How to Use Live Events to Build Your Digital Brand

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Event professionals understand the value of live, face-to-face interaction for building brand credibility and engagement. Digital marketing is more about increasing brand reach and online visibility.

But in her presentation at the recent Digital Branding Summit 2020, Megan Powers described how live events can be used to build your digital brand.

The Digital Branding Summit featured more than 50 top marketing professionals sharing their latest insights in presentations and panel discussions.

Megan began her presence by talking about the importance of setting tactical and strategic objectives for every event, whether it's an event your company is hosting or an conference or trade show you are attending.

Objectives for corporate events typically include brand engagement, revenue generation, and customer retention. Third-party events help increase brand awareness and generate leads.

But as Megan points out, you should set personal goals for each event you attend as well. Whom do you want to meet with? If you're in marketing, you may want to connect with specific customers, industry journalists, or influencers.

If you're in sales or consulting, events are about much more than fulfilling your booth shift duty. They're an opportunity to set up live meetings with key customers, prospects, and partners.

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Among other key points Megan made during her session:

  • People buy from people they trust—and live events are uniquely valuable for helping to build trust.
  • Direct spending on events has grown significantly in the past decade, primarily due to an increase in the overall  number of attendees / participants.
  • Events create a range of benefits beyond direct value to brands.

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  • Digital marketing and live events pros should work within the same department—or at least collaborate closely as a team.
  • Corporate events should generate revenue for your company. If you don't have this expertise on staff internally, hire a planning professional who can make this happen.
  • The expectations of attendees are evolving. They no longer want to be passive consumers of content; they want to be participants, to share information, and to feel like they are part of shaping the event. One approach is the unconference format, used for example at the Haute Dokimazo secret family reunion for event professionals.

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  • Twitter is the best social media platform to use in conjunction with events, especially on site.
  • Because of the importance of Twitter (and secondarily, platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram), it's essential to create a hashtag strategy early on in the event planning process. Make your hashtag unique, short, and memorable. Megan advises against including the year in your hashtag, though other sources differ.
  • Participants value the opportunity to interact with your keynote and session speakers after they've been on stage. Speakers who stick around and talk with people are remembered! This matters.

You can listen to more of Megan's thoughts on her podcast. The Digital Branding Institute will have periodic "Watch Parties" in its Facebook Group of popular sessions during the summit.

The organization will also host several other summits this year that focus on specific industries. You can stay up to date with more summit information by visiting www.digitalbrandinginstitute.com