With Business South (or #BizSouth if you are using a # on Twitter) opening in Hampshire this week, I thought it would be useful to review how using Social Media enables you to maximise your time at events, including participation at exhibitions.
Whether you are exhibiting, organising or simply attending, using Social Media will help you network more efficiently and advertise your presence to people who may be wishing to meet you.
Social Media Adds to Your Marketing Activity
In today’s business environment Social Media is a vital additional component to any marketing mix, helping to promote footfall to your exhibition stand, advertise your event to potential delegates as well as driving traffic to your website.
Social Media is in the main free, unless you select to use special tools, but will require your time or that of someone working for you. Using different social media platforms to raise the profile of your event by letting people know about it is essential if you want to get the best value for money out of any event you are involved with.
Social Media Works When Used Properly
Events and networking are social activities so have great synergy with Social Media, which is invaluable in promoting awareness about your activity.
When your online reputation and customer service matter to you, you need to be on top of what people are saying about your business, including events, which means you need to be using Social Media for monitoring as well as promoting.
Social Media when conducted properly will bring you additional business by creating new opportunities and starting conversations with prospective exhibitors or delegates. The ideal use of Social Media when exhibiting is to raise awareness about what your company is about and then invite people to visit you at your stand to meet you in person. This takes the pressure off the client, or prospective client, but also enables you to move away from the digital world to make face to face contact. The two methods of communicating are very complimentary and this is when Social Media is at its best.
Social Media can be used for planning too, reducing the needs to travel to meetings, with Google Hangouts or Skype calls.
How To Use Social Media for Events
There are many Social Media platforms you can use, but to get you started you may like to consider:
Twitter – Use a Hashtag (#) before, during and after your event. Remember to use the # for your event on printed materials, not just on Tweets.
If you feel confident why not consider a Twitter wall? This will need monitoring to make sure the account is not hijacked with any inappropriate Tweets or by any Spammers.
You may also wish to combine Twitter and Pinterest as well as offline marketing to deliver a Social Media Scavenger Hunt – this is something we are putting on for Business South. It encourages visits to exhibitors and improves delegate flow around the exhibition, as well as raising the profile of the event.
Google+ - Set up an event and think about switching “party mode” on so you can upload pictures and videos from your event directly onto Google+. Google+ will let you contact people in your circles or communities before the event and will even upload the event to Google calendars and send out reminders. Make sure you share any posts publicly for maximum visibility.
Facebook – Post pictures and videos onto your Facebook page and remember to set up your event on Facebook too, inviting “friends” from Facebook to your event. Like Google+ make sure your event is set to public mode too (unless it is for private invitees only!)
LinkedIn – depending on your event and number of connections you may wish to post the event information on your company page or individual stream, with a link to the appropriate website page.
You may even want to send private messages through LinkedIn to people you think will be most interested, but don’t spam your connections with unwelcome invitations or they will soon revoke the connection.
Remember to use groups on LinkedIn, as you can target your likely audience most successfully if you belong to the right groups. As some groups have rules about advertising it may be best to generate awareness in your event by asking a question such as what topics would you like covered, who would you like to see at an exhibition etc. rather than blatantly promoting your event.
Pinterest – Run a competition on Pinterest prior or after the event, including pictures and videos of the event or you may prefer to look at alternatives such as Flikr for such post event pictures.
YouTube – Record visitors to your event or exhibition stand and upload to YouTube so those attending can relive memories or spot themselves at the event (those that could not attend will see what they missed!)
Remember Eventbrite – it’s free if your event is free and not overly expensive even if you are charging for tickets. Eventbrite enables you to collect data as well as communicating your event by email, Twitter and Facebook (you can even track which Facebook friends are going). It helps with organisation too, as you can print off delegate badges and guest lists to check people in. Eventbrite provides a mobile and desktop version, to make this easier.
Supplement any event with emails and information on your website, so people can find out more details. You may want to add a booking form to your website, for example.
There are many other opportunities for event promotion such as using FourSquare, Slideshare or Storify, but the list given above is just to get you started and thinking in terms of Social Media for your event.
As you can see, if you are the organiser, giving those attending access to WiFi will help you publicise your event. Social Media is invaluable, spreading the word further and generating more interest in your event, next event as well as your organisation generally. If you think about the cost of WiFi and Social Media it is not that dear compared to the mail-shots and other advertising you used to rely on for events.
How to Start Using Social Media
If you are unsure about how to use Social Media effectively, it is worth attending a course to find out how best to use your time and make your efforts on Social Media work. If you can, attend a seminar about Social Media, such as the one being run at Business South, on Thursday 21st March (11.00 a.m. to 11.45 a.m.). The session will look at Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.
If you already use Twitter please remember to add #BizSouth to your Tweets if you are Tweeting at or about Business South – and remember to visit our stand at T14 to find out even more about Social Media.By Nicky Hirst
Comments (0)Post has no comments.