A founder of a startup company came to me with a compelling question: “How can we use social media to get more attention for our startup before, during and after a special event?” The specific event he was referring to is a popular pitch competition that he is attending with his team. In fact, it is so sought after, only 15 groups can attend this event from all over the world. Preparing a social media strategy is not only a great way to introduce other companies to your followers, but to gain recognition for both you and your brand. Here's what to do before, during, and after your pitch opportunity.
What to do before your pitch competition
- Do research on the companies that are going to be attending the event. In this specific case, the Founder and his team will study the other 14 companies presenting at the pitch competition FoodBytes, follow them on social media, and begin their outreach plan.
- Come up with an eye-catching message that will make yourself stand out. You can enhance this message by including a graphic (you can easily do this through Canva). When you begin the outreach process, tag the CEO/Founder of the company and FoodBytes (or the host of other events). Here is a sample message:
“We're looking forward to meeting you at #FoodBytes and learning more about you and <use company social media handle> there!”
- Continue to make new connections by following or connecting with CEOs or Founders of the other companies. A great platform for doing this is LinkedIn. Ensure that your LinkedIn profile says a little about you and what you do, and then before try to connect with others.
- Create team pictures with branded designs and add them to your Instagram Page.
- When you begin to use your social media platforms to highlight the other people at a pitch competition, a question that founders and their teams will ask you is, “Why are you doing this for us?” Your answer should be as simple as, “Why would I not do this for you?” Consider this equation:
Social media (free) + Research (a little time) + Publicizing other people = GOOD BUSINESS
What to do during your pitch competition
- Walk into the event with confidence because people are going to know who you are. You have done your research and proactively contacted those who are pitching at the event. Think of your engagement as though old friends are catching up, not introducing themselves for the first time.
- Using Twitter, engage in real-time with other pitches and the event itself. Remember, it's your job to help THEM look good.
- Ensure you take lots of photos with the other founders and their teams to share on social media platforms. Prove that you are who you say you are and celebrate each other’s successes.
- Utilize event hashtags (and company hashtags if you have one) in your posts. It's likely the use of these hashtags will have an high amount of activity during the conference, but not so much following the event. Capitalize on where people are paying attention.
What to do for follow up after your pitch competition
- Post, post, post! Use platforms such as LinkedIn and Instagram to showcase what you did at the event. Share the photos you took with other Founders and their teams and tag them to increase engagement. Again, help highlight them and what they do.
- Follow-up with the people you met using video messages. Soapbox from Wistia is a great resource for creating video messages. This is a much, much more personal way to share your message and help people recall who you are. Remember, they are going to meeting a lot of new people; you want to be the one who stands out! Don't relegate yourself to simply using email. Use personalized videos through Soapbox to solidify who you are in your prospects' minds.
How do you use social media strategies before, during and after an event? Did I miss anything? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!