by Steve Phillip, Linked2Success
I exhibit and speak at various events around the UK and many of these I’m paid to talk at. When I exhibit however, I’m usually paying to rent a stand in the organiser’s hall to promote my services. In either case, I never turn up without first letting the world and her dog know that I’m going to be there.
I’m always surprised when organisers of events I’m involved with, send me an email to thank me for frequently tweeting my attendance at their event. Often I’m provided with a database of registered attendees and again, the organisers thank me for emailing attendees to let them know where they can find me on the day and, in the process, I end up indirectly promoting the entire event by inviting my clients and other business contacts to come along.
Don’t Blame The Organisers If No One Shows Up On The Day
I know from experience, that there’s a tremendous amount of work that goes into getting paying and even non-paying visitors to turn up to any event. Weeks of marketing; flyers, emails, newspaper ads, radio, the list is endless and as stand holders, we often rock up to the event, raise our pop-up banners, lay out the obligatory bowl of Quality Street and wait, with baited breath, for the throngs to storm our stands.
However, it’s the efforts of us, the stand holders and speakers, that helps to ensure that the foundations, laid by the event organisers, result in an amazing event on the day. It’s a joint venture and you’re not going to achieve a return from the time and money you’ve invested, if you’re not prepared to spend some time promoting your appearance at the events you exhibit and speak at
10 Top Tips for Promoting Your Participation at Any Event
Digital and social media marketing has made promoting most things, these days, both easy and inexpensive but you will need to invest some time. Here are my top tips for getting a great return from your event:
Tip 1: Email your current database and let them know you’ll be at the event and which stand you can be found on (provide a room map if available). Don’t just rely on one email either, create 2 or 3 variations of your message leading up to the event.
Tip 2: Consider running a competition, which requires event visitors to come to your stand. Include the competition in your emails and promote it on your various social media sites. Facebook users love competitions.
Tip 3: Message your LinkedIn connections – review your connections and identify those you’d really like to have a meeting with. It’s a great excuse to get back in touch with some of those useful but long lost connections and rekindle the relationship with them.
Tip 4 : Find out which #hashtag is being used by the event organisers and include this in your tweets to promote your attendance.
Tip 5: – Use a scheduling site, such as Hootsuite, to plan your LinkedIn updates and tweets, so they continue to be shared with your followers, whilst you’re busy on your stand or speaking. Speakers can pre-schedule a tweet to say “Looking forward to speaking at #XYZevent in 15 minutes in Hall B” rather than suddenly finding you’ve run out of time to tweet and miss the chance to get more people in the room.
Tip 6: Consider a Facebook or LinkedIn Paid Ads campaign and target specific types of individuals, inviting them to attend the event and visit your stand or hear you speak.
Tip 7: Post a short video, if you’re speaking at the event. This tip will only apply if you have a speaker show reel or some decent video footage of you speaking. A great video will help draw more visitors to the event to hear you speak.
Tip 8: Post images of your stand, so that people know what your stand looks like. People may know roughly where you are from the floorplan but could end up walking right by you, because they didn’t recognise your stand.
Tip 9: Use your amplifier network, to retweet your tweets, share your LinkedIn updates or Facebook posts. Who are your close followers and connections who regularly share your content? Try tagging them in your event updates and posts and when they like or leave a comment, you’ll also reach their audience of friends, family and business connections.
Tip 10: Most important – follow up immediately after the event. Make sure you email, promptly, those hot enquiries and consider giving a shout-out (tag them) on LinkedIn and Twitter to those important business contacts who visited your stand and then engage with them when they respond.
These days, great event planning is not just about making sure you’ve packed the banners, tables and cloths etc, it’s about how you promote yourself before, during and after the event. That’s the way you end up achieving a real return on your investment.
Looking forward to meeting everyone at this year’s Yorkshire Business Market. I’ll be opening up the speaker seminars at 11:00am with my talk on ‘Attracting More Of The Right Customers Using LinkedIn’
Steve Phillip is Managing Director and founder of Linked2Success Limited. Since 2009, he has helped hundreds of professionals around the UK, in Europe and the USA, in companies such as The British Red Cross, Toyota GB, FedEx, The Civil Court Users Association, Deloitte, as well as many small to medium sized businesses, to attract more of the right customers and strengthen their online brand presence, using tools such as LinkedIn and other social media.