Social media can be a fantastic tool to supplement your other event marketing efforts. If you are attending an exhibition, it can be used to boost attendance, arrange meetings, build relationships with attendees and create a buzz around your brand and exhibition stand.
Before you do anything else, finding out where your target market is on social media is a good start. You don’t want to be posting solely on Twitter if the majority of your audience can be found on LinkedIn.
As a start, here are the types of people often found on different social media platforms:
- Facebook – Facebook leads with 1.5 billion monthly active users worldwide. The UK makes up 31 million of those users and 60% of the population have an account. The most popular age group for Facebook is 25-34, but Facebook is a great platform to target all ages and locations.
- Twitter – In 2013 Twitter reported 15 million monthly active users in the UK, we haven’t seen any UK specific data since then. Twitter is most popular with younger age groups.
- Instagram – Instagram revealed it had 14 million monthly active users in the UK in July of 2015. Instagram also has a younger audience than Facebook with 39% of its UK users aged 16-24 with slightly more females than male users.
- Pinterest – Pinterest reports 3 million pins a day in the UK alone. They haven’t revealed their UK user base. Pinterest is reportedly 90% female, with DIY and recipes being the most popular content.
- LinkedIn – LinkedIn achieves over 60 million views in the UK every month, in 2014 they reported passing the 15 million users mark in the UK. 75% of LinkedIn users are over the age of 35 and 79% of users are male.
- Google Plus – 41% of Google Plus users fall into the 18-24 year old demographic in the UK. 54% of users log into their account to stay in touch with friends whilst 42% use Google Plus to interact with brand content.
Source: We Are Social’s Global Digital Statshot, August 2015
These statistics are just a starting point. Ideally you will want to do your own, more in-depth research into what social media platforms your target market can be found on.
Using social media before the event
Your social media efforts should begin long before the event. It is important to start building relationships with your target audience, until you start receiving regular interaction with your content and people see you as a useful resource.
Once you’ve built up relationships you can start promoting the event you will be attending. Did you attend the same event last year? If so, photos and especially videos can be a fantastic marketing tool to create a buzz around your event attendance. When posting videos, Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo are the best platforms – tagging your videos correctly will allow them to be more easily found.
Set up one Hashtag to use before, during and after the event. Using this in all posts relating to the event will essentially create an easily searchable archive of your posts. Ideally the Hashtag you choose will be completely unique to both you and the event, so posts from different people are less likely to get mixed in with your own. We recommend using your company name and the event name, either fully or abbreviated – depending on the length. For example the company Ubisoft recently attended E3, they used the Hashtag #UbiE3.
Share this hashtag with everyone. You can also use the Hashtag on your displays at the event, on your uniforms or just about anywhere to get the word out.
Ambassadors of your business can be another great resource when marketing before the event. Brand ambassadors can either be employed or not employed by your organisation and ideally embody your corporate identity in their appearance, demeanour, values and ethics. They can be used to represent your brand in a positive light and increase brand awareness. Brand ambassadors that are active on the same social media platforms that you’re targeting can give a huge boost to word-of-mouth marketing and increase the number of attendees to your stand.
Using social media during the event
Social media is ideal for generating engagement from the event attendees, in a variety of ways. But it’s also important to use social media for customer service – attendees of the event may be having issues which you need to identify and respond to in a timely manner.
Attendees of your exhibition stand should be encouraged to share their experiences with you via social media. To promote this, your chosen Hashtag should be visible while at your stand – this can be integrated into your display artwork or on your uniform.
It can also be a good idea to have a screen mounted at your exhibition stand. This monitor can show the posts that people are making via your Hashtag for everyone to see. Ideally these would be monitored to avoid inappropriate posts being shown.
It’s important for you and your organisation to be social as well – expecting your guests to be social if you aren’t isn’t likely to work very well. Create a well-thought out content calendar before the event, if you think you will struggle to keep up with it, then use a tool like HootSuite or Buffer to schedule the posts to go out at any time. You can also ask team members to post about the event and share content.
Using social media after the event
Just because the event has ended, doesn’t mean your social media efforts have to stop! It’s time for you to capitalise on the fact that many of the attendees will be returning to work inspired. If you took details from attendees at the event then try contacting them via social media to keep the conversation going. When contacting them, use open-ended questions such as ‘what did you enjoy most about the event?’ or ‘what do you think we could have improved upon?’
Another idea for post-show social media is to write an article/blog on your exhibition experience. Be sure to include the pictures and videos that you took during the event.
Social media should be an ongoing process, not only throughout the event, but at all times. Stopping your social media efforts after the event will have a negative impact on your marketing.
We hope these tips help you to successfully integrate social media into your event marketing plan.
At XL Displays we are experts in exhibition stand design and offer a wide range of display equipment, from pop up stands to pull up banners. For more information on our product range please contact us or call on 01733 511030.