Maybe it’s just because everyone in the social media world is on an adrenaline high this week at Social Media Marketing World (#SMMW15), but we couldn’t resist the opportunity to talk about the obvious: social media and event marketing are in a very serious relationship. And at Socedo, we support it.
Even the small business, who may not have the resources to participate in high-profile events can become ‘event marketers’ through social media. In the same way, social media marketers can stay relevant and useful by participating in conversations surrounding industry events. The two go hand-in-hand.
Social Sparks Demand
There’s no dispute to the fact that leads from tradeshows are highly valuable for B2B companies, according to marketing technology advisor Software Advice, and B2C companies find high-quality leads from event marketing as well. Unfortunately, event marketing becomes very expensive very quickly, so in order to see a worthwhile ROI, you need to capture as many leads from these events as possible.
Event marketing doesn’t start at the event itself—that should be obvious! Use social media to create some pre-show buzz and start the demand generation process. Take advantage of event hashtags, and retweet or comment on posts by other speakers and brands to reach their audiences. In particular, drive followers to an event-specific offer, such as a discount code, giveaway contest, or exclusive event session, so once they connect with you at the event, you can easily convert them into warm leads.
All of this can also tie into an email campaign, blog post series, and paid ad campaign for the most exposure.
Events Spark Conversations
If social media helps event marketing, is the opposite also true?
Think of an event like an original piece of content that can be repurposed in hundreds of ways across your social channels. Take pictures and videos, post about what you learned from each session, host giveaways that are exclusive to your followers, and follow-up with leads on social media. Remember that event hashtags have a lifespan after the event, especially for annual events. Continue to use these to participate in conversations.
Better yet, social media allows you to participate in events without even being there! The same techniques of using the hashtags and sharing speaker content can be done from the office. Don’t worry—it’s not cheating. Events themselves are becoming more and more virtual. Next time you’re at a conference, count how many people are on their smartphones during a session. People live tweet events, send pictures to their friends, and write recaps about their days.
Using Social Media Marketing World as an example again, Neal Schaffer mentioned Socedo in his session “How to Create Your Integrated Social Media System.” A friend of the company snapped the photo to the right, emailed it to us, and tweeted about it during the session. Now it’s in a blog post. The lifespan of Neal’s session has lasted much longer than its 45-minute slot.
Sharon MacLean of WorldGate Media shares a unique and impressive case study of how she worked with the small business Technology Concepts Group (TCG) to drive demand around an upcoming event. Using social media to find prospects, build an audience, and promote a specific offer, TCG went “from 0 to 60” in just one month.
They decided on Twitter and LinkedIn as their best platforms to find prospects quickly, turning to Socedo to automate the engagement portion of their strategy, which allowed them to reach out to about 200 new prospects each day.
In order to generate demand, they used influencers connected to the event to promote their brand and developed a social media content strategy in line with the event’s hosting organization. By the time the event rolled around, interest in their company was so high that they had an overwhelming number of visitors to their booth, and the conversations continued on Twitter and LinkedIn after the event was over.
A Healthy Codependency
The codependency between social media and event marketing is a huge advantage. The viral ability and real-time updates of social media enhance participation at events. The buzz and hype of events feed the social media’s need for trending topics. The marketer’s job is to use social media to generate demand, then use events to capture highly qualified leads—and vice versa. Many new people will be exposed to your brand at an event. Target those who start talking about you on social media and connect with your new leads.