When it comes to showcasing your company’s thought leadership among industry peers, the value of social media at events cannot be overstated. Industry events present almost a Super Bowl-like opportunity for your social program in the sense that they provide a rare moment in time when your audience is focused on a single event and the conversations swirling around that event. They are as captive and captivated as you are going to get them and you’ll want to be sure to make the most of these moments.
Here’s how you can take advantage of events through social:
Have a Plan (but First Do Your Homework)
Do your research. The more you discover and learn up front, the easier it is to keep up with social while you’re at an event. That means gathering event hashtags and event social handles to start. In many cases, the event organizers will have done most of the heavy lifting for you and will have a social “cheat sheet” for you on the event website. If not, be sure to create your own.
For a stellar example of what one of these looks like, the World Economic Forum went above and beyond, making this web page a one-stop-social-shop for attendees. Davos included the links to all (and we mean all) of its social accounts, a complete list of event hashtags, links for embedding the event’s live stream, and more. The 2016 AHR Expo also provides a great example of what to keep an eye out for. While doing research for a client, we were impressed to see the event going beyond a social round up to also provide attendees with resources for promoting their attendance. Their site offerings included free personalized web banners and customized email templates and invites.
AHR offered banners for attendees to post on their social pages that included their booth numbers.
Chances are the event you’ll be attending has a page dedicated to social tools, but if something of that nature isn’t available to you, here are some things to look for when creating your cheat sheet: the event hashtag and handle, speakers’ social handles, and any other relevant account information. Compile this information somewhere that’s easy to access and you’ll be poised and ready to tweet, post, like, and share on social (just as Tier One client Nanoco Technologies was in this great example below)!
Try New Things
Events often have high-volume conversations happening online, making now the perfect time to test out a new feature or platform and get noticed. Don’t be afraid to play with video (Tier One client 24M Technologies used the Hyperlapse to give a mini tour of a recent energy event), livestreaming, Snapchat, etc. and see what effect it has on your following. Chances are that with the buzz surrounding the event, people will want to tune in to your content.
The upside of social is that it elevates your event experience. While you’re busy being a social stud on your own pages, don’t forget to check out what others are doing as well. There’s an opportunity to not only build your social visibility, but to make real connections with those at the event via social. Reach out and introduce yourself (in person) and underscore that interaction on social. Retweet, “like,” and share the content of others. Don’t be shy, start a conversation! It’s why you’ve invested in social in the first place.
As with most things in life, you have to be prepared for the unexpected. You never know what opportunity might be lurking around the next corner. Keep a “go with the flow” mentality and be ready to maximize all of the unique opportunities that present themselves.
With a cheat sheet in hand, a social-first attitude to make lasting connections, and a mindset around flexibility, you’re well on your way to event social success!