B2B social trade show

Yesterday we wrapped up a social command centre for the Thomson Reuters brand Accelus OrgID. It has been a week of frenzied content creation, tweeting and posting. All designed to amplify the company’s presence at Sibos 2014 (a major financial trade conference) and drive leads.

And in our experience, real-time social in B2B substantially boosts lead generation.

However, counter intuitively, real-time social for trade events needs a lot of planning. Planning for content you will want to share, and preparation to grab the live opportunity. We have managed many events from a social perspective. Some where we are on the ground such as IBM Smarter Commerce and Motorola solutions Radio app forum; and others, like the recent finance event, where we are working remotely. So what are the key steps in creating a very social trade show?

Look for patterns that will guide activity

Grabbing the social data from previous or similar events can be an invaluable guide as to what to expect. Not only will it give you an idea for peak times for social engagement, but it if you dig into topics, and the event is recent, you can uncover likely themes that will resonate on the social profiles.

And a deeper analysis also identifies key influencers, active participants and a wealth of insight to inform your plans. You’ll need a monitoring tool to help though.

Juicy, useful, visual content is vital

So what are you going to say? How can you make the stand assets more social? After all you want your posts to be shared. So start by auditing the content you have. Look for the gaps. Compare to previous events and current industry trends. Then start weaving stories that will fit with conference agendas and keynotes.

Once you have the themes and stories in place, shatter the content. Create bite size copy and design visuals that will work on the social profiles. Now you have a plan and something to talk about that compliments stand and conference activity.

Prepare to be human

Of course, not every post or tweet is going to be pre-planned. You are going to want to engage with delegates, live. You might even want to interact with other exhibitors for a bit of brand to brand banter! But to have the freedom to respond quickly, you need to establish the voice and personality of your B2B brand on social. Your plan must detail tone, language and personality.

Real-time social means you need to be aware of the conversations. That means having a clear view of the conversation (we use Twitter walls) Tracking trending hashtags both at the event and beyond can give you ideas to engage an audience. During Sibos, #internationalcoffeeday was trending. It gave the team a chance to show some personality in their response and be at the heart of the action.

Consider every detail, but don’t forget the people

Plans are all well and good, but a social command centre is live: you need people in the room!

It makes sign off so much faster if you have those with authority and expertise from the brand in the room too. You will also need folk at the event if your centre of operations is off-site. On the social front our team includes:

–       Designer – turning around real-time microvisuals to grab attention

–       Analyst and co-ordination – to watch the numbers and make sure all approvals are gained

–       Copy content and community – to write posts, reply and banter with attendees

Facilitation tools are essential. Listening and management tools are a must. Sometimes the speed of conversation can be just too fast and tools can help you capture everything. Plus the monitoring software will gather the data to reveal daily insights on the hottest topics. We like to work with lots of scribble boards too – making sure we capture ideas as the event progresses.

Prepare to measure

Tweeting and posting at a live event is intensive. It will use resource and require investment. So you want to know it works don’t you? Don’t leave the measurement until the end. Thinking about what you will need to prove value, makes you think about what you must measure right up front. You’ll consider more carefully about the trackable links you use, the landing pages and data capture. Then at the end, when you are exhausted and your brain has left, measurement is easy.

There is nothing like circulating the report afterwards to give everyone a lift and show that the time spent on social, was well spent!

 

 

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