By James Kelliher, chairman and CEO, Whiteoaks
Low footfall and half-empty conference halls are unlikely to deliver much in the way of ROI. This is why the priority for any event PR is all about driving registrations and visitor numbers.
Whether it is a product launch, press conference, user group, exhibition or networking event, when used as part of a well-planned and executed PR and marketing strategy, digital channels offer an effective, cost effective way to increase attendee figures. Done well, good social media PR also helps keep the momentum of the event going – long after the last delegate has left the building.
Pre-show: Direct traffic your way.
Start by reviewing your social channels and fanbase and creating a dedicated event hashtag, which should be shared as quickly as possible. Make sure you’re following exhibitors, speakers, sponsors and key press. Joining groups and circles that your audiences are active in and sharing updates will also help generate loyal followers. Incentivising exhibitors and visitors with competitions also works well on social media and drives event attendance.
Alongside other sales and marketing activities, generating a mixture of paid, owned and earned media opportunities will drive relevant traffic to your website, increasing online registrations. Organising monthly exhibitor drop-in sessions also generates insight to feed editorial and social opportunities, maximising publicity.
Live from the event – media meet-ups and social buzz
For conferences and shows, on-site management of the ‘media zone’ gives journalists and bloggers direct access to experts and helps the event organisers and exhibitors make the most of media opportunities. Offering uninterrupted access to the web and directing the media to online press packs will also help influencers find the right information to publish and tweet while at the show.
Ask top bloggers to follow your event with a video diary throughout the show and generate your own content by interviewing influencers and speakers, exhibitors or sponsors for live ‘show floor’ video coverage – all of which can be amplified socially, using your event hashtag at all times.
Clever PR and marketing can also bring social media into the event. This may include, for example, promoting social updates during the event via a live video wall which showcases on-site chatter, creating buzz both online and onsite.
Post-event publicity – get them to sign-up to next year’s show!
After the show, unless you want to lose your hard-earned publicity and goodwill, the golden rule is to never switch off your social channels. Continue to grow your fanbase and build interest by connecting with the exhibitors, sponsors, speakers and press who were involved in the event and sharing related news and updates.
Likewise, to capture the attention of those that attended the event – and anyone who missed it – creating and sharing assets such as case studies about exhibitor ROI on social channels will go a long way to help the sales team lock-in bookings for the next show.
For further information, please visit www.whiteoaks.co.uk
This article was first published in Social Biz Magazine
About the author:
James Kelliher became chairman and chief executive officer of the Whiteoaks Consultancy in 2013, following a management buyout of the business. He has spearheaded the consultancy’s unique ‘Totally Transparent’ and ‘360PR’ market propositions, leading to outstanding client retention and prospect conversion rates – which has helped Whiteoaks become one of the UK’s leading B2B and technology PR consultancies and also one of the fastest growing. Whiteoaks is the return on investment PR industry leader, providing strategic and creative PR, social media and influencer relations campaigns that deliver tangible results, underpinned by robust performance commitments and formal service level agreements.