Social media is off the charts these days. Everyone wants to ride on it's coattails and tap into this craziness. However, first have to understand social media. I recently attended a social media event that was put on by firms who were presented as "the best marketing / design firms in Dallas / Fort Worth". This event was hosted by a trade show company, that I would say, are the local experts in their industry.
I am currently helping a client with both a trade show campaign and doing some social media marketing. This is why I thought it would be good to learn some new ideas about tying social media marketing to a trade show.
Unfortunately, the social media experts taught mostly basic social media tips. Very little of the social media tips related to trade show marketing. It is funny, for these firms being the best in DFW, you would think I would have heard of them before. This was not the case. They were both brand new to me. New social media companies can start up almost over night and be highly successful and maybe this was the case here.
Sadly the trade show company, that usually puts on excellent shows, didn't bring too much to the table on this event. It seems they are still figuring out the social media tools. In my opinion though there should have been more emphasis on trade show marketing and how people are using social media before, during and after shows to drive more business. I am guessing this stuff is so new that the leaders may not be sharing their successes yet, because they too are still figuring things out. I understand that several people in the audience were probably getting a ton of new ideas out of the presentation, but this all made me realize how far ahead of the group Brandwise really is. We have been in the thick of this stuff for the last two years and in the circles we run in everyone is around this same level. In everyday or mainstream business though, most people are where we were two years ago. So this was a reality check for us.
Keep in mind by no means am I trying to give the expert marketers or the trade show company a tough time. I am however going to give them some social media tips to help them in the future and you too, if you decide to put on any social media presentations.
1. Tip One: Set up a social media account for your own company on every platform:
The main three (Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin) will be extremely important to use and start to understand. Just start listening to what people are doing and how they’re doing it. Become a versed user and build a following before you put on a presentation.
2. Tip Two: Have someone on your staff, or multiple people depending upon the size of your company, search for people participating and promoting your event while it is going on. Then retweet all the posts or comment on every post you can find. This shows that you understand social media and are a digital native. This will help you build rapport with your audience.
3. Tip Three: Learn about the hash tag in twitter. Recommend that all attendees tweet during the event. Sharing any item or tip they learn or find interesting by using the hash tag that is set up for the event. This could be something like #socialexhibiting or something relevant to your event. This way the conversation gets blasted out all over the social network and it is easy for your team to search, monitor and retweet. Plus this is tied back to your brand or branded event.
4. Tip Four: Set up some sort of offer that is tied to Foursquare and when the attendees check in they get some great offer, discount or whitepaper. This allows you to really add value since only attendees would only get this offer for attending the event. Word of mouth will spread like wildfire, plus bring in a whole new group for the next event.
5. Tip Five: Make sure if you do an evaluation that it is either online (so you can capture all the attendees info in a database) or at very least you ask for their social media profiles so that you can now start connecting with the attendees online again proving you are an expert in this area.
Sadly, I checked in on Foursquare, posted things on Facebook, tweeted about the event I attended. Some of these also posted as an activity on Linkedin. Out of all these things, I only got one response on Twitter. This response was from the trade show company, so that is good. However, there really should have been multiple connections on all platforms from both the trade show company, the expert firms and also from members of the audience.
I should have walked away with several new connections or followers. I got one, the guy I sat next to and then requested a connection with him on LinkedIn once I got back to the office.
If you are planning a social media presentation, please bring in a professional that will help you plan a truly social, social media event. The key is not only offering great tips and ideas, but allowing the group to participate and become social. Help them learn by doing. This is the real power in social media presentations.
If you are looking for a speaker or cutting edge expert to help plan your next social media presentation, please reach out to us, we would love to help you out.