This article is going to discuss some of the basic benefits and setup strategies preparing for an upcoming event.
You Need Critical Mass, Start Early
The best communication strategies take weeks and months to properly implement. In order to maximize your online footprint, try to give yourself the most room to naturally grow into the results you want.
It is especially important that you give yourself time for exploration and conversation with your audience. The more time you give yourself, the more options you have for testing different ideas and making sure your event maximizes on low-hanging benefits.
[message_box type=”note”]BONUS TIP: time equals money. When forcing yourself to reach high goals in short timeframes you increase the chance for error and dramatically escalate your costs.[/message_box]
Setup the Basics
For starters you should define your brand on the common sense social networks that are used by your audience.
Setting up all your profiles requires a consistent brand message, a short bio, a long bio, a profile image, a handful of ‘related images’, and access to any other content you may have (whitepapers, videos, press releases, etc.)
Try to collect 90% of the materials you need and get to work. Don’t delay your digital campaign while you wait for one or two extra items to be created; the benefits lost to inaction is not worth the wait.
When setting up the above profiles make sure you keep in mind that these profiles will show up in search results via Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, and Twitter.
As you begin to setup profiles, use the most likely search term for your event as the profile name (without the year or date)
If your event is called “Trade Show Expo 2011” try to optimize for “Trade Show Expo”
If you use the year or date attached to your profile name, you force yourself into starting a new account each event cycle and beginning from scratch.
Search engines will reward you with more 1st page results for your event name based on the number of profiles you maintain. A strong first page presence affects the perception of event attendees, potential sponsors, and other interested parties.
- it “controls” the lead funnel and prevents interested parties from clicking on irrelevant search results.
- it establishes new areas of communication to refine your tactics and narrow in on specific audiences.
- it allows you to engage people with the tools they choose to use (not the ones you choose for them.)
- it provides an on-going and growing event asset that builds with time.
[message_box type=”note”]BONUS TIP: if you want great search results, make sure to link all your profiles to all your other profiles.
- This means you should list all of them on your site.
- Setup a Google Profile with all of your social links connected to it.
- Make sure your Twitter, Linkedin, and YouTube channels all have your other social URLs. [/message_box]
When creating social accounts you need to give thought to your social conversion strategy. The whole point of having your event be present on digital channels is to drive business results across your business.
Having ROI with Social sites requires that you know “when, where, why, who, and how”
The easiest way to do this is with some basic online analytics and foundational marketing strategies.
- Google Analytics: provides essential visitor data and you can also track conversion funnels and social traction.
- Bit.ly: provides short URLs to track ads, radio spots, collateral pieces, and social traction.
- Addthis or Sharewith: these services track the number of times a specific item is shared online.
Both services offer free packages that are great for understanding what is ‘hot or not’
Sponsor & Vendor Optimization
Take the entire 101 Setup from above and put on your ‘sponsor hat’ to think about how preferred partners need to be educated. Collect a spreadsheet of all your events partners and apply some strategic thought for how everyone can have a win-win event.
[message_box type=”note”] *Keep an eye out for ‘digital adopters’ in your partner group. If an event partner is active in social media and digital efforts, invite them to be a part of your digital initiatives. Take the opporunity to provide ‘non active’ event partners with basic education or social media workshops .[/message_box]
REMEMBER: The entire purpose of your 101 setup is not to examine your social media and digital presence solely from a marketing perspective, but a holistic business perspective.
Many event managers fall into a marketing abyss trying to justify using digital communication to drive attendance and ticket sales (which can be good things if done right), but they fail to maximize returns on using social media to engage audiences, plan effective content schedules, or provide supply to significant industry demand.
When thinking about your digital 101 strategy, try to envision the opportunities and risks asssociated with several sections of your event. Each one of these niche areas of your event will reveal a nugget of wisdom that leads you to making better longterm business decisions.