One of the greatest strengths to social media is the ability to engage, we’ve said it time and again, however the best time to do this, the golden chalice of moments is during events.
So an event you’re attending is coming up, what do you do to get your name and brand ready for a prime position in the feeds of followers and interested parties alike?
You’re going to need to gather some information about the event to best take advantage of the opportunity that lays before you.
- First off, time and date of the event. Then give yourself 2 weeks prior to schedule the rest of what of what we’ll be talking about below
- Find out the hashtag of the event. Extremely important. If the events website doesn’t provide one (which really irks us), try searching twitter for combinations of the events name and a year eg. #CupcakeFest2014 #CupcakeFest and use the hashtag that seems to have the most posts and engagement.
- Who are the speakers? Make a list (of the ones you’re interested in seeing/ meeting) Find them on Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn etc.. Connect with them and create scheduled posts that reference them and their speciality, as an eg. ‘Really excited to hear @JohnDoe speak about his views on baking in the 21st Century at #CupcakeFest in a few weeks. We’ve heard great things about him!’. You’ve hit three birds with one stone. 1. You’ve embedded yourself in the hashtag 2. got two posts that reference the event and 3. you’ve broken the ice with a speaker, which helps if you want to continue a conversation with them moving forward.
- Find out if your competitors are attending. Always keep tabs on your competition, they keep you on your toes, challenge you to be better. They are NOT the enemy, they are your strength to achieve better. So with that in mind, if you haven’t met them before, introduce yourself via a post with the desire to meet them and talk shop, ‘Hey @BreadYeastAndBeyond, are you going to #CupcakeFest this year? Would love to finally meet you and talk shop!’.
- Create Twitter lists of the above. Create a public list of the speakers and a private list of your competitors. I say private because you don’t want to seem stalkish, nor tell your followers who the other options are and most importantly, you don’t want your competitors to see that you’ve named a list ‘THE ENEMY’. See what I mean. Kinda aggressive.
Setting yourself up as a thought leader in your industry is the goal of many and it starts with small steps.
2. The Lead-Up!
- Giving yourself 2 weeks prior to the event for posts and engagement is a great way to line up your networking needs. The event sees that you’re engaged and other attendees get a visual of you. You’re also telling your followers that you’re eager to learn, always looking to give your clients service +1.
- Setting yourself up as a thought leader in your industry is the goal of many and it starts with small steps. Save the events hashtag and check it periodically for reasons to engage, such as questions being posed by the curious or those attending, eg. ‘Not sure if we should drive to #CupcakeFest or take transit this year?’ —
@BreadFiend Parking south of the river & walking is best. Also, there’s great coffee on the way @CaféLuxury, try their latte’s #CupcakFest‘
- Most importantly, don’t over do it in scheduling posts for the event, your posts are bait to create conversation, don’t just sit and wait for them to come to you. Twice is a day on twitter is generally enough but of course this all depends on the event and your followers, just be mindful, engage the rest of the time.
3. LIVE at the Event
- By now you should have a few people you’ve broken the ice with, go meet them, talk industry and openly discuss the positive takeaways from the conversations (as long as they aren’t private) eg. ‘Great to finally meet @BreadYeastAndBeyond! Great perspective on the Sourdough shortage. #CupcakeFest’.
- Keep the event hashtag saved and use that as your primary source of information, you’ll find others providing tips & tricks, announcements etc.. and if you have that information to share, do it! Be that though leader, be the person that people want to meet at #CupcakeFest2015
Bonus #4. Some events, larger ones especially, will have a Tweetwall to show the conversations happening at the event, this is a great way for people to see you and your brand. Take advantage of these opportunities. Thank the event organizers when you see something great, thanks the hotel, the staff, be kind and fun. It’ll come back in spades.