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Forum Insight: Top tips for social media success while attending B2B events

Whether you’re going to a big industry expo, specialist conference or attending one of our Forums or Summits, social media can help you get the most out of the event.

So we’ve pulled together five top tips to get you going…

  1. Get yourself up to date

Whether you’re an attending as a delegate or a supplier, make sure your personal and company social media profiles are up to date.

That’s everything from the logo and description to posting a few things to the account (whether that’s Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn) to make sure it looks active.

Don’t forget, a lot of the people you meet at the event will do some research on you and your company by way of a follow up ­­– you want to ensure they have a great first impression when they stumble across your social media on Google.

If you don’t have a social presence, you really, really, should. It takes no time at all to get the basics set up on Twitter or Facebook and there are plenty of ‘how to’ guides out there if you need some help with brand pages and the like.

  1. Do some research

So your social media accounts are up to date and ready to go, now you need to find out where the conversation’s going to be happening.

Twitter is will be where you’ll see most activity during a live event, so spend a little time before you get there doing some research – find out what the event Twitter handle is (follow it if you haven’t already) and what the official hashtag will be.

Also, make sure follow a few industry media outlets ­– this will help you keep track of what’s happening at the event while you’re ensconced in meetings all day.

  1. Start the pre-event hype

During the lead up to the event let everyone know you’re going – @mention the official account and use the hashtag. Let the world know you’re super-excited, particularly if you’re exhibiting or speaking – tell them what you’re going to being talking about or the products you’re going to be showing off. You can do this across Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Also, think about using a company or campaign hashtag if you’re going to be doing special promotions during the event.

If you are promoting specific products or services, create a landing page on your website with data capture, just for the event in question – you can then push people there via social media so they can request more info.

  1. On the day…

The first thing to do is to check yourself in virtually across your social accounts – you’re in the building and you’re ready for business.

Now, if you have a busy event itinerary you’re not necessary going to have time to live tweet the entire thing. If that’s the case, say it with pictures – busy stand? Take a picture. See a great product on display? Take a picture. Sitting in an interesting conference session? Take a picture. It’s a quick and engaging way of getting your message across.

And if you spot something compelling, post a video.

You can also schedule posts in advance using tools such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. This is particularly useful if you’re trying to drive stand traffic or promoting products – and don’t forget to push people back to that website landing page.

Keep an eye on those industry news feeds – retweet or pass comment on any big announcements and get involved in the conversation.

  1. After the event

This is when you can have some fun. If you have a company blog, write up your experiences of the event. You don’t have to write an essay – 350-500 words would be sufficient – and then push that article out across your Twitter, Facebook and Linked in accounts.

Perhaps the most important post-event task is to follow up on all those delicious new leads and contacts you made – make sure you follow and like their social media accounts, both personal and company.

Finally, it’s worth searching the event hashtag and scrolling back through its timeline to catch up on the show news and, perhaps more importantly, see what your industry peers were up to…

Forum News: 10 ways to succeed at networking events…

Walking into an event full of people you don’t know can be a scary experience. However, there are proven ways to conquer this fear and make networking an enjoyable and a useful process to do business. Here, we share 10 of the best practices to eradicate those networking nerves.

1. Plan ahead: Try to obtain the attendee list in advance and highlight the people you would like to meet. On arrival, contact the event organiser and say who you are trying to connect with. If they get the chance, an introduction between yourself and the other party will be made upon arrival. It might also be beneficial to go to the registration area to ask if one of your selected visitors has arrived.

2. Get there early: If you are one of the first to arrive, it is much easier to strike up a conversation with a small group of people.

3. Most people are in the same position: If you do not know anyone else attending, it’s good to prepare a few opening questions: ‘Any particular presentation you’re looking forward to hearing today?’; ‘What brought you to this event?’

4. Join a group: Approaching a group of attendees already in full conversation is a daunting prospect. So be bold, confident, and simply ask: “May I join the conversation? I’ve just arrived and I’m keen to learn what’s going on.”

5. Build interesting conversation: Ask topical and relevant questions to the specific event. Be a good listener and don’t dominate the conversation with your own stories and business ideas.

6. Be helpful: Share your knowledge of the industry, your contacts and sources of information. If people perceive you as an experienced and knowledgeable professional, they will want to keep in contact and maintain a relationship.

7. Use your business card as a tactical weapon: I have a friend who renovates old wooden floors, so his business card is made of a thin piece of wood and has proven to be a guaranteed conversation starter. Be imaginative with the design and the job title displayed. Anything that says ‘sales’ or ‘business development’ could cause people to fear a sales pitch is on the way. So try and think of a job title that encourages a productive conversation.

8. Receiving business cards: Be sure to make notes on the back to remind you of the conversation and the person. This could become much use in future interactions.

9. Following up: If you engaged in constructive conversation with an attendee and have agreed to follow up after the event, then set a preferred method of contact and make sure to do so promptly.

10. What not to do: Sales pitches, even if you’re asked ‘what does your company do’, keep your answer to a very brief explanation. Don’t ‘work the room’ rushing from group to group as this is not the way to form business relationships. It’s better to have had four good conversations than a dozen meaningless chats.

 

Words by Paul Rowney, Director at Forum Events Ltd.