Exhibitors at events like SHRM’s Annual Conference & Exposition or the HR Technology Conference & Exposition go all-out while they’re at the event to build brand recognition and drive leads. Whether it’s hiring circus performers to dangle from the ceiling or bringing an Airstream with a fully stocked bar, these companies are looking to generate some buzz.
But the buzz doesn’t have to be limited to the trade show floor. Event marketing needs to take into account two audiences: those in attendance and those following at home.
Social media has made it possible for anyone with a computer or mobile device to share in event experiences. The sad thing is, lots of companies start their plans off with good intentions, encouraging social sharing, and even snapping a few photos of the booth. Then the event starts and things just get busy.
Don’t let the at-home audience become an afterthought.
Here are some tips to make your event exciting for those playing along at home:
- Take a cue from awards shows, like the Oscars. You might not have a fashion police, but you can catch keynote speakers, analysts, and bloggers for quick interviews and pictures.
- Include the at-home audience in your giveaways. Attendees who visit booths and like a Facebook page or register for a demo are often entered into drawings for big-ticket items. Run a similar contest online, offering different prizes for those participating remotely. Track those registrations separately and have a concrete follow-up plan.
- Gather a running commentary. Have all of your reps tweet or record their reactions to the event. Sound bites shared via video are great to keep people interested in what takeaways are most interesting or relevant.
- Send out a “See you next time!” follow-up. All social leads, including those who participated in the event, should get social follow-up. You can make a short video of the event recap, a “10 Things We Learned” asset, or even a webinar covering the takeaways. Make a special link that allows for conversion-tracking specifically for the social shares. Don’t forget to mention those followers who interacted with you during the event.
These are some tips to get you started. When you’re ready to take it to the next level, you can start thinking about how to combine a virtual event with the show. You’ll be making a comprehensive event marketing campaign that will be the envy of all the other exhibitors.