As well as engaging with those who have already signed up for your event, you can reach out to other potential visitors by publishing quality, thoughtful articles. Don’t just publish on your own website; make use of high profile platforms, where you can get in front of thousands of potential visitors. Ask your exhibitors to author guest posts to generate interest in their show features, and direct conversation by weighing in on any hot topics.
You should also lean on your exhibitors to take part in a scheduled Twitter chat. A Twitter chat is a live event on Twitter where users can participate using a designated hashtag. You could choose an industry topic for discussion or make the focus educational, allowing users to ask questions to be answered by an expert. Schedule a set time for your chat and promote it across your social platforms sufficiently in advance. You could also engage other partners to join in on the conversation and get them to help spread the word.
A webinar is another great way to host a ‘pre-event’, allowing visitors to connect with special guests. You don’t need any special equipment – just a webcam and a YouTube account. The ‘Hangout on Air’ feature lets you quickly set up an event and start broadcasting live. Enable the live chat facility and your viewers will be able to interact with you, asking questions and making comments that you can moderate in real time.
Allowing visitors to contribute to your event by making suggestions for features, activities, the format or venue, can really help give them a sense of ownership. Send out a survey seeking their views or allow them to vote via Twitter to shape the content. This will let them know that the event exists to serve their desires.
Running a competition for an exciting prize is a tried and tested way to generate interest. Using Facebook as the platform for the competition allows you to benefit from social sharing and easy data capture. Ideally choose a prize related to your event such as the chance to win a meet and greet with a celebrity, VIP tickets and an overnight in a hotel.Use a competition app such as Gleam and you can incentivise entrants to share and like for extra chances to win. You’ll also be able to capture their email addresses for follow-up marketing.
Sometimes doing something a little bit silly is the best way to get people’s attention and prompt them to engage with one another – and social media is the perfect platform on which to have some fun. Consider incentivising people to send in photos by offering a 10% discount on their ticket or a free item at the venue. It could be anything that fires the imagination, such as humorously shaped vegetables/brilliant beards/pets that look like their owners.
Don’t forget to create a unique hashtag for your photo campaign. This will help people follow the fun and also make it easy for you to collate all the entries to display on a ‘social media wall’ on the day of your event.
Putting the effort in prior to your event gives it the best chance of being a success. It also paves the way for the success of your future events. Once you’ve built that event community, keep it going. Stay in touch, keep them engaged and reap the rewards next time.