Nine Ninja Tips To Stand Out At Conferences And Business Events

Stand Out At Conferences And Business Events. Despite the growing popularity of virtual and online events, for many professionals, face-to-face networking remains one of the main reasons to attend a conference, if not the most important one, followed by learning. These events deliver information that helps professionals stay relevant and learn about the trends shaping the future of their industry. But often, delegates feel overwhelmed by busy conference schedules and huge events with hundreds or thousands of attendees. The result is, they end up missing the chance to network, which was, in fact, the main reason to attend. If this situation sounds familiar, you’ll want to keep reading to find advice on how to prepare for a conference or business event to ensure you stand out and meet your goals.

Stand out before the conference or business event

Preparation is the key to maximising the benefits of attending a professional event. It all starts with defining the ultimate goal or reason for attending. Goals vary from person to person, but often it will include generating new leads, meeting potential partners, getting referrals, or finding connections for a new role or job.

RELATED: Three Ways In Which Social Media Are Becoming Increasingly Event-Centric

Linked to goal setting, it’s also essential to decide who you would like to meet. The list of speakers circulates beforehand, so take some time to review it. At trade shows, the organiser’s website will often have an exhibitor directory that you can use for the same purpose. You can also follow the event’s hashtag in social media and see who’s talking about it online or planning to attend. Once you’ve made a list, start interacting before the event and if possible, arrange a meeting beforehand. Don’t leave it to chance – we all know how difficult it can be to find someone at a large event.

Business cards are a must, but in some ways, they’re underutilised, since they can be made even more personal by adding a handwritten message. This requires time, but it will make your card and name stand out among hundreds of other attendees who simply hand out their business cards. The message should be friendly and business-like and related to your goal or reason for attending. It can even be a shortened written version of your elevator pitch.

Stand our during the conference or business event

Standing up in front of large groups of strangers can be daunting. But there are ways of doing so in a way that’s helpful to others, so they will be more inclined to remember you.

RELATED: 2019 Exhibition Marketing Template

For example, have a look at the sessions you want to attend and for each session think about a question relevant to your industry that you would like to see answered. If the question isn’t answered during the session, use Q&A time to ask the speaker, or use your questions as conversation starters during breaks.

If a speaker made a point that was particularly helpful or you can relate it to your professional experience, you can use Q&A time to show appreciation. Share a personal story that reinforces the speaker’s point. Remember that storytelling is memorable and powerful and isn’t exclusive to speakers.

If the event is in your home town or in a city you know well, you could organise a meetup after the day’s sessions are over. Get creative and stand out, show attendees hidden gems in the city, or arrange informal meetings at a restaurant near the convention centre, offering insights into the industry in your location. This creates a natural and relaxed framework that can become a solid base for business connections.

Appearances matter, and in the world of casual, a polished and professional outfit can help you stand out from the crowd of delegates. Dressing well according to your own personal brand won’t only make an impact on others, but can also boost your self-confidence.

Don’t forget to make the most of social media: ultimately, these platforms are meant for socialising. Live-tweeting is effective in encouraging interaction, and replies to your tweets can generate exciting conversations that you can later follow up in person.

RELATED: Building Relationship Online With Social Media Marketing

And once the event is over, always follow up on new connections. Go through the business cards you have collected and send a personalised email to everyone you have met.

Conclusion

Standing out at conferences and trade shows doesn’t have to be intimidating, but it requires some planning before and after the event. With a little bit of preparation and attitude, success is in your hands.

Does Your Conference Need Social Media?

Social media for conferences is absolutely essential. In the digital age, there is no question about it. As we have touched on before, this is where your target audience lives.

According to Eventbrite, close to 25% of traffic to event registration pages comes from social networks, and people who register after hearing about your conference on social media are 3X more likely to share it with other people.

Firstly, social media effectively serves as a platform for you to communicate with your target audience. Through engaging with them you can build a community, generate brand awareness, increase customer relations and loyalty.

As an association, it is imperative you achieve the following objectives:

  • Increase customer familiarity
  • Improve customer satisfaction
  • Grow brand awareness
  • Determine market positioning
  • Develop competitor insights
  • Identify and establish relationships with partners
  • Keep the conversation going after the event
  • Build a community
  • Generate new leads

Furthermore, to achieve any of this, you need an in-depth digital marketing strategy. Social media for conferences can be quite challenging, but we have got you covered! Try out these 3 tried and tested strategies.

1.  Create a unique hashtag

Regarding social media for conferences, you cannot overlook the power of the hashtag.

By utilising a hashtag consistently, you will boost the online conversation around your conference. When people discuss your event online, they will use the hashtag – especially on Twitter. When delegates post photographs online of themselves at the conference, they will utilise the hashtag.

Just pick one, keep it simple and use it every single time you post.

It can potentially:

  • Group together all online conversation and media around your conference
  • Allow your audience to easily connect with one another
  • Encourage their followers to join in your conference conversation and find out more about it
  • Increase the online exposure of your association and conference

You should make your hashtag clearly visible in the following places:

  • Your social media biography’s
  • Your entire association’s email signatures
  • On registration and website pages
  • Encourage speakers to use it in their online interactions leading up to the conference
  • On all your branded material
  • Use it in all your social media interactions

2.  Organic sharing

In order to promote organic sharing, you first must make it easy for your audience, partners and keynote speakers to share your content or event page online.

This can be done by getting a web developer to include social sharing buttons across your conference website. Furthermore, use your followers as a resource. By urging your followers to engage with your content, you will gain deeper insight into what they value. You can achieve this through the following:

  • Telling a story
  • Sharing an experience or behind the scenes content
  • Speaking about current events within your industry
  • Highlighting and discussing a previous speaker’s speech or theme from a past event
  • Pointing out something important about your audience
  • Sharing compelling visual images
  • Asking an intriguing question
  • Discussing relevant facts
  • Being humorous – sharing unique humour relevant to your audience and industry
  • Telling them why you are hosting the conference – why you are interested in the topics that will be addressed
  • Explaining to your followers why attending the conference will be beneficial to them
  • Asking them what activities they would like to engage in on the day
  • Asking them what they would like speakers to address at the conference

Further to this, ask your partners and keynote speakers to invite their followers to your event page. This way you will harness their following and take a step forward towards expanding your community.

Provide them with everything they need in order to do this. Make it easy for them by supplying them with a content pack including branded images, relevant hashtags, proposed copy and links.

3.  Targeted social media advertising

Social media is a cost-effective strategy for promoting your conference because you can allocate budget for paid advertising which gives you the opportunity to reach people beyond your followers, based on the demographics and psychographics of the audience.

You will first need to identify your target audience as this is an effective way to reach like-minded people that will most likely want to attend your conference or at least show interest and hopefully attend the next one. In addition, you can also use paid advertising to retarget already interested users. For instance, through Business Manager on Facebook, you will be able to identify who has clicked on your registration link but may not have gone through with the full process. These could be individuals who are interested but are waiting for a payday in order to purchase a place at your conference.

By retargeting users, you can remind them of your upcoming event.

Social media for conferences can be a tricky and tedious task, especially in the last three months leading up to the event. Outsourcing your digital marketing is a cost-effective way of ensuring you reach the right people and that your interactions online are professional and productive. Above all, get in touch with me today for advice on digital marketing in the MICE industry.

4 Concepts To Understand Digital Transformation in the Event Industry

As most meeting planners and event organisers know, technological disruption has brought profound changes to the MICE industry. Today, meetings, conferences, and exhibitions are increasingly being planned, organised and managed using digital tools. Digital tools are becoming an integral part of strategic event management given their proven ability to bring in substantial benefits. Such as significant cost and time savings, higher attendee satisfaction, and better exposure and image building.

Widespread digitalisation has brought us closer to a new understanding of communication within the meetings industry and being familiar with the key components this transformation is essential for planners, organisers, marketers, and anyone involved. In this post, we introduce four concepts that can help you understand the foundations of the digital transformation in the event industry.

1. Bringing In An Experiential Dimension

If you thought that we live in a digital era, think again: experts believe we are in the early stages of the Age of Experience. This means that every event now has the potential to become an immersive experience marked by authenticity and lasting engagement. Technologies like VR, AR, and 3D can unify the digital and physical aspects of an event, help create bi-directional conversations between the different parties involved, and eventually become content marketing engines in their own right. Moreover, adding an experiential dimension to an event turns attendees into participants, and motivates them to go from being consumers of information to have an active role in the generation of knowledge.

Related: Content Marketing for Associations: How to Grow Membership in the Digital Space

2. The User Experience of Events

Linked to the above is the fact that digitalisation has created a direct connection between the organisation and management of events and the field of user experience. The principles of UX are relevant to any digital tools used at events, and include:

  • Simplification of information: digital tools used at events should be designed to make it easy for participants to absorb and digest the information presented
  • Trust: when effective digital tools are in place, participants can appreciate how much time and effort have gone into creating an event that meets their expectations. This creates a sense of transparency that reinforces trustworthiness in the organiser
  • Feedback: not every participant is equally tech savvy, so it is important to ensure that event apps and other digital tools used at an industry event provide users with clear signals and timely feedback on how they should be used
  • Invisibility: great technology is as unobtrusive as possible. People expect tech tools to be an extension of their daily lives, so their implementation at events is no exception and should be planned with a focus on seamless functionality
  • More control to the user: digital event tools must shift the focus of control from the organiser to the attendee since flexible and user-friendly applications can empower participants and contribute to higher satisfaction rates

Related: Developing Social Media Strategies for Conferences & Events

3. Personalisation and Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence and related digital technologies, such as mixed-reality tech, are leading the digital transformation in the event industry. These tools enable organisers to create fully personalised environments in ways that were unthinkable only a few years ago.

AI applications (like iBeacons, concierge apps, and chatbots) can quickly gather contextual and granular data about attendees preferences and behaviour and provide them with real-time and relevant information, delivering curated content and offering opportunities for feedback. In addition to helping organise attendee-led events, these tools allow organisers to plan future and more personalised events, facilitate research, and bring valuable insights into lead management, as long as they are used alongside robust data security measures.

4. Networked Communities

Despite the emphasis on personalisation, every industry event has a clear social and relational component. Conferences, meetings, trade fairs, seminars, and similar events can be considered living organisms that rely on deep networks and meaningful connections to prosper. This is why the concept of networked communities is central to the digital transformation in the event industry. Tools like social media chats and online forums facilitate the emergence of communities at a conference or exhibition and play a role in helping keep communities alive throughout and after the event. When creating networks between and within attendees is at the core of event design, the technology used goes from being a product to becoming a service that enables meaningful and lasting conversations between all parties involved.

Conclusion

Digital tech is quickly becoming the backbone of events in the MICE industry. The digital transformation in the event industry is underpinned by the inclusion of experiential dimensions, the principles of UX design, growing personalisation, and networked communities that add human value to any event. These four concepts are far from short-lived trends since according to a recent report, nearly 70 percent of event organisers believe that digitalisation is here to stay. As time goes by, the implementation of events technology will give rise to new insights and opportunities. Events can become spaces for learning, interaction, innovation, and more, so now is the time to consider how you can take your event to the next level and jump on the bandwagon of digital transformation in the event industry.

The post 4 Concepts To Understand Digital Transformation in the Event Industry was first published on fmwaechter.com. Author Frank M. Waechter.

Facebook for Business

Nearly every business owner is aware of the important role that social media marketing, like facebook for business, can play towards boosting a particular marketing campaign. Sites like Facebook increase client engagement rates, promote specific products and keep fans up to date with the latest advertising campaigns. However, static content alone is no longer enough. Unless firms understand how to leverage the real power of this massive portal, their efforts could fall upon deaf ears. How can you develop a balanced digital marketing approach to this concept and what other tools do Facebook digital marketing platforms have to offer? Feel free to use the suggestions below as a short checklist when forming your social media campaign.

Related article: Formulating an effective approach to Content Marketing

Facebook for Business: Understanding the Power of Live Feeds

Consider the advantages of the webinar. Concepts such as real-time communications, in-depth product presentations and visitor feedback will often come to mind. Now, imagine a platform which requires no additional hardware and can nonetheless reach out to your chosen demographic. These are the main takeaway points of Facebook Live from a business perspective. No other equipment is required, there are no subscription fees, and broadcasts can be transmitted for up to 90 minutes with no interruptions. Whether you choose to publicise a live news feed from within a trade seminar or the conference room of your home office, connecting with your audience has never been easier.

The Power of Visual Content

The average online consumer is now more discerning than ever before in the types of products and services that people follow on a social media page. So, static text alone is no longer enough to generate a significant following. If you want to improve your Facebook for business, images, infographics and video clips should become integral parts of any Facebook digital marketing campaign. This approach will lend a visual appeal to your brand while simultaneously providing the viewer with more in-depth information.

Related article: Lights, Camera, Action! The Why and How of Video Marketing

Peak Viewing Times Regarding Facebook for Business

The evolution of the smartphone enables users to access Facebook at any time of the day. However, there are still peak hours regarding inbound traffic. According to a study by Mashable, the most extended viewing hours on weekdays are at eight o’clock in the morning, three o’clock in the afternoon and eight o’clock in the evening. Thus, it is a good idea to release any posts just before these increments. Considering viewing times will help to make certain that you are tapping into the largest audience base. Another trick which digital marketing professionals employ is to release a “teaser” advertisement in the morning followed by a more in-depth discussion in the evening. Let us not forget that many users do not have the time to read through a lengthy post during the day.

Preliminary “Likes”

Companies can offer visitors information of value after they like a particular page. That is important for two reasons. First, a greater number of likes will help to generate further social media exposure. As the choice is entirely voluntary, only those who are interested will subscribe; another significant advantage when gauging the efficacy of a marketing campaign. Some offers that a business could provide:

  • Discounts or Coupon Codes
  • Email subscriptions
  • Free white papers
  • Event invitations

Cross-Linking Platforms

A final point to make is that you should always link across to different platforms. Pro-active linking will add digital impact to your reputation, and of course, your SERP rankings will inevitably improve. Outbound links should be included on your homepage, within email campaigns and even within other social media circles such as Twitter and LinkedIn. It is critical that visitors can find your Facebook page from any one of these sources.

Leveraging the power of Facebook for the business purpose should become a permanent portion of your overall social media marketing, and thus digital marketing strategy. Let us also remember that all of these suggestions will cost nothing to implement, so there are no financial drawbacks. With time and focused effort, this robust social media platform can become another spoke on the wheel of online success.

This article Facebook for Business was first published on fmwaechter.com. Author Frank M. Waechter.

Content Marketing for Associations: How to Grow Membership in the Digital Space

Content Marketing for Associations. Associations are increasingly looking to the online world to bolster their membership numbers: the lower overheads, and the increased reach of association messaging over the web. Two of the most appealing aspects of this shift.

But moving marketing online requires extra effort in other areas. You are communicating with an audience that has a broader choice than ever before when it comes to the consumption of media. As a consequence, they have a much shorter attention span and lower tolerance for content which does not serve their motivations. Successful marketing begins when you embrace the fact that your audience has the right to choose its engagement – and when you start to offer something which the audience will not only seek out for themselves. But will also share among their networks of friends, family, and peers. That is why it is known as content or inbound marketing. Your leads will identify themselves as such as they engage with your online presence. The key to this engagement is valuable content.

What is Content Marketing for Associations?

To use an analogy: if the internet is a global village, then conventional advertising is akin to standing in the street and handing out flyers explaining why people should buy your product or join your association. Content or inbound marketing, meanwhile, is more like installing a huge window in your premises, allowing every passer-by to see the appealing products and services that you can offer them once they have chosen to enter. The moment when a prospect sees an attractive offering and enters your store? That is inbound marketing in action.

The Rules of Attraction: Why Inbound Marketing Works

It is perhaps not the most water-tight metaphor when talking about the intricacies of digital marketing. But the example does demonstrate a fundamental difference in attitudes between the two methods. One which is valuable for all association management personnel to learn. Content marketing is less aggressive, and it foregrounds the needs, expectations, and motivations of the customer. You are attracting prospects and inviting them to connect and participate, rather than forcing them through a sales funnel with the push of hard-selling promotional copy.

Successful Content Marketing Strategies in Practice

Which is all very well in theory. But how does an association apply a successful online marketing strategy, grow membership, and attract those valuable repeat subscribers? An effective strategy can be broken down into four components:

  • Functionality
  • Informative
  • End-user oriented
  • Value for Money

Functionality

The internet has opened up information for all of us. The challenge today is not about having access to resources, but being able to locate them among the hundreds of thousands of similarly-themed web pages. Content creation may be the priority, but presenting it in a way that is easy to discover should be seen as just as significant.

Established strategies such as search engine optimisation (SEO) improve the user experience. And also the visibility of your content. Effective association management means identifying the niche of your organisation and then targeting precise search engine words and terms to raise your profile in key areas. If you are unique in your industry, emphasise those attributes; if you serve a specific locality or community, make the world aware of your excellent work with region-specific search terms. Remember:

  • Do not overlook the value of web-building basics, either.
  • Create internal links between your pages and invite visitors to stay.
  • Use Social Media tactics and professional data analytics.

If all of your content is informative, and transitions intuitively from one area of interest to the next, then you will be on the right path to establishing yourself as a trusted online resource.

Related article: Advanced Data Analytics: One of our Data-Sets is Missing!

Informative

Of course, once the user base has discovered your content, it then has to delight. Data-rich copy and practical, expert advice is the magic ingredient when it comes to transforming your site from a sterile profile page into a valued resource. Pro-active content marketing for associations includes guest blogs, infographics, multimedia presentations, and industry insight from experienced professionals are among the most popular forms of data-rich content.

End-user oriented

Attractive marketing combines these first two facets and applies the results in a customer-orientated fashion. This means not only delivering the right content but delivering it at the right time. Attract clicks with offers and promotions: discounted subscription fees for a limited time, or free access to exclusive content when a prospect follows a specific referral link. But, most of all, make sure that your leads are discovering your offers when it will meet their needs, not your own. Provide pro-active support for your subscribers. Respond to frequently asked questions and provide solutions that are ready when your members need them the most. Effective marketing strategy blends seamlessly with your customer relationship management.

Value for Money

If you have accomplished all of the above, then you will have created a marketing copy that is more than advertising, and more than customer service: you have created a product in and of itself.

The vast majority of your association’s content-driven online marketing may be free to access. Yet, providing that access in return for customer contact details and an “opt-in” facility turns a blogging site into a potent lead generation tool for your association — additionally, a commitment-free means of participating for your members.

It is perhaps unsurprising then that content marketing strategies for associations are seen as an effective means of cementing brand loyalties.

Related: Social Media Marketing for the MICE Industry

As a content provider, you are cultivating ongoing relationships with visitors that will encourage them to return, time and again, to consume your products and services. In a sector where revenues are often reliant on the ability to grow membership numbers, there can be little doubt that inbound strategies represent a powerful means of promotion for associations today.

Frank M. Waechter | fmwaechter.com
Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Growth Marketing, Data Analytics for the Meetings Industry, Events Industry and Associations. Conference and Event Activation, Live Marketing, Onsite Engagement.
Carrer del Mestre Joan Corrales 107-109 08950 Esplugues de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
Phone: +34 691 328 572

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