Post-COVID Event Marketing Tips

You may still have apprehension about mask mandates being lifted across the country, or you may be WAY beyond ready to show the world your face again.  Either way, we’re seeing corporate and industry events ramping up quickly!  So dust off those business cards, shake the cobwebs off your work attire, and start thinking about how to use Event Marketing to ramp up your business in 2022 and beyond.

Social Media Marketing

Most events had embraced “event hashtags” before COVID hit.  But since we all started working remotely, social media has morphed from a “maybe use” to a “must use” part of your event marketing strategy.  Here are a few #ProTips to get you started:

Make sure that you are following the event organizer on all social platforms, but especially on Twitter, where event communication happens in real time and virtual networking is most important.

Research what hashtag is going to be used at the event, and then make sure you have either assigned someone on the floor to follow that hashtag or that you have hired a social media manager who will follow it from their location.  The marvelous thing about event hashtags is that they allow you to see what everyone is doing, hear what everyone is saying, and FOLLOW others at the event – even if they don’t visit your booth.

Remember that social media is interactive, it’s not just you talking or just you listening.  Follow the hashtag (that literally means to click on it and see what’s being shared there) but also contribute to the conversation.  Tweet about where you are, what you’re doing, take selfies, take videos.  Always include the event hashtag in your tweets so that everyone else can follow along – and connect with you.

If you don’t have someone on the floor who is comfortable using Twitter, perhaps you can assign them to just provide those selfies and videos to a social media manager who can do the rest for you.  Provide that social media manager with a list of prospects if you have one; s/he will make sure that you’re following those folks ahead of time.

And don’t forget Networking 101—Digital Version!  If you collect business cards at a show, you will want to follow up with those people afterward.  A personal email is expected, but you should also find them and follow them on Twitter and LinkedIn.  But NOT on Facebook or Instagram unless they have a public, business presence there.  Friending someone on Facebook after a business meeting is NOT appropriate.  Following them on LinkedIn and liking what they post, however, is not only appropriate, it’s awesome.  

Trade Show Marketing

One of our clients, Revco Solutions, had a Vegas trade show in February right before the Super Bowl—so the Show theme was centered around football.  For this event, we ended up getting Revco football jerseys made up for the sales managers with their last names and their favorite number. For promotional items we did football stress balls, football-shaped koozies, and a coaster that had a pop out paper football game that included a triangle football and field goal post.

Sometimes we organize private events around large trade shows, like golf tournaments or perhaps having an expert direct craft bourbon tasting, and providing hand-rolled cigars. Add in some ax throwing and a celebrity guest speaker, and the private event will be a sure success. With the expense of these large shows and now not knowing how it will be attended based on lingering COVID concerns, a smaller invitation-only event allows us to control the narrative and to ensure that we have an opportunity to connect in a meaningful way with our most valuable contacts at the larger trade show.

Another way to engage event-goers and get them to both your booth and your website?  Floor stickers with a custom QR code they can easily scan with their phones!  For example:

When we strategize with clients about trade shows, we evaluate the event and strategize with them to find the marketing best fit for their individual goals and budgets. Variables include event location and show themes, exhibiting versus sponsorship, booth location, promotional items, contests and takeaways. In some cases, the cost to exhibit or sponsor the event might be prohibitive, so we need to think outside the box. Getting creative and developing interesting options like private events, unique locations or activities, or celebrity speakers can cost less but make a big impact!

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