New Hope Natural Media decided 13,000 likes for its two Natural Products Expos weren’t enough, since the two shows attract more than 80,000 attendees, and figured out a way to nearly double that number.
In January 2013, Natural Products Expo had 13,000 likes on its Facebook page. That was up from 10,000 the previous May but, still, with attendance of 60,000 at Natural Products Expo West and 20,000 and Expo East, show managers at New Hope Natural Media thought they could do better.
So, according to Scott Sherpe, marketing director at New Hope, the goal was to double those likes by January 2014.
1. Establish a single marketing lead across the teams for both shows
2. Develop a calendar-based content strategy that put different types of message into separate buckets
3. Create a year-round calendar surrounding each show
4. Align marketing objectives with the events’ social media operations
5. Work with current attendee and exhibitor services to make sure questions asked via social media are answered
Sherpe said the biggest obstacle was making sure everybody on both shows’ teams got involved.
“Finding the time,” Sherpe says was the problem. “That’s going to be anyone’s No. 1 obstacle. We’re all stretched for time. Community management shouldn’t just be an extension of your marketing team.”
1. Facebook likes during the time allotted for the campaign grew 70 percent, from 13,000 to 22,000. In the six months before Expo East, that particular event got more than 5,000 additional likes.
2. More than 800 registered attendees for the event said they had heard about it via social media.
First, Sherpe says, organize your social media team via a team approach, allowing you to draw on employee expertise to best engage your audience.
“Every organizer is looking at how to keep people engaged 365 days a year,” he adds, “but it’s not realistic to think everybody can hire a community manager. You need to look around and see who can do it.”
Second, Sherpe says, “Have fun. Most of our attendees and exhibitors feel like family and friends and, at its core, that’s what the Facebook experience is all about.”