a timely manner. Don’t forget to include the hashtag and a geotag (share your location) so that others who are at the event are aware of your presence!
- Experiment with video. If you’re super tech-savvy, make a time-lapse of yourself setting up, or capture video of your business interacting with visitors throughout the day.
- Consider live streaming components of the event, such as setting up your booth, announcing the winner of a contest/giveaway, providing a sneak peek of your promotional items, encouraging others to visit your booth, etc.
- Incorporate an activity at your booth that encourages others to post about your brand. A great idea is to have visitors snap selfies using your product/service, share it on social media, use your hashtag, and tag your company in the post to be entered into a draw.
- Use other marketing methods in conjunction with social media. Include your social media links on all handouts, and use these handouts as a takeaway for visitors. Another great idea is to consider looping testimonials (video or text) on a monitor at your booth so others can quickly see just how great your product/service is.
- Don’t forget about the folks at home! Unfortunately, not every one can attend such events, so consider utilizing social media to get a message out to your audience letting them know their presence was missed and perhaps offering some sort of incentive (such as a coupon code, a chance to win a prize, an exclusive offer, etc.) If you are taking this route, try to ensure that the people actually attending the event walk way with something of higher value than the ones who didn’t attend — especially if the ones who are attending pay to be there.
After the Event:
- Make connections. Once you get back to the office, flip through the business cards you receive and connect with absolutely every single person you met at the event on social media. Be sure to follow their business accounts, too. Once connected, use built-in messaging on the platform of your choice to send off a quick, personalized note letting these individuals know you were pleased to meet them. Don’t get “salesy” in this message — save that for an email.
- Follow up. Be sure to send off emails to individuals you feel would benefit from your product/service. Don’t forget that you can also send off emails to those individuals who couldn’t make it to the event and offer them some sort of perk, too. Be sure to include your links to your social platforms and encourage attendees to continue the conversation about the event on social media and use both your personal company hashtag as well as the event hashtag when doing so.
- Blog about it. Why not sit down and take some time to recap the event in a blog and highlight special moments that occurred during the event? A blog post is another great way to encourage others to continue the conversation surrounding the event on your social media platforms, or share their experience directly on your blog post! Optimize your post settings to include tags that align with the event. Once you publish your post, be sure to share it on all your social accounts and include the event hashtag when doing so.
- Give thanks! When the event is over, send out a quick Tweet to the event hosts, organizers, sponsors, etc. thanking them for producing such a great event!