How we can smash our event planning strategy in 2015!
Picture this. It’s 9AM. Coffee is brewing and we’ve just logged into Twitter to catch up on this morning’s news. We scan to find out what people are getting up to and then we see it, hashtag galore over an event we had no idea about. We’ve all been there, we’re only human, but missing the boat is something that needn’t happen in this day and age.
With many events to choose from, the search for the best option can sometimes feel a little overwhelming, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Media monitoring tools can act as our right hand man by helping us with our event planning, from the cradle to the grave.
Finding the place to be
A quick keyword search on a news monitoring platform can fetch a list of event related articles specific to our industry, no matter how niche we are. Narrowing the search down by location can also be useful if budget is tight and we want to avoid trekking around the country in order to mingle with industry professionals and find leads. In addition to this method, my team mate Robert previous discussed how we can use Facebook’s graph search to search for events in specific areas, as well as to identify which ones our competitors are attending.
Now event organisers sometimes love to blow their own trumpets, but we no longer have to rely on their words to gauge the success of an event. By looking at previous year’s press coverage and the tonality of the articles we can make unbiased and informed decisions as to which option is best to book.
We can also make use of social media monitoring tools to help with identifying and tracking key influencers so that we can follow the events they promote and attend. This is a great way to effectively build desired relationships with them and make sure our brand has presence in locations where they hang out.
Reading industry publications and blog posts may be a slightly more old school way of researching for event planning, but it works just as well. For those working in PR or Marketing, we previously created a list of our personal favourite blogs to follow to start off with.
Making the most out of exhibiting
Once we’ve found an event that looks promising in lead generation and brand awareness we must shout about our attendance from the roof tops! Make sure every man and his dog knows we’re in town and why our booth is worth a visit. Add the event link to email signatures and the website, tell customers during phone calls and invite them by email too. Find out what social media platforms our targeted audience and influencers mostly use and engage with them on these channels.
On the event D Day it’s important to listen and track hashtags and conversations so that we can successful insert ourselves into the discussions. If there is a certain keynote happening that’s creating a lot of buzz, go and see what all of the fuss is about! Remember many people follow event hashtags without actually attending, thus reading post after post saying “come and say hi at booth 20” can get rather boring. We should use our imagination and creativity- take photos, write inspiring posts and quote interesting facts learnt from the keynote presentations. After all, it’s these kinds of posts that are likely to receive high engagement.
Tracked conversations = precious gold mine
Conversations hold a vast amount of information beyond who said what. By analysing and dissecting the data we can see:
- Who was interested in certain topics- this kind of personalised information can be relayed to our sales team and help them to close contracts
- Highly engaged posts- this helps with judging who the influencers were so we can network with them
- Key themes and trends- this could provide the basis for future strategies or blog posts
- Peak times of the day that had the highest engagement- this can help us understand what time is best to choose for a speaking timeslot for future events we attend
The above are just a few ways we can avoid missing the memo and keep on top of industry news in order to improve our event planning strategy, but the most important tip of all is to keep leads hot! The longer we wait to contact potential clients the quicker they slip away. The success of our event plannning strategy is ultimately defined on the event’s ROI, so don’t let cold leads overshadow the hard work we have put into our detailed plan.