If you are attending or exhibiting at an upcoming event, be sure to prepare an online marketing strategy and plan for it.  Whether it is a trade show or conference, events are a great opportunity to build brand awareness and promote your company online.   There are many online channels you can use for event promotion, but we would advise you to begin with social media.  Social media is a key resource for promotion and engagement, and by executing the following steps, you will set your business up for marketing success.

Let’s first take a look at the promotional aspect…

Before the Event:

Create and/or engage in a hashtag. Create buzz by giving the event a special online presence with this way of categorizing tweets.

Does the event have its own social media presence? If so, make your presence known there as well. Post on the Facebook event page, tweet using the event’s account and set up a hashtag.

Make your schedule of events social-friendly. Allow users to “check-in” to venues. Make sure all blog posts related to the event can be easily shared on social networks and via e-mail. The schedule should either be on a dedicated mobile page or on a page that was designed in responsive.

Spread the word elsewhere online. Make sure your colleagues and peers blog about the event and be sure to have an email campaign focused on it, or maybe even a webinar. Press releases are great too.

Keep it conversational. Be sure to ask open-ended questions regarding the event that generate a response. Use social media as an opportunity to gauge interest in the event, take surveys regarding what should be featured, and use it as a forum to field questions. This also gives a chance for companies to retweet users’ responses in order to build a “word-of-mouth” hype.

Keep a countdown running. Don’t overwhelm your followers with information and messages only about the event, but be sure to have it mentioned and remind the users of it daily.

When the big day comes:

Take pictures of everything. Just when you think you’ve taken too many photos- take some more! People want to feel like they’re at the event, almost to the point where they feel like they didn’t miss out at all just by following you on social networks. Document everything as it will provide great blog content for your official site later on. Ask attendees to do the same and post on Twitter using the hashtag.

Take videos of all possible content. If anything, it’s great for your brand’s YouTube channel, but can also liven up a post-event blog entry. Also helps you sell future events.

Make your location known. If you’re attending a large scale event, make sure your followers know exactly where to find you. Tweet what room you’re in, what booth you’re at, and always use the hashtags so people know what you’re referring to. Even landmarks are helpful!

If people aren’t seeing you, MAKE them notice you. Engage with others at the event via social media so they feel compelled to come and find you.  Search the event’s hashtag and interact with those participating so you already have some background with people when you meet in person.

Did you just meet someone you want to remember? Make them remember you. Engaging with and commenting to people via social media is the new “collecting of business cards”. No need to try to remember who you hit it off with at the conference, as long as you stay engaged with them through social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn.

Tell everybody what happened. Write detailed and lively summary blogs for your company, and leave no detail out.

Once it’s all said and done, your company will have not only been an active participant on the conference room floor, but online as well. Promoting events via social media benefits you, your company, and the event.  There’s no better way to consistently engage and converse with others while spreading your brand’s name across multiple channels.

Be sure to incorporate as many of these steps as you can at your next event.  If you need a plan, or even people to help you, contact us for help. Good luck and enjoy!