You work hard to create a memorable event experience, something that just might even transform the way the people at your event think or do business moving forward. That’s the value your event promises in all of your pre-show marketing materials.
So, considering all the effort you put into your event, why does interest in it seem to peak during event time and plateau the rest of the year?
The reason: Your event should be considered part of your marketing mix, and you are probably missing some major engagement ingredients.
Your web presence (or lack thereof) is perhaps the biggest ingredient in your marketing mix when it comes to engagement. As stated in Francis J. Friedman’s 2013 whitepaper Future Trends Impacting the Exhibitions and Event Industry for the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), “The competitive need for year-round, exhibition-related communities is driven by social media and its 24/7 competitive interaction with target audiences vs. a fixed-date trade show and its narrow interaction with its target audience.”
Simply put, you need to have a year-round community-building strategy to succeed. Here’s how to tell if you’re missing the chance to extend the life of your event online.
Your event's social media strategy begins and ends at “Facebook event page”
A big part of connecting with your audience is making sure you exist where they do online. Are you sure Facebook is the right means to connect to your audience? Or are you just creating an event page to have one and then crossing “event social media strategy” off your list?
When people meet at a trade show, they very often go on to search for one another later on LinkedIn or other social media networks and connect to stay in contact. They look for chatter on Twitter to stay current. You can help facilitate these connections with your event's social media page. Do your homework to find where your audience is communicating and establish a presence there that you utilize before, during, and after your event.
Think of all the ways you can actively use social media to not only promote your event to attendees and exhibitors, but to establish your thought-leadership position with your audience year round, help exhibitors use your networks to drive visitors to their stands, supply large audiences with information, and more. The possibilities are endless.
You isolated what you should have integrated
Nowadays, most event organizers establish a website to support their event. And then they add an app on top of it. Plus, they create separate social media sites for their event. It’s a hot mess of interconnected internet activity.
There are integrated web solutions available that complement your event marketing and social media strategy. With an integrated website as the hub of your event’s online presence, you can connect everything from registration to floor plans to educational programming. Visitors can view an exhibitor directory, session details, and find what they need to plot their course. Exhibitors can be empowered by an online exhibitor center that supports them as they plan their participation at the event from the selection of the preferred booth to the registration of the booth staff.
The value you promise in your pre-event marketing materials should be delivered year-round. Imagine having the ability to provide relevant content to your attendees and exhibitors on a regular basis. With an integrated website and mobile solution, your visitors can help your cause by pushing content to social media sites to expand your reach.