By Sarah Kershaw
OK hands up, when someone new starts following you on twitter, how many of you take a look at their profile page to 1) see what they do 2) see what they look like 3) check out how many followers they have?
And then taking into account the above, do you make a snap judgment on their credibility based on how many followers they have?
I reckon we all have at some point! However, when we think rationally about it we will agree that quality far outweighs quantity and if the quality’s sound, then these new fans of ours could be extremely influential in the market we are trying to engage with, regardless of the number of followers they have. A better indicator of authenticity would be to check out that they have many more followers than those they are following, this indicates a discerning character (or maybe just a celebrity!), someone who carefully selects who they follow. Twitter actively tries to discourage the “I’ll follow you, if you follow me” brigade which was so prevalent in the early days. But believe me, some of them are still out there…
So, if we agree with the above, we should have similar standards for who we follow.
More and more businesses are starting to recognize the importance of devising a twitter following strategy to help them achieve their twitter objectives. Here are my thoughts on who exhibition organisers should be following:
Exhibitors and Sponsors
Your exhibitors’ and sponsors’ customers and target markets are exactly the types of visitors you want to attract to your event. Your exhibitors can give you a route to this market. Monitor what your exhibitors are tweeting about and retweeting. Identify who are the most vocal, who are the most popular and identify the issues up for discussion. Not only will this information give you an insight into your market, you’ll also be armed with a heap of suggestions for your conference producers.
This gives you the perfect opportunity to engage with them on a regular basis; welcome them as an exhibitor to your event, congratulate them on their new website, tell them how excited you are to announce their involvement, ask them their thoughts on your marketing campaign, remind them to invite their followers to register etc.
If you manage to start engaging with your exhibitors, remember that as well as their customers being exposed to your conversations, it’s highly likely that their competitors are following them … and their competitors will probably be prospective clients for you too. Show the twitter world that you know and care about the industry and that you are doing all you can to ensure your exhibitors gain from their investment in your event.
Who are your target exhibitors? Following these companies will highlight to them that you are interested in them, and it might encourage them to follow you back (especially if they are genuinely interested in exhibiting).
Follow them and keep an eye on any campaigns they are working on, eg. are they focusing on a specific market? Do you know if this market attends the event? If yes, tell them about the audience that you attract.
Following your prospective exhibitors on twitter gives you an insight into their thinking, their plans, their markets and their aspirations which of course are all highly important to you if you think they should be exhibiting at your event.
Your speakers will be a fountain of knowledge in the industry, which is why you’ve chosen them to speak. Your speakers will have built up followers who are interested in what they have to say, and these people will again be potential visitors or delegates for your event. Your speakers will be highly influential in your market, so make sure you take note of what they are tweeting about, retweet interesting tweets and engage with them. Encourage them to tweet about their session.
If you are working with the GleanIn software, we can identify which of your visitors are tweeting about the event. We’ll also show you how many of them follow each of your exhibitors, speakers and other group members. These engaged visitors should definitely be on your following list - you should try to connect with them and build a relationship with them before the event to help conversion.
Your followers will be interested in industry news so by following your media partners, and other industry media, you’ll be able to keep abreast of important issues. The media twitter accounts will be extremely influential over visitor groups, so engage with them and expose your event to their audience.
I can guarantee that they will be following you! Keep an eye on what they are doing, who they have signed up and you’ll have an insight into their world that doesn’t exist without twitter.
To conclude, I hope I have given enough reasons above to convince you how important it is to follow the right people and to make sure you read what they are tweeting. Marketing managers can get so busy, especially in the lead up to an event that they feel their twitter task is complete if they’ve scheduled tweets for the next 3 weeks. While this is necessary, you’ll be missing out on opportunities to connect with key event stakeholders who could ensure your pre-registered visitor list converts into an attendee list.
With the help of GleanIn, you’ll be able to identify who are your most influential speakers, exhibitors, media and other group members. It will help you pinpoint who you should be trying hard to connect with and give you insight into whether your campaigns are converting these influencers’ followers into registered visitors. If you are not familiar with the GleanIn software, or you would like help and advice on how to use it, please contact Tamar or Sarah. (details below).