Twitter is a free social media tool that is extremely useful to promote yourself when you take part in an event, Open Studios a craft show or trade fair.
Why is Twitter so useful to promote your event?
It’s an easy, quick, non-invasive way to stay in touch with people you already know and who follow you.
It’s fast moving, people are actively looking for news and info, for things to do …. this weekend.
And adding images, hashtags and links will increase your followers and retweets, and ultimately sales to your stand and online shop too!
For many trade buyers and ‘the media’ this is one of their favourite social media tools, so great for targeted networking, credibility and profile building too.
So, how to use Twitter ‘properly’ to promote your next event?
I very often recommend to creative professionals to use Twitter to promote their event, craft fair, design trade show or Open Studios event. But to be honest … very often I don’t see them using Twitter in the best possible way.
Here are my own 8 tips based on my own experience of using Twitter to promote The Design Trust (we now get 50K visitors to our site/month and have nearly 50,000 followers on Twitter!), and the work I have done over the last 20 years with various event organisers such as Made London, New Designers, Top Drawer, Home London, Craft London, and many more.
1. Network with other creatives & the organisers BEFORE the event
Are you taking part in a high-profile trade shows like Design Junction, Top Drawer, Craft London or 100% Design, or a craft event like Made London, GNCCF or Handmade in Britain?
These shows are great to build your profile, make new connections and get sales and commissions.
But especially if you are a new designer or maker they can be overwhelming too. You might be showing together with some of your role models and heroes too!
Twitter can be a great tool to start introducing yourself and network before the show starts, so that you and your (new) work gets better known before the show.
Start with following the organiser and other exhibitors on Twitter. You can often find out who else exhibits by checking the organiser’s time line or event’s hashtag regularly or to check the online exhibitor directory and find their twitter handles manually.
Make friends before you even arrive at the show!
Retweet or comment on the organiser’s and other exhibitor’s tweets regularly (Don’t stalk them! Less than one retweet per day. Be genuine in your comments and select those tweets and images that you truly find most interesting).
Always use the correct event’s hashtag (#) when you are tweeting.
Share your enthusiasm to participate in this show by tweeting images and info about the event, include work in progress, sneak peeks of your display or new collection, and even getting your van or promotional material ready! You might be surprised how popular these ‘behind-the-scenes’ pictures are!
To ensure that the organisers receive your tweets always include the organiser’s twitter handle (@) in your tweet or tag them in any pictures you attach (You can do this easily if you are logged in to your twitter account on twitter.com).
Help your fair organisers with their social media promotion by retweeting some of their messages, and tweet them at least 5 good images of work in progress and info a week in the month before the event opens. A selection of your tweets will often be retweeted by the organisers whose twitter reach is often far greater than yours (and with great quality followers), so its a great way to get exposure, new high quality followers and interest.
Fair organisers (and their appointed PR agencies!) love it when you support them in their marketing effort and make their lives easier. From my own experience I know that if you are helpful to them then they are much more likely to refer any press or buyer attention to your business too when they have the chance.
And of course your current followers will get your tweets anyway too so you keep them informed, share what you are up to and increase your profile and credibility.
2. Show off your beautiful work
As a designer, maker or creative business you have a huge advantage … you create fabulous products! (I hope!)
And other people (non-creative and creative alike) looooove to share them with their followers!
ALL social media research proofs very clearly that if you use attractive images that your followers are much more likely to notice, read and share your tweets. Adding images to your tweets can increase participation by nearly 400%!
So add pictures!
Pictures of …
… your creative craft and design products
… the detail of their shapes, the stunning colour combinations or detailed stitchwork
… your ceramics just out of the kiln (the latter a personal favourite of mine!)
… your studio and work environment (in Central London, the Isle of Skye, Berlin, Sydney or Johannesburg)
… your influences
… exhibitions you visit
… books you are reading
… the amazing colours you see on your daily walk.
And yes do include pictures of your stand and display too! It’s a great way to remind people visually and in writing that you are doing the show RIGHT NOW.
I very often retweet good images of stands and displays, and many other people do too. (Again, include the organisers and other exhibitors – see tip 1)
But there is another big advantage …
When I visit a large trade show or craft fair then I often get a bit lost. If you tweeted a great pic with your fabulous stand or display the day before then it is much more likely that I remember you, because I got that image still in my head. And the same will be valid for your other followers, who then are much more likely to come and talk to you!
3. Build momentum: Do a launch
Especially with an event you need to create a marketing buzz. Promoting your event properly with Twitter and other social media tools will make the most of all the hard work you have been putting in to getting ready for this trade show or fair.
Ten years ago it used to be ok to just turn up to a craft or trade show and the visitors would come. But these days you need to work a little harder (and with the organisers!) to get visitors to your event.
Events also create a great opportunity to launch a new product collection.
Create a social media launch strategy that slowly reveals more and more about your new collection, creating more and more buzz when you get closer to the show, leading up to ‘The BIG Launch’ at your event:
- Vary the content of your tweets throughout the launch: Before the show you can share your excitement about the upcoming show, how you are getting ready and share sneak peek pictures. During the show share images of your stand and display, quotes from visitors, share your best sellers, and your favourites from other exhibitors. After the show say ‘thank you’ to your visitors and clients, and continue to share your product images and links (see tip 7) to encourage visitors who didn’t buy yet to visit your online shop or website.
- Use a variety of social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest especially) to get noticed and to drive targeted traffic to your online shop or website.
- Follow up with regular blog posts about the event (which you can tweet about again!).
- Ensure that visitors to your website sign up to get regular info from you. Communicate with them regularly throughout the year, not just when it suits you!
- Build more momentum by sending out several (short & visual does it!) emails or newsletters to your subscribers and potential clients: from colourful sneak peeks to telling the full background story to why you have created this collection, to a beautiful and practical e-invite to the show, to sharing your bestsellers at the show.
4. Are you following the right people?
Do you feel that you are mostly talking to your friends and family on Twitter? Then it’s time to start following and engaging with more professional contacts too!
Make a list of at least 50 shops, galleries, design and craft magazines, journalists, bloggers, stylists, influencers, business support organisations, trade shows, craft fairs, arts organisations, museums etc that you like and find interesting. Start following them on Twitter and your time line will start to get filled with loads more interesting info to share, comment on and engage with!
Want to get noticed? Want to get more press? Are you following enough journalists on Twitter? Twitter (and increasingly Instagram) are THE favourite social media tools for many design, craft and interior journalists and often an excellent way to start networking with them.
The Design Trust recently compiled a list of 99 design & craft journalist, bloggers and media to follow on Twitter, that you can find here. Spend one hour today to start following those people, organisations and businesses that really matter to you to improve your Twitter time line!
But one warning: when you start following professionals like ‘the media’ or trade buyers, don’t make the mistake of just talking about yourself and sell yourself too much …
Twitter is a social media tool so ‘give first, and take later’!
Engage, comment and retweet first, before expecting anything back.
The same rules of engagement play a role with networking online as in real life: Don’t be either the arrogant, noisy, extrovert showing off his wares and flaunting his business cards at a networking event, and neither be the shy, wall flower, not engaging at all.
Social media works only if you take time to invest to build a relationship with your audience.
5. A really simple tip: Do a count down
Instead of just including the date of your event on your tweet (You always do include the date, don’t you?) do a countdown too:
Some examples of a count down:
3 weeks to go till craft show Make London
Will you come to the opening night of 100% Design next Wednesday?
This Sunday giftware tradeshow Top Drawer will open. We will be there! Will you come too?
Why do a countdown instead of just a date?
It’s simple … most of us (including very busy professionals) forget what today’s date is!
And especially when there are loads of shows going on at the same time (such as during the London Design Festival or in the run up to Christmas) your (professional) audience might need to be reminded.
6. Always include your event’s location & your stand number
So, including the dates is useful (or do a countdown!) but also include the town/city, venue and possibly your stand number if it is a big event.
Certain cities and venues can add credibility.
Make it as easy as possible for your followers to retweet and find you. If you include the city and date then many more ‘locals’ will also retweet your message, or come and visit you.
7. Increase traffic & sales: include a page link
Using Twitter to promote your event is a great way to raise your profile and credibility. With your existing followers, but also to gain new (professional) followers.
But using Twitter can also help you to get more traffic to your website (and potentially sales!). So even people who are not able to come to your event will be reminded of your work, visit your website or online shop, and their online visits can be turned into sales!
All you need to do is: include a clickable link in your tweet to a specific (product) page.
Don’t just include a link to your home page and expect your audience to find their way through your online shop or website. Your (mobile) audience is inpatient and wants to find information quickly!
If you are talking about a specific product then include a link to that specific product page. This is a great way to promote specific products or collections. Try out different approaches and angles to share different benefits of that specific product to see which one is the most popular (You can use Twitter’s own tool to check how many of your followers clicked on a link, or use Buffer – see tip 8)
If you want to give detailed instructions to when and where the event is you can link to the organisers’ page or create your own event page on your website or blog, with directions and a map, or with information about what you will be showing at the event.
To include a clickable link you need to copy and paste the specific individual URL for that page into your tweet. You can find this URL at the top of each of your web pages. For example: http://www.mywebsite.co.uk/my-beautiful-bue-pot.
You can use www.bitly.com to create shorter links (to fit within the 140 character limit of Twitter!).
8. Stop the overwhelm … Use automated tools
Especially when you are doing an event you have 101 things to think about! Doing trade shows or craft fairs can be very stressful indeed.
I can hear you think ….
How am I going to do all this tweeting, on top of getting ready for the event?
The answer is simple:
The Design Trust has been using Buffer for the last two years to send out most of our tweets. It’s very easy to use, and I can programme in when I want specific tweets to go out (even when I am asleep or on holiday … or indeed at an event!). I can see which tweets are the most popular (divided by clicks on links, total audience reach, retweets or favourites), and it is very easy to retweet these popular tweets again and again.
I would recommend that you would tweet around 5 times/day in the run up to your event, and then between 8 – 10 times during the event, and then again 5 times/day after your event.
Ensure that you check which type of tweets are most popular, and repeat these popular tweets several times as your followers might not have seen them the first (or 15th) time. Play with different angles, images and formats. Another great benefit of using automation softwares like Buffer and Hootsuite is that you can do practical market research and find out what works. Make the most of it!
The Design Trust if proud to be a partner of leading contemporary craft fair Made London.
Want to learn how to use social media to increase your Xmas sales?
- Time management and planning in the runup to Christmas
- How to sell more at events
- How to get your online shop ready for Christmas
- How to drive more traffic to your site and turn those visitors into buyers