Over the weekend of October 17th-19th, I had the pleasure of attending Walker Stalker Con Atlanta, one of the largest gatherings of fans of the television show The Walking Dead. While I’ve been to several Walker Stalker events in the past, this was the first time I attended as a vendor.
You might be wondering, “Why would you promote digital marketing consulting services at a fan convention?”
Well, although it may seem a strange choice, there are several reasons why I chose this event as the location to tell people about my mad digital marketing skills:
- Networking: I want to work with artists, writers, photographers, and other unique small companies. Many of these creative entrepreneurs sell products or promote businesses at fan conventions. (I now have two new clients and a strong list of leads to follow-up on for future business.)
- Cost: The cost of the vendor table fit my budget: $320 per table + $100 for electricity = WIN! Other fan conventions charge up to $1500 for a vendor table. This was a bargain. (I plan to be a vendor at two Walker Stalker events in 2015. I hope its organizers keep the pricing affordable so small ventures like mine can continue to participate.)
- Uniqueness: My business model was different from any other vendor at the event. (Many people approached my table out of curiosity and walked away with my business card.)
- Audience: I had a feeling there would be a gianormous audience for this event. The list of celebrities attending included a “who’s who” of The Walking Dead cast and crew members. It was also held in Atlanta, Georgia not far from where the show is filmed. (I was right. The event was attended by a record 35,000 fans.)
As a side note, I’m a HUGE fan of the television show so it was a good excuse to mix business with pleasure, hang out with fellow fans, and reconnect with friends I made at past events.
If you’re a creative entrepreneur who markets your business at fan conventions here are a few ideas to help you make the most of your next live event.
Related: Checklist – 8 Ways to Manage Social Media During an Event
Before: “I Love It When A Plan Comes Together”
A little preparation goes a long way. Plan out how you will be sharing the even with followers through social media and/or blog posts. You can post pictures and stories after the event, but you’ll always get a bigger response when you provide live updates.
Be sure to follow the event organizer on social media. Retweet, repost, and respond to messages being sent out to promote the fan convention.
Identify the hashtag used for the event so you can add it to tweets, Instagram pictures, and Facebook updates. By using this hashtag you’ll get the attention of people who are going to attend.
Fan cons are great opportunities to connect with like minds. Review the event website to find out what other vendors and artists will be attending then identify at least 1-2 businesses/individuals you want to connect with at the convention.
Take a look at the schedule of events and know what celebrity guests are attending the fan convention. Although you’ll be busy manning your booth or table, if you’re able to take a break, capture video of a panel or question and answer session to share with your followers. You could also purchase a photo op with one of the celebrities. These types of posts are sure to get the attention of people following the event on social media.
At least one week before you hit the road let followers you’re going to be at the fan convention. Add the event to your website, send an email invitation to subscribers, and post it on social media. The day before and during the convention be sure to share your floor location and booth number and personally invite con attendees to stop by to say, “Hi,”.
During: “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody”
While at the fan con share experiences that highlight your personality. Make it fun for your followers that aren’t able to attend. You want them to feel as if they have a friend who is bringing the event to them.
Share pictures of the attendees who stop by your booth and con goers dressed up as your favorite fictional characters. Instagram photos, capture Vine videos, and live tweet every day of the convention. Remember to use the hashtag for the event on everything you post.
Search the event hashtag to identify popular influencers and what types of event posts are attracting the attention of its audience. Retweet, repost, comment, share, and reply. By connecting to others who are posting about the fan con live on social media, not only will you draw more people to your booth, you’ll gain new followers.
Be generous. Tweet shout outs to other vendors and artists or post pictures of them on Instagram and Facebook. It’s really a win-win. You’ll to help them by sharing their information with convention attendees and you’ll connect with their followers.
After: “Thanks for Your Participation”
When you get back from the event write up a blog post summarizing the comic con. Tell your followers who you met and recap the event for them. Invite attendees to share their experiences by commenting on your blog and or swapping stories on social media.
Make sure to contact the vendors and artists you met at the fan convention after the event is over. Follow them on Twitter, join their Instagram communities, and “like” their Facebook Pages. Send out a tweet, post a comment, or tag them in a picture to let them know you’re glad to have met them and want to stay connected.
If you want to see excellent examples of audience interaction during a live event, learn from the best in the business.
What social media strategies have you used to make the most of live events?