3 Things Companies Need To Stop Doing To Improve Event ROI

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Companies can spend thousands of dollars on events and conferences. Yet what doesn’t cease to amaze me is how few truly leverage the power of social media to maximize their exposure and marketing investment.

Exhibitors that get 'social' at events amplify their content & engagement, and have a better event ROI

Source: MediaTouch.ca


Not every event may be as buzz friendly as Social Media Camp, but if you’re allocating the budget, why not make the most out of it?

Every year, we get involved with a number of tradeshows and conferences. Here’s what I find most frustrating when walking the floor:

1)     Not knowing they are on social media or what their handles are

Question                                                   : “Are you guys on Twitter?”

Answer from person at the booth: Hmmm…I am not sure…I think we are”

 This happens more often than you may think – especially in big companies. For instance, sales associates at the booth are not aware of the company’s online marketing initiatives. I have often had to search for the company’s  social media handles together with the staff at the booth.

Having a sign that says “Follow us on Facebook and Twitter” without your handles is just like saying you are on the Internet. Make it easier for people to find you!

2)     Not allowing for a picture to be taken by an attendee or  blogger

Question: “Can I take a picture of you booth and tweet it out with the event hashtag?

Answer   : “Hmmm… Why? What are you going to do with the picture?? Do I have to be in it?” 

I can appreciate that certain companies are strict about picture taking and statements to the media. However this is not what I am talking about here. It’s the fear of having a picture of their booth taken and not understanding how it will be shared in the online world. Instead of coaching this person on social media 101, I just walk away.

These companies are simply missing out on event buzz. There are way more people online than ‘at the event’.

3)     Not responding to the tweets and posts until ‘after’ the event

Comment: “I have mentioned you guys on Twitter….”

Answer: “Oh thanks…Person X out of Toronto does our social media; I will tell her when I get back…”

If you are like me – the first thing I do after RSVP’ing to an event is get my team to look up who’s who on social media and start connecting right way. The majority of exhibitors will join the conversation during the event. Others simply don’t engage back, either completely or until after the event. This gets worse when the event is on a weekend or the company has an office far from the event location.

Social media is all about timing. If you respond after everyone is gone, you’ve missed the party.

Sounds familiar? Here are steps you can follow to avoid these situations and maximize your exposure:

  • Brief your team who is attending: Community managers should brief their sales associates or whoever will be ‘at the booth’ about social media including:
    • What the company’s social media channels are
    • What the event hashtag is and how to tweet live using an app/smartphone
    • Who is in charge of posting and responding during the event?
    • What to say if people want to take pictures of the booth?
    • Company social media policy (if applicable)
  • Provide support remotely: If you – the community manager – are not attending the event and you cannot easily transfer that knowledge to your company representatives, then spend a few hours remotely to monitor the live tweets, mentions, posts etc. You can even ask your team at the booth to send you photos that you can post live! None can tell (and cares) where you are, as long as you are sharing and responding timely.
  • Have a strategy: These words warrant a whole article (coming up!). In essence, think about building online awareness before, during, and after the event. This does not mean simply scheduling tweets that say “we are attending” with the event #hashtag; it’s just too common and promotional. Find others who will also have a presence and engage them into meaningful conversations. This will make you more memorable.

Did you experience any of these situations as an event attendee or community manager? Then, what advice do you have for exhibitors to maximize their buzz at events?

Wahiba Chair

Principal at MediaTouch.ca
Wahiba Chair, BSc., MBA
Wahiba Chair is a skilled digital technologist who helps companies build and improve their online presence using social media. Her company, Media Touch, offers community management, digital marketing, promotion and content strategies for businesses needing to increase their online presence, engagement and their internal digital knowledge.

Wahiba built her digital skills as the founder of Carrotlines, Canada’s top mobile food marketing platform that connects consumers and brands.

Connect with Wahiba on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.
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  • http://alwaysarocker.blogspot.com Vishal

    Excellent points, Wahiba! Mostly people organizing conferences are totally cut away from what’s happening on Social media. They need to be more “on-the-ball” to get the best out of it.

    • http://www.MediaTouch.ca MediaTouch.ca

      Thank you for the comment, Vishal. Totally agree!

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