Events – whether they are conferences, charity fundraising days or exhibitions – can be fantastic marketing opportunities for your business. Not only can you promote your products and services to attendees, by networking or having a stand at an event, you can also promote your business to a much wider audience online: your social media following.
Here are some top tips on how to use social media successfully before, during and after an event.
Before the event
Consider which platforms you will use. If you’re a B2B company attending a trade show, for example, LinkedIn will probably work well for you. If you’re B2C taking part in a charity event, Twitter or Facebook could prove more suitable. Look at what other companies in your industry are doing with events – where do they post? How well are the posts received?
Make sure you plan ahead. Decide who in your team will be responsible for posting on your company social media profiles. Do they have the logins they will need? They might require some guidance on what to post and how often, so set out some guidelines for them to work from.
If you plan to post photos, which is definitely a good idea, make sure your team has a decent camera phone to use to avoid poor quality shots.
Scheduling updates before an event using a social media scheduling tool, such as Hootsuite, could be a good idea. This way, if your team end up being far too busy and forget to post anything, at least something will go out.
Do your research. Most events will have an official hashtag. Find out what it is in advance, and use it in all of your tweets about the event to join in with the conversation.
For example, we recently held an ‘office Olympics’ fundraising day for Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People. We sent out the following tweet the day before, using a hashtag we created for the event:
Let people know you’ll be there. Post updates in the run-up to an event, letting your followers know you’ll be attending, and where they can find you if they’re going to be there too. Search for the event hashtag to find other attendees and connect with them in advance.
During the event
Get posting! Good quality photos of your smiling event team will always work well, but think outside of the box too. Are you showcasing a new product at the event? Maybe you could upload or live-stream a video demonstration?
During our ‘office Olympics’ we posted the following short video clip on Twitter:
If you’re exhibiting, running a small competition or promotion on social media can be a great way of driving traffic to your stand. Alternatively, if you have a special offer on for event attendees only, shout about this on your social media accounts to drum up interest.
Here are five golden rules which apply to anything you share on social media:
- Post something that others will share. This could be because they find it entertaining, useful, or both!
- Make sure you use calls to action, such as “Come and see us at stand…” or “Take advantage of this special offer for today only…”
- Always check before you post. Spelling or other errors look bad on social media, so always proofread.
- If somebody engages with your posts or contacts you on social media, make sure you reply in good time.
- Have a system in place to handle any negative feedback. This is always a possibility, so it’s better to be safe than sorry!
After the event
Consider ways you can use your event experience to produce more content for your social media profiles. For example, you could write a post-show review and publish it on your blog first, then share it on social media. Other people who went to the event, or the organisers, will probably be interested in hearing your views.
At the event, you could run a quick poll on people who visit your stand, or who you meet during the day. This could be related to the event, or an issue within your industry. Once you’ve collected enough data, you could publish this in visual form, such as an infographic, and share it with your social media audience.
Say thank you, to the organisers and any new connections you made on the day. Flattery will get you everywhere!
After a smoothie-tasting session in the office, we thanked the organisers and tagged them in the tweet:
If you need help with planning your social media activity for an event, please feel free to contact us to see how we could help.