Want to get amazing content and social media event exposure? There are loads of ways to supercharge your experience – and it all starts with your event planning ahead of time.
We all have very busy schedules. It’s hard to find time to complete the day-to-day activities of a marketing professional, let alone take some time to think about what we want to do in the coming weeks. That said, planning is the most critical point for getting a lot out of any event.
You can just show up to an event and get a decent return on your investment. However, when you take bit of time to set up your game plan before you arrive, you’ll achieve goals like:
- Increased exposure at the show
- New followers and prospects
- Great content you can use before, during, and after the event
Follow these tips and you’ll transform event attendance into a powerful performance that will have you turning heads.
1. Understand Your Goals
The first step in planning your event strategy is to understand your goals in attending the event. If you have no goals, you will have no way to measure your success.
Take a moment to choose one to three metrics that are important to you. For example, are you at the event to:
- Expand your social media following? Write down exactly how many more followers you are looking to gain and on which social media channels you will focus.
- Boost your blog following? Write down your goal number.
- Grow your reputation? Write down the specific area in which you want to focus.
- Get new ideas for content? Write down what kind of content you want to create and how many pieces you want to result from the event.
- Meet influencers? Decide exactly who you would like to meet and your plan for outreach before, during, and after the conference.
You may also have secondary, more personal goals. For example, would you like to:
- Learn new skills? Write down the specific skills you want to learn and which sessions you will need to attend in order to gain those skills.
- Discover new technologies? Write down what categories these technologies will fall into (for example, new ways to handle graphics, social media scheduling tools, etc.).
2. Make a Plan
Once you’ve written down your end goals, decide what steps you need to take to get there. Do you need to be live Tweeting or live blogging? Will it be enough to reach out ahead of time or after the event?
As you map out your steps, remember that some goals might be longer term. For instance, maybe you ultimately want to become a writer for a prominent blog. So the steps involved might include:
- Reach out to the person running the blog ahead of the event
- Write about sessions that focus on topics that the blog might pick up
- Post articles from the blog that are relevant to the event
- Reach out to the person running the blog after the event and provide them with a compelling post-event pitch
3. Check Out Event Topics
Read carefully through the event schedule ahead of time. Decide which topics will map best to your goals and where you would like to stand out.
For instance, if one of your goals is to grow your reputation in a specific area, you might want to:
- Map out the sessions related to your area of focus
- Begin Tweeting with speakers who cover the area you’re interested in
- See if you can get a pre-show interview with relevant speakers
- Post links to curated content by pertinent speakers (be sure to mention those speakers in your post!)
- Start writing outlines of relevant round-up articles that you will write after the show
4. Build Relationships Ahead of Time
Connecting with influencers can be a great way to boost your exposure. After all, even though you might not have tons of followers, they sure do! And if you choose the right influencers, their audience should be right in your sweet spot.
Keep in mind that “the right” influencers can include anyone who can speak well of you to a relevant audience. So your list might include:
- Your partners
- Your customers
- Speakers at the show
- Media persona
Moreover, many influencers show up at multiple shows that focus on similar topics. So those you want to contact at one show will likely overlap those you will want to contact at other events.
At the same time, building relationships with influencers can be challenging. After all, many people are likely vying for their attention. So how do you stand out in the crowd?
It’s time to get creative! Here are some tips to get seen:
- Act now! Start connecting with influencers as far ahead of time as you can.
- Be personal. Find out what your influencers like to do outside of work. What keeps them passionate? Do they love a sport or art or music? If you like similar things, reach out to them about those topics. It will make the relationships deeper and more down to earth. But remember to stay genuine! Don’t touch on subjects you know nothing about.
- Go beyond this event. Find out what other events they are speaking at or attending, where else they post, what podcasts they speak in, what videos they’ve done. Great sources for this information could include their website and social media feeds. Once you’ve done your research, comment thoughtfully on the content they’ve provided. Let them know you’re a fan who really takes their commentary to heart.
- Offer treats. Offer influencers a sneak peek at where your company is going, interesting news you’ve heard that they might be interested in, information about tools you’ve discovered, cool checklists – anything of value that might catch their interest. Let them know that their needs and interests are important to you.
For more information about working with influencers, check out The Five Pillars of Social Media Influencer Marketing.
5. Plan Your Event Content
Although you can’t know exactly what interesting tidbits will be revealed at an event, you can plan for things in a general way. For example:
- Written content. Map out what blog posts you want to write before, during, and after the show based on the sessions you will attend. Then you can get content out faster and those who are hungry for news about the event will seek you out as a great news source.
- Graphics. It is well established that the response rate for social media posts that include graphics is MUCH higher than those that rely only on text. Use a tool like Canva to make graphic templates for quotes ahead of time. Then you can just pop the quotes in when you’re ready. Include a picture of the speaker and brand the piece with your logo. For on-the-fly quotes, you can use a tool like DesignFeed.io to slot quotes into an interesting background and create a social media ready graphic.
- Infographics. Infographics are a great way to catch people’s attention and get others to repost your information. Use a tool like Visme to set up a few templates and themes ahead of time-based around interesting quotes from the show, insightful statistics learned at the event, the best speakers to pay attention to, etc. Then, as you attend each session, fill in a relevant line or two in your template. When you are done with the show, your infographic will already be ready for publication!
Of course, you should include live content action as well, such as live Tweeting, video, and photographs. But the more you can plan out ahead of time, the more attention you will ultimately receive.
Bonus tool tip: Looking to organize your images, quotes, and statistics for use after the event? Try Trello for categorizing and sorting your graphics. Just drag and drop your attachments into the bulletin board like format and you’ve got it in the bag.
Blow Your Fellow Attendees Away
Now you’re ready to take events by storm and generate outstanding event exposure!
Looking for more tips on how to get the most out of your event? Check out this awesome article on How to Develop a Ton of Content by Attending an Event.
Want to share more event planning ideas? Leave me comments below or Tweet me up at @HollyChessman.