Social media for engineering, trade, and technical events is different from social media for public events. Engineering events are best handled as an invite-only. Consider the differences between engineering, mining or electronics events to fitness expos, or food shows.
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Good participants are more important to effective social media for engineering events than broad promotions. Plan your time to recruit and coordinate industry influencers.
Brainstorm a list of:
- Venue, Headliners, and Sponsors
- Featured Brands
- Ideal Attendees
Leverage the existing professional relationships between your participants in the social media for the event. Be honest with your contacts. Let the person know why you want him or her to post for the event you are managing. Lock-in commitments from participants who already know each other. As an added benefit, network important people in the industry through the social media work for this event.
Tapping into Organizers
Tap into the organizer’s professional connections. Feature these experts to attract partners. Be fair. Ask these partners to share their expert insights to promote the event in a niche LinkedIN group or a Twitter chat. Schedule posts with links to their biographical and research articles across all of your channels The Offshore Energy 17 expo is a great example of using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIN for an engineering event.
Starting with Connections
Many venue managers are happy to introduce you to sponsors. As you interview the people you are referred to, discuss collaborating on the social media promotions.
A sponsor referred by your venue may have more experience with promoting events than you do. Listen to what the experienced sponsor recommends. Note the contact details of the sponsors’ social media (including traditional media) people.
Align your social media plan to fit the sponsors and headline speakers. Be prepared to call and email these contacts throughout the trade event project. Drive updates to the social media activity by making regular phone calls or meetings with the people you feature on social media.
Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre showcases their suppliers, events and the event sponsors in their YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/PerthConventionCentr)
Showcasing Social Media for Engineering
Research the brands who are on the trade show floor, speaking, or sending participants. Use a table or spreadsheet to track the social media profile pages and tags. Prioritize the people and brands who are most active on social media. Note the brands that have stagnant social media activity. Use this list to target 3 to 6 key social media participants.
Expo Manufactura does a nice job of alternating between promoting their event and promoting their participants in their Twitter feed (https://twitter.com/expomanufactura)
People are Important
People are the important part of social media for engineering or technical events. Finding the best social media participants is the priority.
The person dedicated to social media (you) is responsible for other planning and communications on the project, but you should not be the project manager. Keep the social media content useful to the phase of the project. For example, share the floor plan during the time you are booking the exhibitors (see above).
The number of hours required for social media work will ebb and surge around project milestones:
- Recruiting speakers and sponsors
- At the start and finish of registration
- During the event
- Post-event reporting and thanking participants
Expect to spend
Expect to budget
- 60%-75% of your time recruiting, planning, editing, and coordinating prior to
- As little as 25% of your time on loading social media posts
- The 15% difference for monitoring and responding to participation
In most cases, this 15% is sharing or replying. However, in rare cases, the 15% leeway may be spent dealing with urgent changes, fending off trolling (bullying or malicious comments) or spam.
The social media budget for an engineering or trade event will match the time needed to do the work. Expect to spend more money on the labor of planning and less money on paid advertising. Watch for my next article. I will break down the tasks and estimated time needed at each stage of the project.
One more thing
How you ask your questions makes people want to share (or not). Use the tips in this book, Power Questions, to get people to reply and reshare your posts.
Find out what makes people defensive and what words encourage people to give a good response. Thank you to Graham Cuckow, one of my mentors, for putting me onto this book so many years ago.
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