Social media networks, like radio and television before them, have opened the world to marketers, allowing them to disseminate branded messaging to an ever-increasing audience.
Event marketers are not immune to the effect social media is having on the world, and as such, they need to make sure they are abreast with the inner workings of social media marketing as it pertains to tradeshows and face-to-face events.
Navigating the social media marketing waters can be difficult. Sure Facebook, Twitter and the multitude of other social platforms are being creatively used by many industries, but where should event marketers start? Read the following five tips to get a head start with your social media marketing efforts:
1. Create unique-formatted tweets
You may not be the only event marketer harnessing the power of Twitter, but you can make sure that you are the most unique. Most events have an official hashtag for tweets relating to the event. These official hashtags are where the majority of the Twitter chatter surrounding the event will take place. Undoubtedly, the official hashtag will be filled with a deluge of tweets coming from exhibitors jockeying for position as thought leaders. Visually distinctive messages that use line breaks and unique font colors can help your brands messaging stand apart from the crowd. Also, adding lighthearted emoji icons and symbols when appropriate can create further distinction between you and your Twitter competition.
Calls-to-action are the tried-and-true friend of event marketers, prompting prospects and clients alike to take action. However, in the social marketing space, calls-to-action are often missing from event marketers post. These omissions are understandable; many post are high on personality, but short on marketing technique. If you are reading this article, then it’s safe to assume you’re a best-practices type of marketer. Whenever you post on your brand’s social accounts before-, during- or post event, make sure that you include a call-to-action somewhere in the post with a link to a landing page on which you want followers to act. Event marketing is all about creating connections and driving sales leads into your sales machine. Calls-to-action are essential to achieving these ends.
3. Create brand evangelists
Your social media followers are more than just your audience; they can also be your biggest brand ambassadors on social media. Encourage your followers to interact with one another while attending your event, and to also reach out to attendees who are not following your brand. Having your followers evangelize for you on social media works because attendees expect your company to reach out to them. When a client, prospect or follower of your brand speaks your praises on social media, it comes off as more organic or trustworthy.
4. Stay true to you
It’s tempting to stray from your roots, especially when you are on the road and trying to impress prospects and clients at an event. However, think about your brand’s core values; think about how they have guided your company into past successes, and remember that your brand has this core ethos for a reason. This tip isn’t meant to hamper creativity; rather it’s meant to foster brand consistent in messaging so your followers know what to expect. Consistency between your brand online and on the show creates trust and understanding, and makes it easier for customers to connect with a brand. In business, trust is key, so make sure you are as true to yourself as possible on the show floor.
5. Get the right tools
Social media, while an important part of your overall marketing plan, can also take up a lot of your most scarce resource: time. Look into automation services like Hootsuite, Buffer, Social Oopmh and TweetDeck. Each of these services allow marketers to schedule posts, track keywords, measure engagement and much more. Everything you need to create and manage your social profiles can be done efficiently in one place, saving you time and worry.
Remember social media is about being social. Each tip outlined in this piece can help you reach your brand’s marketing goals, but they are only as effective as the social practitioner implementing them. So go forth and be social!
Eric Dyson, the contributor, is the content marketing strategist for Orbus. Its sister company, Nimlok, recently launched ‘Exhibitors’ Guide to Social Media.’ This guide takes a comprehensive look at event marketing social media strategy. For more information, visit here.