This month see’s two major events take place for the business community in Scotland.
On the 13th April Hampden Park in Glasgow hosted Expo Scotland a daylong event geared towards people looking to develop their businesses, grow a business they work in, or for those looking to keep up to date with industry and business skills.
Then, from the 20th to 21st April the Visit Scotland Expo 2016 will take place at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh, this is Visit Scotland’s flagship event for the travel trade and the only fair of this kind in the UK which exclusively promotes Scotland.
Between the two, there will be well over 400 exhibitors, hundreds of international buyers, and thousands of delegates and visitors. These events are two of the biggest networking events on the Scottish calendar.
This type of real-life networking is crucial to the success of our businesses – regardless of our industry or sector, so how could social media possibly enhance that?
1. Find out what the Expo Hashtag is
Start following it a couple of weeks beforehand and use it in every message related to the expo before, during and after to be part of the wider conversation with all the key players. The hashtag for VisitScotland Expo for example is #visitscotexpo.
2. Consider your own company or campaign Hashtag
Create your own conversation around your business, industry, topic or incentive to engage people at the expo with your social media.
3. Build awareness in advance of the Expo
Generate an interest before you attend to drive people to your stand or to find you on the day. Offer an incentive to entice people to visit your stand first, signal this to them beforehand and create a buzz around you and your business.
4. Ask the event organisers for digital promotional material in advance
Content is key on social media and if you have materials prepared in advance from the organisers, such as their logo, the branding, some graphics or photographs, or their video content will certainly make your posts stand out from the crowd.
5. Introducing a new product or service: try a promo video
Often we’ll promote something new that we are offering our customers or clients, why not produce a short (less than 60 seconds) video that you can share prior to, during and after the expo.
6. Schedule in advance
Expo’s are busy places but don’t forget you can schedule Tweets and Facebook posts. This could be particularly helpful if you are presenting or leading a seminar – schedule tweets of key talking points during your presentation.
7. Share lots of photos from the day
Take photos of you setting up, all set up, welcoming your first visitor to your stand, attending your first keynote talk or breakout session, over lunch, when your networking, when you visit other stands, when the day is winding down, when you’re packing up and on your way home again.
8. Connect on LinkedIn
You’re at a professional event, so it makes sense to connect with the people you meet on a professional network. Let your LinkedIn followers know you’ll be at the expo, ask to connect with people on LinkedIn that you meet on the day, and make sure you follow up with them afterwards.
9. Create a mobile friendly expo landing page on your website
Direct people, you meet or connect with via social media to information that pertains to them and the event you are attending; you’ll then have measurable web stats afterwards too.
10. Connect with industry specific media contacts
Whether it’s on Twitter or LinkedIn ask them to stop by your booth to see new products, learn about new services, attend a seminar you are speaking at, or consider writing about your business story idea.
11. Use enthusiasm to your advantage
If you meet a delegate or visitor who is ecstatic about your product or service or has a great story, ask if you can take their photo (or video) then share it to your social media alongside a testimonial.
12. “Bring the show to the masses”
One of the reasons for participating on social media while you are at the expo is to bring the event to the people who couldn’t physically be there. Posting timely photos and expo updates will help attendees who are hundreds of miles away feel like they are there with you.
13. Follow Up
Once the expo is over and your back to work, go through the business contacts you’ve made and see if they are on LinkedIn, follow them on Twitter or Like their business page on Facebook. Make yourself more memorable by including a personal note or comment along with the connection.
14. Review your experience
After the expo why not spend an hour and write something up about your experiences for your blog. Talking about who you met, what you learnt, or what impact attending had on your business.
15. Share your insights
If you presented a seminar, breakout session or were one of the speakers at the expo why not share your presentation, talk and content with the rest of the world. You could share clips of the seminar, slides on Slideshare or link to a PDF handout, all via social media.