While competition for your marketing niche increases, the budget for your event marketing efforts stretches tighter… sound familiar? Despite this common scenario, it is possible to benefit from leveraging some readily available resources, namely, social media, your employees, and some well-planned event marketing.
The key to maximizing your event marketing efforts is your employee advocacy program and social media strategy—especially if you incorporate live event attendance and sponsorships. It may sometimes seem like these are very different tactics, but with a bit of planning they fit together smoothly like pieces of a puzzle. There are three main areas of connection: content creation, content promotion, and overall engagement.
Your staff at events have an incredible ability to feed your marketing content creation needs. Notes from speakers, photos, tech demos, and other information can all be repurposed. A quote or photo shared in a timely fashion can be a real boost to your event marketing efforts on social media.
Employees at the conference can report back on common questions expressed by people in your target markets. This helps you to publish content that is timely and of interest, even after the event is done.
The training involved in content creation can easily be incorporated into an employee advocacy program. If you are explaining to your staff what kind of messages you create and share on social media, and why you share them, you have empowered them not just to share content but also to help create it. This is like adding virtual members to your marketing team.
Conferences are fast moving events. They make a big splash on social media, and leveraging that social media splash can be a challenge.
The first step is identifying the channel of preference for the conference. While you will rarely see live coverage of a conference on LinkedIn, the conference might be covered on Twitter with a hashtag; broadcast via Facebook live; or livestreamed on Periscope. Find the channel (or channels) where the conversations are occurring, and focus your efforts on those channels.
As part of your employee advocacy program, you get to know how many employees you have using each channel. This means you can mobilize users on each channel to promote your chosen content in the channel of choice for the event. Be careful not to be too promotional though. People often view event marketing on social media as “all selling, all the time”. By promoting messages of value to your audience (instead of sales), you will likely see a much larger and longer-term ROI for your event marketing efforts.
There are two parts to overall engagement—active listening, and conversations.
Active listening is a step where many companies go wrong right from the start. Due to the fast-moving nature of a live event, there are a lot of discussions happening at once, often on several different social media channels. If your employees have the proper training, they will know how to identify individual opportunities (from a media request to a product demo question) and who they should send those opportunities to for action. You should start your active listening long before the event doors open. Listening to conversations as people register or during the lead up to an event will help you build your engagement plan before the event starts.
Active engagement is where your employee advocacy program truly pays dividends for your organization. It is wonderful when an organization replies to your message on social media, but there are two very powerful ways that you can take that a step further at a live event: make it personal, and take it offline. By having an individual respond instead of the company you build a personal connection with a potential customer, and your event staff can meet people to address their questions with an offline conversation that can create a strong first impression of your organization.
Putting the pieces together
At first glance these strategies might seem like a lot to juggle, but a well-developed employee advocacy software suite can put your event marketing plan together for you and even give you and your employees an intuitive dashboard to run everything from.
Want to leverage some resources you already have and see how employee advocacy with social media can work for your organization? Check out our free trial.