Building a Twitter campaign around an exhibition of conference that you are attending – as an exhibitor, medical speaker or delegate – can be a valuable way of building profile about your involvement with the event, offering useful insights, gaining credibility, and increasing your followers.
Who is going to tweet?
But before kicking off the social media campaign, you must decide who is going to manage it. Are you going to assign responsibility to a single person, such as the one who manages your brand’s digital communications? Or are you going to share responsibility amongst a team of employees – including representatives from marketing, sales, operations and senior management – to all tweet individually, but within a framework and common set of guidelines?
How are you measuring campaign success?
Will campaign success be measured by an increase in the number of Twitter followers you generate, the number of meetings and interactions you have at the event itself, how many retweets you receive, or by the website traffic generated by the campaign and event presence? Deciding exactly what measurable to use is vital to be able to identify success or failure, and ensure lessons learned have a productive impact on future campaigns.
The three stages to an event-based Twitter campaign
A Twitter campaign associated with an exhibition of conference should be viewed in three stages:
1. Event build-up
Ensure consistent messaging
The opportunity to tweet about an event starts as soon as you commit to attending, with a basic tweet informing people of your planned attendance. In the weeks building up to the actual event, it’s essential that your ongoing Twitter campaign is absolutely consistent with the corporate messaging and strategic objectives of your attendance at the event. This, of course, extends to any aspects of the marketing and communications mix, be they social media posts, emails, press releases, or marketing collateral.
Use hashtags effectively
Find out whether the event has an official Twitter account or hashtag, and ensure you include references to these in your tweets, when appropriate. If no hashtag exists, take the opportunity to initiate the conversation by generating and promoting a hashtag. By doing so, you will open up opportunities for people to follow you and retweet your posts.
Don’t just self-promote…offer comments and analysis
Think about the services or products you will be promoting at the event, and provide a relevant link to a page on your website. But remember, don’t use Twitter purely to promote you and your business; people will get bored of it and stop following you. Twitter is about conversations, constructively contributing to them, and sharing knowledge and ideas. With this in mind, consider what people are tweeting about, in relation to the event, and tweet accordingly. And make sure you let your personality shine through your tweets.
This could include commenting on breaking news, referencing keynote speakers at the event, or ‘hot’ topics that are on the conference agenda – all the while using the event hashtag, or other relevant hashtags that fit into the event’s key themes. Don’t miss the opportunity to retweet too; if you see something valuable or interesting that someone has tweeted, why not retweet it, and also follow them if they’re not already on your list.
Following other event attendees provides a straightforward way to see what your competitors and attendees are talking about, as well as a soft lead into inviting people to your stand or to meet up at the event.
2. At the event itself
With the event in full flow, your twitter campaign should move onto the second stage, with live commentary from the exhibition, show or conference.
Tell people where you are
If you want people to visit your stand or hear you present during the conference programme, you must tell them where you are! Therefore, give clear details of your stand number, as well as the date, time and location of what you’ll be presenting about.
As with any major exhibition or conference, there are plenty of journalists attending, all of whom will be hoping for a good story. Therefore, why not break a piece of news at the event itself, giving you the opportunity to engage directly with the media and either establish or re-establish important relationships with journalists.
Tweet your photos
Twitter is not just about words…it’s also a great opportunity to share images in real time. This can include photos of your stand, people and products, VIPs at the event, or general visitors. All this will capture the mood of the exhibition or conference and offer a window into the event for those unable to attend.
Conference streams and workshops
Seminars and workshops within a conference programme provide a rich vein of material, in terms of soundbites and observations…just make sure the event is not taking place under Chatham House Rules, in which case all quotes cannot be directly attributed.
3. Post event
While the exhibition or conference may be over, your event-based Twitter campaign has not yet finished. It’s essential to follow-up with tweeted thank yous to those who joined the Twitter conversation during the campaign, as well as those you met in person at the event. You can also welcome new followers, as part of a weekly round-up. Key observations and conclusions from the event will be a good way to close the campaign, along with a reinforcement of corporate messaging and link(s) to your website for further information.
It’s vital to remember that just because your event-based campaign may have concluded, the Twitter conversation goes on…and you must ensure you’re part of it, tweeting constructively and in an engaging way, to reinforce the new digital relationships you have established.
For further information about building a successful Twitter campaign, please contact Dasch Communications.