I participate in quite a few events – both attending and speaking. Events are a key component of keeping relevant in a fast moving industry and building rapport with colleagues, clients and prospects. Attending isn’t cheap, though, when you factor in the travel costs and the lost billable revenue. Planning is important in advance for scheduling meetings as well – especially at big events like SXSW.
- Video: livestream Q&A, how-to videos, testimonials, behind the scenes
- Twitter: live Twitter feed, tweet-ups
- Facebook: polls, contests
- Website: landing page
- Photos: share via social profiles and web
- Blog: guest blog, live blog, recap
One of the many amazing items at LA Food & Wine:
I take a slightly different approach, breaking it out into before, during and after the event. Video and contests are great, but take quite a bit of advance planning, approvals and coordination, so I listed a few simple things that most companies can do. If you sponsor an event, be sure to ask about having the event share your content and links to your properties (web & social) through their channels: press releases, email, web, social.
Before the event:
- Announce attendance / sponsorship via press release, email list and social media channels.
- For speaking events, be sure to communicate when, where and the topic.
- Reach out to prospects, key media contacts and partners to check if they are attending and schedule meetings if available.
During the event:
- Monitor hashtags, check-ins and keywords for opportunities to connect and engage. Utilize tools, such as Klout for Twitter to identify influential contacts
- Post a few key pieces of content from the event – could be photos taken by your company, retweets of key blog posts, etc.
After the event:
- Post recap of event – ideally in a blog post and share blog post via social channels and email list. Including links to other recaps is helpful as well, as everyone will have a different take on the event.
- Go through the list of new companies and contacts, add them to your CRM system for tracking and connect with key contacts. Doesn’t hurt to share the link to the recap blog post as well.
- Continue monitoring hashtags and keywords for opportunities to connect and engage
Event attendance and sponsorship is a great investment – just make sure you have a plan in place to capitalize on it and leverage the investment to grow your business.