How to make the best use of conferences B2B platform – 8 easy hacks

As much as we marketers would hate to admit it, not all marketing is digital (here’s a great example of such offline marketing strategy: https://owntrepreneurship.com/2016/12/21/for-real-marketing-impact-go-offline-and-old-school/).

Conferences, trade shows and expos still bring in large crowds, and as marketers we simply cannot ignore the possibility to engage with our target audience. However, conference have become so commercialized that it is impossible to make an impact without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on lavish booth, VR experiences and raffles.

 

But there is still one tool in your toolbox that most underutilize. This is the online B2B platform. Using this in an intelligent way can lead to scheduling multiple meetings with relevant people regardless of your ability to spend (sometimes without even having to have a booth at all!). Let’s start.

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1.     Set your profile 
Just like on any other social platform, you need to have a decent profile which includes a headshot, short description and contact details. Don’t be lazy and add links to your website, social media accounts and phone number.

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2.    Choose areas of interest

Make sure you list your areas of interest and make them visible to others. It ensures people can check if you have any relevancy to them and that if they do agree to meet you it would be a productive meeting.

3.    Search for relevant people
This is the real deal.
You must take the time to search various combinations of key words to identify relevant people you might like to engage with. Copy all the names to a spreadsheet and start to go one by one and contact them.

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4.   Contact

This is the tricky part- some B2B platform do not allow for direct contact without the approval of the other person. Some are only used to set meetings at a designated area at specific times. Whenever possible, complement any meeting request with a short written note, explaining who you are and why you would like to meet them.

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5.    Connect using other channels
Don’t rely Solley on the B2B platforms inmail. Connect with the person on LinkedIn as well. Sometimes these platforms include a link to the person’s profile, but even it it’s not listed, it should be fairly easy to find on LinkedIn. Once found you can use the same approach note for the request to connect. Once connected you can send an inmail with a request to meet at the conference.

6.   Try their personal email or phone.

If a person connects with you on LinkedIn but does not answer the inmail meeting request you still have two more options- you can extract their email from their LinkedIn profile and email them, or, if they have a phone number listed on their profile- you can even try the odd cold call.   

7.    Hack the app- nowadays every event has its own mobile app. And while I wouldn’t suggest to conduct all these activities using the mobile app, but you can certainly use it for certain tasks. For instance, Some desktop B2B platforms do not allow messaging / inmail option, while the same B2B mobile does allow it. Mobile app also shows you people around you at any given event or talk- which makes for even more focused targeting (e.g. you can see everyone who’s attended a session about a specific area and target all of them as qualified leads).

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8.   The gift that keeps on giving:
The conference has ended? There are still people you need to connect with? Fear not! Oftentimes the B2B platform will stay online for many days after the conference has ended, allowing you the same access to information as before.

In summary- Using B2B platforms requires very little skill, and a lot of diligence. Done right it can increase the effectiveness of participating in a conference tenfold.

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Bonus- all B2B platform require registration but most don’t actually check you are registered to the conference itself. This means you can try to set meetings and only after you’ve verified enough interest you can actually register to the event. It also means you can get real marketing value without presenting.

Bonus II- always complement your B2B activities with notifications on social media before, during and after the event. It might remind people who are not listed on the B2B platform of your existence an push them to set a meeting with you.  

No ideas for content ? here are 10 suggestions for you

It happens to all of us, content marketers. We are faced with a deadline and need to generate a piece of content, but we simply have nothing to write about. Sure, some would say that if you don’t publish content which is super-interesting, valuable and engaging you really shouldn’t be publishing at all. I respect this but most client won’t, and most marketers will be forced at some point to force themselves to generate content. For some its even worth than lack of inspiration or writer’s block- some unfortunate souls have the daunting task of writing for and about companies and products which are not that interesting.

Whatever the reason is, we all need some help with generating content. Here are 10 tips for generating content when you having nothing to write about:

  • Re-use

Perhaps the easiest thing to do is to take an older piece and re-edit it to look and feel like something new. You can take a lengthy article and turn it into list (10 tips for XXX) ot groups items from multiple items to form a new one (https://intsights.com/halloween-special-creepy-finds-on-the-darknet/). You can revisit old articles and explore their validity in regards to new developments. Do try to avoid making only cosmetic changes and reposting unchanged old materials- that that’s recycling.

  • Go visual

When you have nothing to write about, try to create a visual post. Turn a list into an infographic or make a post completely out of visuals (this also works well when reusing older materials, as it can be views as some sort of expansion or elaboration on a topic you’ve already discussed).  In addition to being the easiest way to generate content, it is suited for publication directly on social media platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).  At this humoristic Halloween post, we dressed the team of a cybersecurity company as hackers: http://resec.co/halloween-is-a-time-for-mischief-but-traditional-cyber-stock-photos-are-just-a-bad-joke/

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  • Shoot a video:

Instead of doing another piece about your technology, make a short clip to capture the usability, user experience or workflow. Video is easier to consume, share and will certainly boost your SEO rankings. Plenty of cheap or free editing software around, and you can easily combine footage from your smartphone with screen capture video and record voice commentary directly on your laptop. Here- instead of writing a boring post inviting people to meet them at a conference, the CEO sends a short video message:

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  • Comment

Find a relevant research or news item and write a commentary article, which will show the audience that you’re aware of what’s happening in the industry and not afraid to speak up. Make sure the commentary is not to harsh or self-promoting. Here ReSec CEO comments on the state of phishing as reported by another vendor:

http://resec.co/spam-returns-to-2010s-record-numbers-but-now-with-a-new-trick/

 

  • Summarize

Same idea as commenting- find a lengthy piece of research that no one will read and write a much shorter post focusing on the highlights. In addition to providing great value to people (including executive who don’t have the time to read these 70+ pages research paper) you can chose which angles to highlight and focus on- naturally the ones which strengthen your messaging. Here is an example, aptly titled: “We Read the 70 Page 2016 Internet Organized Crime Threat Assessment Report So You Don’t Have To”.

 

  • Write about the non- professional aspect of your company

You are allowed to stray off-topic if you uncover an interesting angle and provide something unique to your audience. Instead of writing a very mundane post notifying customers that one of my clients has moved to a new office, we turned it into a piece on how their CEO uses constant engagement to keep motivation high and attrition low (he basically rented and renovated new offices in complete secrecy, and took all the employees there under the pretense of an off-site lunch. The employed were surprised and delighted to find new, cool offices instead https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/work-space-environment-dotan-bar-noy?trk=mp-reader-card)

  • Though leadership

You can project thought leadership in many aspect of business and life, not just these which are related to your specific product or market. If a CEO is volunteering at an animal shelter and encourages other employees to follow him, it sends a powerful message, regardless of their line of business. It’s also very easy to produce and can be shared in many places, according to theme- Leadership, management, HR, etc.

  • Interview-

When there’s nothing better to do, just interview the CEO or the employees. You can gain terrific professional insights (what are the customer’s pain points for example) and show your company’s diversity and culture. Big plus- it also serves as a great source of pride and motivation within the organization.

  • Guest post

Zero effort to generate (other than several emails), can add diversity and external expertise and drive traffic from audiences which are not usually within your reach. The downside? You will either need to buy it or reciprocate in one way or another. At CyberDB we have a roster of guest bloggers and find their posts to be of great quality:

http://cyberdb.co/iot-ddos-will-learn/

 

  • Write about something else

This post for example, links to several other post which will now gain traffic and exposure. You can even write about the content production process itself (like I’ve done here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/some-vital-tips-making-corporate-clip-staying-alive-yotam-gutman?trk=prof-post)

 

I hope these suggestions will help you get out of a slump. As always, remember that your content/ publication calendar is your friend and try to stick to it- it will save you the last minute rush and the need to innovate and be creative- Something which I’ve found to be in want specifically in times of crisis.

 

 

3 simple and effective Twitter hacks

Ok, so we’ve established that Twitter can be useful for you (https://owntrepreneurship.com/2015/10/18/i-dont-get-twitter/). Great. Now what do you do?

We’ll you need to start following and you need to start twitting. That much is obvious. But with time you will understand that in order to reach a wide audience you need to tweet and tweet often, only during the relevant times of day for your target audience (see this article for the A Scientific Guide to Posting Tweets

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/belle-beth-cooper/a-scientific-guide-to-pos_b_4262571.html

Using Tweetdeck

Tweetdeck is very effective in schedulling your twits
Analytics

Since you don’t want to be up at strange times of the night tweeting, nor like repeating yourself several time a day, this is a great tool. You simply type the tweet and decide when it will be posted. That’s’ it. Sounds silly but the fact that you can schedule every tweet multiple times ( I tweet at least 3 extra times per tweet) provides you much greater reach.

Twitter Analytics

Use Analytics to optimize your tweeting
Use Analytics to optimize your tweeting

Twitter is enigmatic to most of us. It is unclear why certain tweets succeed (meaning the get re-tweeted and like a lot) and other don’t receive any attention. The only way to identify what’s working is to employ some analytical tools. Luckily, there is a great, free tool for everyone to us. Called Twitter analytics ( www.analytics.twitter.com). It allows you to see which tweets gained the most traction, some demographic information about your audience.

The trick? Check yesterday’s tweets, see which were the most successful, and re-tweet them again.

This is a great tool practice to fine-tuning your publishing and hash-tagging skills.

Use Hashtags (#) and Mentions @ while twitting

Yep, this is the official Twitter lingo, and you need to use it to make your tweets reach a wider audience (for a complete and helpful Twitter glossary https://support.twitter.com/articles/166337)

According to Twitter, The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages (https://support.twitter.com/articles/49309)

If its’ hashtagged, than it is easily searchable and will reach a larger audience, which is not comprised only of your followers but also from every Twitter user who’s search for this hashtag. The @ sign is used to call out usernames in Tweets. By including a mention of a specific @username in Tweets, you will make sure the person mentioned receives a notification of your tweet. Basically, the more you engage people (like/ favorite their tweets, mention them, retweet their messages, reply to their messages) you increase the likelihood of them interacting back with you- following you, retweeting your twits and like your tweets- all of which increase your influence.

Just like any other social network, Twitter is a numbers game. The more followers you have, the greater reach you have and more people will notice and follow you. Unlike other platforms in Twitter you need to be very proactive to increase and maintain your followership. So use these 3 hacks to do so and start reaping the rewards of this peculiar yet entertaining platform. Oh, please don’t forget to Twit this to the world…