How to use digital and social to start more relevant sales conversations at events
In a post-pandemic era when events were virtual, if not cancelled, it is great to be able to go to in-person conferences and trade shows again. Whether you have a booth, will be speaking on stage or are attending, here are helpful sales tips to drive visibility for your brand and generate more leads.
Note: those tips are relevant for physical or virtual events.
Before the event
If you have a booth, how many customers or prospects will you invite and meet?
If you speak, how many new followers or connections do you plan to gain?
If you attend, how many new people do you plan to meet and connect with?
Identify event channels of communication and participate
It is more than likely that the event will have a hashtag, so find out what social media channels the event will be on, find and follow the pages and hashtags.
- On Linkedin, check the Linkedin page or latest posts of the organiser. Follow the Linkedin page and Follow the event hashtag. Check on the Linkedin page if the organiser has created a Linkedin event page so you can check yourself in as interested or attending and see who else in your network might also be listed.
- On Twitter, find and follow the relevant hashtag. If there are several, you can group them and save the search. It will be simpler to keep an eye on all relevant tweets in one single feed. For example: Search and save: #Gitex OR #GitexGlobal OR #Gitex2021
Create awareness ahead of the event
As an exhibitor, communicate about contests you are holding or services you will provide at the event.
As a speaker, you can share a preview of your presentation or the topic you will be talking about.
Create calls-to-connect on social media
Check the agenda and speakers and let people know you will be there and why you’re excited. Post on Linkedin and Twitter without forgetting to add relevant hashtags or tag one or two relevant people
Connect with relevant speakers and attendees ahead of time
If you have a booth, let your customers and prospect know: post, invite via email or 1:1 Linkedin message if you are connected.
For VIP connections, send a personal voice message or a video message via Linkedin.
Check other speakers, panellists or attendees you would like to meet and connect with ahead of time.
Having that initial connection online will help increase the chance you recognise one another creating an easy introduction in-person.
During the event
Monitor events channels and participate
While you are there to meet and connect with other people, conversations are also taking place online.
Share and participate in conversations on social and digital channels using hashtags or saved searches.
Share also for your followers or people who are following the event and could not make it.
Video and images will get more attention. Create and share short live videos or snapshots. They will be most likely to be noticed online, creating more views for you.
If you have a booth or speak, also check mentions of your company or your name so you can respond to questions or keep the conversation going.
Connect with people
Other than the traditional business card exchange, you can use your Linkedin QR code. Find it, save the image to your gallery on your mobile or print it and stick it on your badge or your business card.
It is a good way of breaking the ice with people who do not know the feature. It is contactless and offers the person the possibility to view your profile and connect with you on Linkedin right away.
Plan your follow-ups ahead
For each interaction or meeting, make sure you write down a note and a follow-up task on a notepad or the back of the other person’s business card, and it will help you remember the context and make the follow up more relevant.
After the event
Continue the conversation
Upload images or videos of the event on social and tag people or use relevant hashtags to increase visibility
Search for relevant conversations or prospects on events’ channels.
Connect with all people you have met
If you have not connected on Linkedin on the spot, go through your business cards and send invitations to connect on Linkedin with a personalised message reminding them of context. You never know when attendees will go through their connection requests, and you need to stand out. The goal is to connect, not sell. You will then have more opportunities to educate and engage.
On social or online, share highlights and your takeaways with your audience and connections online.
Repurpose highlights in a personalised message to prospects or people who could not attend.
For people you have met, send relevant content to pick up the conversation where you left off.
Networking and selling at events can be intimidating for many salespeople. Social media can help by increasing visibility and making the process of connecting and sharing a lot easier and more relevant for you and other attendees.
We specialise in B2B sales, and our founder worked at Linkedin, so we are biased, and it’s no surprise that our tips refer to Linkedin and Twitter a lot. But they can be used for Facebook or Instagram, too, depending on the event and the audience.