Creating Intellectual Property (IP) in a business is incredibly important. Your IP helps to both stand out in your market, and result in making money. But making money is generally an outcome of first building community and trust.
So how do you go from having an idea – creating the IP – to selling that idea and bringing money in?
What’s more, if your market is flooded with similar solutions and there’s lots of messaging about your topic, where do you start?
Start with building your community. A community can exist in different ways: online or offline, geographical, industry-based, have broad demographics or a refined private or niche identity.
Initially building a community from clients, networking and industry connections, contractors and suppliers, friends, referrers and collaborators makes sense. It’s also easier as these connections will already know your capabilities and trust you.
What they all have in common, is that they collectively make up your community already. You don’t need to seek them out – but you do need to formalise how you communicate with them. That might be digital communications like email, or as simple as posting regularly on social media.
Importantly if something happens to a part of your existing community, and engagement or support seems low, it’s likely you’ll maintain the others and they’ll pick up engagement according to your activity.
A communication strategy is key for you to sell in the future. It’s also an excellent way to mass-communicate information, education, support, offers and awareness. Adding names to a “list” is a portion of the marketing mix that is generally put in the too hard basket, and therefore becomes an untapped resource to many businesses.
Here’s five small projects to launch to help build your community further. They all offer a way to formalise and grow the “list” of contacts, let you create mini strategies to practice communication, and build on (and expand) your supporter-base outside of those you know.
Each one of these ideas can introduce simple technology to capture information from your community if you haven’t done so before. This can turn any of these projects into a new community group to connect with as a smaller group, or move them to your wider, broader community.
If you used all five of these projects, you’ll have impactful outcomes and cater to a variety of interests.
Creating freebies are perhaps the easiest of the lot! Sending your freebie out via a sign-up scenario means you capture an email address as a minimum.
Popular freebies include E-Books, webinars, podcasts, tools like calculators, discounts, printables or mini versions of a service/product like an audit or consult.
Save your work in easily accessible formats e.g. PDF files, downloadable Zip folders or links to hidden pages. Creating hidden pages on your website, giving access to a reader after they submit contact information allows you to communicate with them in the future. It’s also preferable to users wanting to download your freebie.
If your item is designed for at-home printing, consider what countries the user may live in. For example the USA still uses Letter page sizing. You may want to provide freebies in multiple sizes for this purpose.
Pop up Facebooks are a great idea to contain a small group to WOW new people to your community, service them with some education or access to freebies and a supportive community. It also allows you to entertain them, provide great service from you or your team.
It also provides a closed area for you to market directly to them.
The key to success with Facebook groups is brand-relevant visually appealing and professionally structured content. Your time and effort needs to go into the group before it’s populated, allowing you to turn up Live instead of the stress of daily content creation. This is never fun!
Don’t delete your Pop Up group once the original purpose has run its course. Reuse the group repetitively, as you’ll find those who valued it the first time (plus those who may not have given their full attention, or needed better timing), won’t leave of their own accord. That allows you to add to your group quarterly or half-yearly with a membership number that impresses the viewer.
Short-term challenges can be great fun and you can pick up new fans or followers with savvy social campaigns when you run them.
In terms of building community online, challenges or short term activities draw fast interest and allow new fans to learn new and interesting details about you/business.
Just like any other campaign you run, lead-in time is everything! Promote it for a few weeks organically before day 1 to maximise numbers. Your email communication should be short, sharp and clear across the time of the challenge with your own example included each day.
Having people sign up to your challenge means you can communicate with them each day of the challenge and really expand details about what everyone needs to do. It also lets you add key information that participants need to know – as well as giving you cross-promotional opportunities.
Think hashtags for engagement, cross-platform participation with Instagram posts and Stories/Reels, and entertainment all the way.
Remind participants with scheduled email campaigns. Create these elements in advance so participants are reminded daily. This is really important as they may have signed up to your challenge some time back so will need reminders before it starts.
Selecting daily winners from participants is a great draw card, as is a collaborative challenge.
You can also run a short-term challenge in a Facebook group – or create a Pop Up Facebook group for this purpose.
We run small but low-priced workshops regularly. The feedback we receive from clients is that they enjoy and appreciate an intimate gathering of like-minded people.
It allows for a personalised approach, but also allows you to maintain a low budget in areas including venue, catering and print/marketing collateral requirements.
To secure the number of guests you need, follow an event plan rolling out over a 10-12 week period.
This is an ideal time frame to rollow out and publish a variety of events marketing information. Start immediately after you launch ticket sales and continue through to the date of the event.
This allows you to run one per quarter as part of a regular onboarding process. And don’t forget, this event could be a digital event with video conferencing or Live video in a private group setting.
If your event charges premium options only, then a bespoke private event is more likely to hit your target.
Along with allowing a higher price point, bespoke events generally offer an impressive location, experiential features, and membership options as part of the bonus package and are a big hit with women in particular.
Think retreats – spiritual or corporate in nature – providing elements that may be perceived as difficult to organise in a day to day circumstance, or that may be considered luxurious.
Include ticketing add-ons and offer varied pricing structures. Snagging guests early means you could sell out quicker with “early bird” options. And providing higher price tags for a distinct purpose are attractive and could include things like a VIP gift bag, meet the speakers or special access to additional experiences on the day.
The activity of community building can be a quick flash in the pan experience, that doesn’t take long for the audience to decide that you’re worth hanging around. But as part of a strong content marketing strategy it’s inevitably a long game and requires patience.
However, delivering on engaging activities that show reward or results to your community members are marketing activities a company can undertake for longevity. Yes it takes a long time to build a huge list. But once you’re in the hang of it and you include it in your activities, and regularly include your database, you’ll see the results.
It’s important to note these ideas are based on social media or events activities. These are areas of specialty at Social Ocean, and we get excited about helping clients create unique events, allowing them to start or continue building community. Check out our event services for more details about that.
Combine online activities with face-to-face events for a highly successful mix, that will assist in building your list and create raving fans!
Armed with over 20 years’ experience in the event management business, Kirsty Fields has co-ordinated everything from kids’ events to national sports games. After a successful career in sports, she embraced modern marketing and promotional techniques.
Her passion for training clients in social media, digital marketing and branding has been combined to present her multi-award winning business Social Ocean a bespoke events marketing agency.
Kirsty’s experience in event management and coordination, and the small business space, backed by her passion for marketing, makes her an ideal source for all things related to events, small business, marketing, social media and branding.
You can find a list of podcasts Kirsty has been featured on, on our About page.
This article was originally posted to the Words of Bek blog as a Guest Blog in 2019 by Kirsty Fields. Words of Bek is the namesake website by Writer/Author Becky Paroz for her book by the same name. The article has since been updated for currency to this publication.
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This cocktail recipe is for a delightful drink we recommend to make in bulk and in advance for a big gathering.
It’s the recipe for the most popular cocktail from Ebony’s 21st celebrations. And has also made an appearance as a quick and simple refreshing drop at the end of a long day.
It reminds us of our travels through the Middle East, where you get minty cool refreshing drinks just about everywhere.
What you need aka the Recipe:
To serve, we used a large drink canister with a built in tap which holds up to 10 Litres. If your container is smaller, reduce the liquid amounts in the recipe, at least by half.
Prepare the fruit infusion on the morning of your party. Typically you’d be using this cocktail for an evening event, but to maximise the flavour of the strawberries and mint, infuse them into the alcohol in the morning or as early as you can on the day of your party.
It only takes a couple of minutes to do, but you’ll be glad you did it.
Early morning infusion:
Step 1: Remove the top leaves of the strawberries and roughly cut them into chunks. There’s no limit to how many strawberries you can add.
Strawberry tip: We used 2 large punnets. If you plan to serve your cocktail with a ladle you could add more strawberries. Drink canisters with taps on them don’t allow for the fruit to pour through. Adding fruit into the glasses for guests, before they add the cocktail is a great idea to get extra fruity goodness in each drink.
Step 2: Tear the fresh mint by hand. It’s really important you don’t chop the mint with a knife. By using your hands, you’ll bruise the mint leaves more allowing the flavours and oils to infuse easily (and more of them). Don’t discard the stalks, include all parts of the bunch of herbs in your drinking canister.
Step 3: Add the sugar.
Step 4: Add the entire bottle of gin.
Step 5: Get a wooden spoon and stir. Stir all the ingredients until the sugar has dissolved.
Stirring tip: If you are unsure if the sugar has dissolved, you should no longer hear the sugar granules against the glass at the bottom when stirring.
Step 6: Leave to sit in a safe place until the party starts. Put a cloth or lid on your vessel to keep flies and bugs out of it.
Strawberry and mint infusing in the gin
Our mix infused for at least six hours before the party started. During the remaining time, we’d be setting up the party space and other cocktail. We’d also by buying ice to add in to the drink canister to cool it down for serving.
The ice doesn’t need to be added into the cocktail if serving during cold weather if your soda water and diet lemonade has been refrigerated.
If individual glasses will be served with fruit by ladle, adding ice to your mix of the glass makes your drink look great! We roughly added a quarter of a bag of ice – standard petrol station sized bag – when adding in the lemonade and soda water as ours hadn’t been refrigerated.
Our party was in July – the middle of Winter in Queensland – so the ice was needed to cool the soft drink added on the night. Due to lots of catering fridge space was at a premium, so we hadn’t refrigerated it. During Summer the ice will cool the liquid just as successfully, but the drink is not as nice or refreshing at room temperature.
Just as the party is due to start, add your 2 litres of soda water. We used the cheapest home brand option from the grocery store. Our original recipe has been altered through practice. It was changed to include the lemonade instead of soda water only, as we reduced the amount of sugar added for infusing.
We realised that the sweetness of the lemonade is necessary for a perfect balance. If you intend on using soda water only, because you think you should reduce the percentage of sugar used, you’ll find that you’re cocktail is a little flat. We’ve tested this out! You will need to add a full cup of white sugar to the strawberry mint and gin for infusing (at least) to get the balance of sweetness perfect.
All you really need is pretty glassware to serve your drink in, and a friend to “Cheers!” with. Enjoy!
Business Awards Season is such an exciting time in your life, journey and path to career success. Being nominated for an award confirms and builds your confidence of what you get out of bed to do each day. It’s exciting!
The benefits of participating in awards season is constant. You have the ability to leverage awards for years to come!
I’ve won significant awards throughout my career and made it to Finalist shortlists in others. I still reference these milestones – or leverage them – as they provide excellent social proof of your skill set and business capabilities.
The truth is people don’t get nominated for awards, become a Finalist or Win awards without first doing the work. Although it seems many people reap the benefits – they didn’t submit a piece of paper and get a piece of crystal for nothing.
If you’re one of the people who’s name appears on a shortlist right now – congratulations! Congratulations on submitting an application or for your nomination (or both). You deserve it. You should be proud. But most of all, you should be letting the world know about it.
For those of you who are savvy enough to have had help with writing your applications, I also applaud you for making that investment. You are likely to understand what a wonderful marketing/PR opportunity a Business Award can be for your career and the business.
Once your name gets printed on the ballot paper, so to speak, there’s a list of other actions you should do to support the nomination. After all, the judges are not likely to have heard of you before reviewing your submission. Depending on the Award system, there will be further steps the judges will take.
They’ll like do their research. Complete their due diligence. Look for project evidence or social proof. Particularly for Awards presented by Industry Bodies, Professional Associations or a National level. These trophies aren’t given out like lollies! A submission is not always going to be the only contributing factor in the decision process.
Business Awards with public voting, have a certain level of randomness. Not only is it important you nominate for the right category, but you’ll need to communicate to your community your participation to help get people to cast votes for you.
A lot of people won’t do any – or very little – research before voting for the popular categories. Yet you can put effort into checking off my tips below to turn random selection into educated votes. If you’re participating in one of the popular vote Awards programs like Ausmumprenuer you can help yourself get those Votes in!
Plus, you want to make sure judges are seeing how wonderful you are as they decide who gets their vote. This is on top of those random community casting votes with the categories they don’t have anyone they know listed.
Show us and share with us the proof your application isn’t a fluke – turn up online!
Below are 8 top tips of just some of the many I follow/do myself. Make sure your digital footprint has your best foot forward:
When was the last time you updated your About page or Media section on your website? Keeping these pages up to date with the very latest details is important. With your website potentially being the hub for judges to confirm what they’ve read about you, it’s important.
Be sure to reference projects you may have featured in award nominations. Having a client area, gallery or blog to promote this information, is great way to show this off. By adding this type of detail you can show off #allthethings you do that impress others.
Speaking with a judge from the International Stevie Awards, I was reminded that nomination can have as little as 3-5 minutes judging time. What this means is, if you don’t include further evidence of why you should be a successful nominee that’s all the time you’ll be given. Including an evidence document listing the points where further information can be reviewed is key. And your website is the obvious place for that to be stored.
Highlight your capacity for good and problem solving with your service/product information on your website. With new interest in you and your business, this is a great time to expand the details of your business. Remember new visitors or Followers aren’t aware of your history or how you help others. Share this information as though you’re talking to a brand new audience – because this is what is happening for you.
Have you written any blogs from your own experience or expertise? Do you have some half-written articles, sitting unpublished or as a draft?
A blog is an excellent way to support or highlight your activities. It also serves to educate your community if you’re writing simple helpful information. Which is a great service alone. Engage a copywriter if you need help to polish it off.
Hint: we have an excellent copywriter who can assist you! Get in Touch with us about that.
Give your personal profiles a thorough Audit. Including the social media profiles you keep private.
Review memes and funny questionnaires on your social media feed. Look through who’s tagged you on shared posts, as well as checking privacy settings of mobile uploads and photo albums. You can delete any of these items or consider opening business related posts from private to “Public”.
Social media profiles with cover photos are a good spot to use business branding without being sales oriented. And it doesn’t annoying your private connections with too much work chatter. Use an image that aligns with your branding,business name, services or products.
Choose a fabulous smiling profile photo of YOU on your personal profile is important. Even if you aren’t a fan of showing your face on private social media profiles. During the awards season – if not always, is easy enough. I recommend a great smiling photo all the time! But if you are only going to use an image of your face during this period of time, make it a great one.
People feel connected to you, and can you by looking at your profile photos. When judges are looking for evidence of your work, they can look in all sorts of places. Put your best foot forward by looking good all over the place!
Write engaging content that has branded imagery is going to show your business off well too. Forget mass-produced memes and quotes. Create them yourself, or get help from a graphic designer!
Use your work, services or products as the base to create your own social media artwork. You can do this easily by adding branded font to your photos. Or take your own quotes, catch-phrases or business language and make your own #quoteoftheday.
Hint: we have an excellent designer who can assist you! Check our design services here.
Think about what samples you mentioned in the nomination process. Talk about these and others that are similar throughout the period of judging in your content strategy. Discussing those examples that are relative to the categories you’re nominated for is clever. The trick is not to mention the awards connection at the same time in these posts. Put them into your posting schedule as though you were due to talk about them.
The fact you’re up for an award is great and you should be talking about it. But specific posts talking about award nominations is another type of post (see next tip). Leaving out mentions of your award participation can be as clever as including it.
Talk about those Awards! Use promotional material from the Awards like the logo, event listings and use them yourself. Add photos to share how blessed and excited you are! Also mention the work you’ve been doing to get to this point of success. When you share your wins, or how it feels to take part, or how humbled you are to share the stage, people get engaged in your journey. Especially if/when you make it to the shortlist or Finalist list.
Give us #allthefeels about you in this Awards program.
As you draw closer to the business awards announcement day, put in place a new social media campaign. This should be all about promoting your inclusion in the awards line-up. If you aren’t feeling confident in how to create a specialised campaign, book in for a social media workshop with our team to help you.
Good luck to all our friends, clients and connections who are currently nominated. I’ll vote for you where possible – and look forward to seeing how you go for the rest of the year.
Social Media is a foundation of business marketing. We use it to communicate, promote, engage and build relationships with our customers.
Its trick is that it’s all in the name – social media – it’s meant to be social: fun, entertaining, engaging and interactive. So how can you be these things with a business? It will look different in
your business to another regardless of your niche or industry.
The good news is that finding the balance to be social, whilst using it with a holistic approach to marketing doesn’t have to be confronting, confusing or pushed to the ‘too hard’ basket.
Use my top tips below to find the sweet spot of your branding with a social tone that your audience will be attracted to, whilst driving traffic to your website.
Clients always tell me they don’t want to show their face. Practice your smile in the mirror and just do it! Those who love your brand want to engage with you, so let them. If you have staff, share that spotlight around and include them in your stories and photos.
Look at what’s ahead each quarter as you’re likely to be inputting dates in this timeframe. Make note of events, promotions or activities that are on. Identify which ones you can leverage and set deadlines to write blog content to stand out from the crowd. Repurpose your blog on all platforms.
If you don’t host events or promotional campaigns, you can use industry calendars or social media dates the same way as using your own business calendar.
Set aside a couple of hours each month to write and schedule content or add to a spreadsheet for reference. Being persistent with social media is a game-changer! Layer batched content with photos and videos to add the fun in. I often see businesses focusing too much energy and budget on it instead of working it into their communication processes and overall strategy.
Kirsty Fields is Creative Director and Owner at Social Ocean, a marketing agency specialising in social media training for business owners and corporate events.
Harnessing social media for business from the very beginning, her passion is training clients in social media, event marketing and branding and seeking out unique event opportunities to promote her clients’ businesses to their communities.
Multi-award winning event manager, Kirsty writes blog articles to motivate and encourage business owners to use social media and improve and leverage promotional opportunities at events. In July, she was named as one of eight Female Thought Leaders by YMag.
Social Ocean was recently named one of 100 Federal Government Small Business Digital Champions project participants.
Original article published in Issue 12 of Peninsula Life, September-October 2019. Peninsula Life magazine is a dedicated publication for the Redcliffe Peninsula, Queensland.
Kirsty Fields has over 20 years experience in the event management business. She has coordinated everything from kids’ events to national sports games. As an eager student of modern digital and promotional techniques, she has expanded her business into new areas of marketing expertise to offer her clients. She offers many types of workshops to help train companies in social media, digital marketing and branding, and can provide training to accommodate anyone.
YMag caught up with her to interview her for their issue featuring their Female Thought Leaders of 2019.
Below is the full unpublished interview with Kirsty Fields.
YMag – When did you start your business?
KF – My business evolved after a friend contacted me to ask if I could assist the professional teaching association she volunteered for, with their state-wide conference management. That was in February 2017. I was in shock after losing my job as a marketing manager at a private college which came from government changes in tertiary education fees. It was a pretty messy situation and I was still processing it all. At the same time, my husband was in the middle of negotiations for a job in Texas, USA – so I wasn’t actively job hunting. The thought of taking up a job when we were thinking of leaving the country didn’t sit well with me.
Assisting with conference management required me to have my own ABN and as a result of that process, my business was launched. I knew that there would be the inclusion of social media in my business after years of using it for business purposes, though it was quite unclear what it would look like. That was how Social Ocean started.
YMag – Why did you add events and social media services?
KF – Prior to my marketing management role I was a relations manager at the largest rugby league club in Queensland for eight years. I’d helped initiate, build and manage their digital and social media accounts to communicate with our National followers as well as players and families. Our platforms became integral in communicating with them about events on and off the field, weather, and so much more.
We tried out a variety of digital communication points to serve our fans and stakeholders. As a volunteer-based community however, it was easy for us to identify their potential as a marketing tool.
I was using Facebook from when it first launched, it became second nature to me. I had MySpace and various other accounts in my uni days, but nothing for business. Using Facebook specifically as a business tool was certainly not the intention or initial design.
I feel in love with the ability to ‘meet’ and reach others online with social media. But more than that, it because a way for me to sell tickets to events, invite people to support philanthropic activities and move them emotionally.
One year, I’d sold hundreds of tickets to a national rugby league game that had an extreme weather forecast. We had to scrap the event entirely as we weren’t able to bus the teams in due to flooding. Thanks to social media, we contacted thousands of fans preparing to travel through extreme conditions to watch their teams play. In less than 90 minutes, we’d been able to spread the word at three various levels of the game along with multiple other partnering sites who rallied to get the word out. It’s unfathomable to think just how many people will see your message.
It’s this passion and realisation of it’s power to assist business owners relay their message online, that meant I just had to have social media as a focus in my business.
Social media is also a key tool in Events Marketing. If you’re running an event – regardless of where, when or why – you must have an online presence for that event even if the event has no charge.
The events side of my business itself has been something that’s come naturally to me. I started managing events in the late 1990s and, with through career changes, my events experience also put me in a position to assist my employers along the way.
YMag – It sounds like you’ve been involved with lots of different event experiences, what are some of the most memorable ones?
KF – In 2016 I worked with the Queensland Police Service to launch a public campaign at a local sporting event. On the day we had police puppies, horses and the highway patrol cars all kitted out – combined with State Ministers, the Police Commissioner and various other government officials. It was a memorable occassion.
I enjoy providing clients with a different perspective. One of my client’s seminars are always held at a local pub, so guests can have a steak lunch with jugs of beer, allowing them to network more casually. Another client now has a successful trade component to their quarterly confrences, which has increased their revenue and built ongoing professional partnerships.
EVERY ONE OF MY CLIENT’S SUCCESSES IS MY SUCCESS – Kirsty Fields
YMag – Tell us about your workshops. What kind of programs do you offer?
KF – There’s different formats to my workshops, depending on the audience. I could be in a room full of managers from a franchise or particular industry or speaking at networking groups or conferences.
I run small group workshops a couple of times a year on various topics of social media and event planning. At the moment my most popular workshop topic is Content Creation. It’s where we sit in a quiet space and extract the business information from within you to recognise your original detailed content, ready to present online.
This year Canva, Instagram and LinkedIn are really popular too. Business owners are realising there are special techniques – hacks even, I love that word – they could understand to amplify their efforts in connecting with or attracting others.
YMag – Who are the people you work with in workshops?
KF – Most workshop attendees are sole traders in start-up and initial building phases of business. Having an intimate group scenario improves their comfort level as well as giving them a new opportunity to connect with their next collaborator or referral partner. Their incomes are yet to support outsourcing, but they are aware of the importance of activity online to create awareness and start new business friendships and collaborations.
I run my own events, just how I’d coordinate conferences, seminars or sales events for clients – bespoke in content and design.
YMag – What makes you passionate about what you do? What’s your Y?
KF – There’s something deep-seated in me about showing others that they don’t have to be rich financially to be rich in knowledge.
Further from that though you can have lots of knowledge, but I don’t believe everyone needs to “know it all”. I want to share with others what knowledge will be helpful to them, to make a difference in their businesses to help them succeed instead of overwhelming them with #allthethings. Let’s use what we need – not just what’s hot for a minute.
Every one of my client’s success, is my success.
There’s also something special about looking at the faces of those people who are attending events. They are there to inspire, educate and motivate themselves.
Corporate events can be different than coordinating “fun events” like weddings, engagement parties or 21st birthday parties. There’s almost always a strong educational element with workshops, seminars, trade expos and retreats. Though I attend a lot of events I always learn something new.
With my own events, I set a target for my delegates and guests to have more then one “light bulb moment”. I call it a “light bulb moment” because you see in the faces of these people when it happens – their eyes becomes wider and brighter, and it’s often joined by a smile. It’s a physical identifier to me that we’ve hit the mark – and it’s a priceless moment to me!
Plans for the Future…
My goals for the future are based on what I’ve learnt as a business owner. The first year was tough and I certainly couldn’t have survived without a second income in the house, but it taught me how to build a professional audience of my own, establish a referral network, connect with like-minded peers collaboratively and build a business from $1000. for 2019/2020, I’d like to show others how having a few dollars can create maximum impact and generate what success means to you.
My immediate goals as one of the 100 Small Business Digital Champions businesses from around Australia is to kickstart two online programs. One will support businesses with social media, and the other will support those looking to build their business using events. Social Ocean will be undergoing a digital transformation to support these programs and allow me to reach a national audience.
I don’t think I’m prepared to become an author – working with social media is always changing – so, by the time I published something, it’d be out of date. However, I have template booklets in the works. These are perfect for time-poor business owners who struggle to put time aside at the computer to plan their content.
It feels like a distant dream still, but I’d like the template booklets to lead into a social media planner for marketers, social media managers and business owners. There just isn’t one that combines social media with a great diary – it’s something I find myself searching for every November and December without success. I’d love to hear from other business owners if that’s something they feel would be useful.
An edited version of this interview was published in Issue 09 of YMag (July 2019).
Trade expos can be an excellent marketing activity and resource for connecting with new clients. But often companies get lost in the shuffle of eye-catching stalls and innovative exhibitors. You need to stand out, get the attention of your target market and, most importantly, get those warm leads to come to your stall.
So, what can you do to get noticed and approached by your target audience? Check off these twelve things before the day!
Signage with bang-on messaging is a must. Your name, and what you do must be absolutely clear. If you don’t let your audience know that you are offering what they need, they won’t know to stop by your stall. Clarity is essential.
And your signage must be visible above head height so potential leads can read your banner from a distance. This pulls an individual’s attention out of a fast-moving crowd and focusses them on you. It’s the first step in moving them toward you intentionally.
If your signage isn’t clear to the reader, they’ll walk past. And if it’s not visible, they’ll never even know you were there.
Once you’ve captured attention with good signage and a clear message, you may find you have more people at your stand than the number of staff available to chat during peak periods.
Waiting is boring, and when people have to wait to speak to you, there’s a risk they’ll decide to look at something else and come back later. This is not what you want. Instead, you want to keep the attention of waiting warm leads by placing interesting and informative elements on your tables or around your display. This could include, smaller signage, brochures, business cards, annual documents or magazines, special checklists or tear away forms. These are all usable marketing items which can be read while they wait to speak with you.
There’s nothing better than a moving visual element on a business trade exhibit. If you’re attending an event at a major conference centre and are allocated a booth, you’ll have space for a TV to play video or images on a loo. If you don’t have a large area, a laptop will do the trick as long as you can present it easily. And there are fabulous and fairly inexpensive iPad stands available from expo suppliers, should a tablet be the best option for you.
You can spend big on fancy equipment or put together a smaller, less expensive presentation method, but having a visual element is an excellent way to grab attention.
Consider having your visual element on a three-minute loop. One- or two-minute loops will run out quicker than you can wrap up a conversation. Keep your audience captive!
Venues vary greatly and each venue will have limitations with regard to the space, size and shape of your display. Find these out before the day of the expo. Even if you’ve been a stallholder at the event before, double check that nothing has changed.
Then, be flexible. Think how those limitations might be used to your advantage. If there are no walls around your stand, could you place seating for waiting guests, which would also delineate the area? Could you show a video in that section?
Each venue requires some adjustments and flexibility. Be creative, be innovative and keep asking yourself, ‘what would keep my guests here at my stall?’
If you’re a product-based business, bring boxes of product and display them as though you’re the perfume section at Myer. Be beautiful! Think luxury! Even if your business has a boho-vintage vibe, go boho-luxurious! Putting your best foot forward for product display is key as a trade exhibitor. You don’t actually have to sell your product on the spot. If your presentation is quality, people will be more likely to buy your product later, if not right now. And if they love your product, they’ll be back without you needing to chase them.
Competitions are the easiest ways to secure contact details from expo guests. Make entering the competition easy. Use a large container for business cards – think see-through Perspex boxes, a pretty glass bowl or an engraved ice-bucket. Use sign holders next to the container to list what the prize is and encourage stall visitors to enter.
It’s essential that the prize includes something tangible – a real prize – not just a prize of your time or a discovery session with your company. Think about what other items could be attractive to your target audience. Your book – or one you’ve found beneficial – a sample of your products, a gift voucher for your business or another, tickets to your next workshop or conference or even a professional service every business needs, such as design work or videography.
All of these will encourage warm leads to engage with you, meaning you’ll have more opportunity to engage with them in the future.
You have approximately two minutes to acknowledge someone before their patience runs out and they walk away. Plan and practice polite ways to pause your conversation with one person, so that you can address others visiting your table. Excuse yourself briefly with an easy, ‘Excuse me, I’ll just point these people in the right direction’ or, ‘Pardon me, while I let these people know I’ll be with them soon’.
Short, sharp (but polite) direction or acknowledgement to those waiting is invaluable in having them wait for you a little longer. It also reminds the person you are talking to that they aren’t the only person interested in chatting to you.
You also need to think about the conversations you are having. Some may be more worthwhile than others, and it’s important to determine that fairly quickly. It’s also essential to be able to gauge whether or not a long or complicated conversation should be put on hold for a follow-up phone call or a meeting away from the event. This way you don’t lose the next waiting lead, and can still nurture your new connection at another, more convenient, time.
If you have a lot of services or products in your business, ask a friend to help you out. You might want to offer a service exchange or simply pay them, but having two people on a trade expo stand is a must for major events.
There’s nothing worse than being underprepared, understocked or overwhelmed – all of which are regular problems for small businesses at expos. Remembering you have outlaid funds to exhibit at this event. Don’t waste the effort and resources you put into getting there by not being able to cope with enquiries on the day.
You also have the added bonus of being able to have lunch (you don’t want to be that person eating and talking to a potential lead) and toilet breaks, and even spend time visiting other stands yourself.
Expos are not easy for exhibitors. Standing up for hours on end is a hard task. But the last person you want to be, is the person seated with a phone in your hand, looking down. Keep the energy up. Don’t ignore the traffic flowing past you (and yes, I see these people at every expo). Keep standing, smiling and engaging politely with people who pass by or stop to chat.
Being a trade exhibitor is your opportunity to get yourself in front of new leads, present yourself well and represent your business and brand to hundreds of new clients (if not thousands at a major convention centre event). It’s worth pushing through any uncomfortableness.
Pre-plan your communication strategy with your new contacts from the expo. Don’t start sending an email a day for seven days. This will just annoy your new leads and ensure they unsubscribe and throw out your business card.
A simple, well-crafted and short communication following up is the best approach. You can give the results of your competition (if you’ve had one), or email a link to connect with you on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram, if you prefer. You might also send them a downloadable resource or a link to a video that reminds them of who you are and what you do. In every case, you must ensure that your communication is helpful and adds value and isn’t just spam.
Run a Facebook Live competition. Organise when you’ll do this before you send out your follow-up email (as above) and make sure to let your reader know how they can listen, and enter your competition (use your Facebook link to take them to your page directly).
If you run the comp a day after the email it allows time for it to be read and action to be taken by the reader. It also puts you front of mind as you’re now, quite literally, at the top of their Facebook or LinkedIn notifications.
Use LinkedIn to reach out to every person whose business card you received at the expo. Send a Connection Request and, when doing so, add a personalised note reminding them that you met at the event, and that you’d like to keep in contact. This technique means you’ve layered your emails and Facebook Lives with a professional and direct connection that you can foster further in the future.
How many times you get approached by visitors at a trade expo is completely up to you and the effort you put into your display before the day.
You control your destiny. Your trade expo success relies on you having more than a casual chat. Make genuine connections and provide marketing material or other collateral to those connections. But most importantly, you need to capture contact details from those people in return. This is the beginning of turning warm leads into engaged customers.
Before you invest in your next trade display stand, get an audit on your last results.
Speak to the Social Ocean team about your event outcomes, get creative with your call to actions and set up for success. Book an audit in today.
Getting people to attend corporate events, in what is fast becoming a flooded market of choice, is even harder.
Guests walking through the door has always been the hardest part of event management, but is the most important outcome of event preparation.
Event management takes ages in planning, logistics, marketing and implementing all of the elements you prepare. So why would you make a decision that results in a guest’s first impression of you a crappy one?
The first impression your guest makes of you and your event occurs upon arrival to the venue.
Therefore the most important decision in selecting your event is the selection of your event venue.
You’re probably thinking I’d never choose a crap venue to host an event. It’s likely however, that you have and weren’t aware of it, as it’s rare to think about your guest before they show up at the door (or registration table).
Take the host of an event I went to last year. She’s the inspiration for this article – unfortunately someone had to be – but I also have her permission in writing my story!
The event was a three-hour Masterclass for approximately 30 people and it was a ripper! The host has inspired more than this article in me, because she ran a ripper of a morning seminar.
The venue of choice was a central Brisbane location, in Teneriffe. A well-off trending suburb of Brisbane. It has great coffee shops, beautiful tree-lined avenues and historical locations of interest.
You could, if it suited you, catch a ferry up the river and take the short walk to the hired rooms from the dock.
If you were looking to add some incidental exercise into your working day, you could have gotten off a transit bus about a kilometre and a half away and walked, city-cycled or lime-scootered from the main drag.
Doesn’t it sound idyllic? It sure does. But idyllic isn’t how I’d describe my commute to the Brisbane seminar.
I don’t live in the big city – I live in a city to the North of Brisvegas, and though we finally have the ability to boast our own train line, if you want to use it to get to the trendy suburb of Teneriffe you’d also need an additional mode of transport to cover the distance from the nearest train station in business attire.
As I don’t carry a pair of joggers in my handbag like those clever CBD savvy white collar workers whose commute includes a lengthy walk from “somewhere” every day, that one wasn’t an option I’d consider.
I’m a soft suburbs girl, who uses her GPS to take her door to door from the home office to any other location. I expect any other location to be close to the car door from which I then exit from. If I’m required to walk any kind of distance greater than 100 metres to access an event, I need to be prepared.
When I arrived on the block of the event with well over 15 minutes to spare, I was scoping out the uber-trendy coffee spots along the block and looking forward to picking up a caffeine hit after finding my park.
You may be able to imagine that by the time I’d driven past the venue four times looking for a parking location, that scoping out coffee shops became a distant memory.
I had in fact turned my attention to whether or not I should drive around the six blocks I’d just looped around one more time… or whether I would drive back home.
I might sound a little picky as I’d “only” been 15 minutes early and I “should” have been much earlier – but remember, I’m a soft suburbs girl where you can get a park anywhere outside of a Westfield shopping centre in the blink of an eye.
Add in the red line fever that starts to rise at the potential of being late, to anything. Yep, I’m one of those people. Ten minutes early is perfect timing for a three-hour seminar.
Here’s the problem IMO. This idyllic location doesn’t meet (my) event standards, because it does not provide parking for guests.
I’ll qualify this statement.
Catching a ferry isn’t a regular form of public transport for many.
I’ve literally never, ever in my life considered catching a ferry a form of public transport – not even remembering the time I organised a private sunset ferry trip along Sydney Harbour.
That day on Sydney Harbour required a bus pick up from the ferry terminal for the final stretch of our journey, as part of an atmospheric afternoon for my corporate group – it was not public transport.
If there isn’t a train station within 500 metres of your location (even if it’s beautiful tree-lined trendy street), a private or public parking facility should be considered a must to be available within this distance.
I didn’t just think about driving 45 minutes back out of the city. I started to head back home, when I found a shopping centre with paid underground parking facilities. It turned out it was 800 metres up the road.
Whilst walking this distance, I thought at least 50 times I should go back home and enjoy an early start to my weekend.
Until I was seated inside the venue, which I’d arrived at now ten minutes late, I was desperately trying to counter that attitude by repeating the words “This seminar is just what I need right now, it’s going to be great!”
I was thinking through that mantra at short intervals as my heels started burning inside my Winter boots. I was dressed for the city remember, I wasn’t prepared for walking an unexpected distance from a far and exotic car park.
To rub salt to my frantic, stressed out wounds, I was then walking past all the trendy coffee shops I’d scoped out whilst doing repetitive blockies for 15 minutes, but I was now too late to stop and order.
“So what?” Do I hear you say?
Here’s some great tips on how to avoid your guest from red lining with stress trying to get to you.
Help your guests to arrive in plenty of time with a good coffee in their hand. Don’t have guests regretting their investment in your event, or feeling disillusioned about the quality of your presentation for the next three – eight hours. Let their first impression of you – before they walk through the door by positive by:
If I’m due to be arriving for your event and available street parking is limited or you’re aware parking is non-existent – then this is an event a soft suburbs girl will need to be wearing joggers and active-wear for, and prepare mentally for incidental exercise. I’ll need to know this in advance, and it’s your job as the Event Host to tell me.
If you need help with choosing your next event venue selection or with any part of your Event Planning, find out how Social Ocean can help you here.
Hosting your own events? Want to start running corporate events to promote your business? Use the Social Ocean Event Checklists to help you get started on your event management success.
Updated your social media profile photo for your “new year, new me” already?
You might have updated your profile photo because you look different. Maybe you lost 30 kg, gained 30 kg, grew your hair, chopped it off, grew a beard or fell in love with a recent image of yourself.
Whatever the reason for updating it, that never matters because we love to see our friends, family and clients update profile photos to reflect the current version of themselves.
I can’t think of any bad reasons to update your profile, unless you’ve managed to select photos suffering from items on our 5 top profile photo tips list.
I update mine to acknowledge my personal changes. This year my hair is the same length as my 2020 portraits, but I’ve now got a fringe though I’ve retained the 10kg the year gifted me. Check my LinkedIn profile here.
Not everyone has a professional photographer following them around (which is a bummer, you really should try to get one).
Instead, run through our five top tip checklist and prep to upload the new you.
Even if you think your profile has a killer image, review our list to double check.
The number one reason for updating your profile image is so that your connections recognise you offline. I want you to recognise me, seek me out at a conference or meet for our first coffee chat without wandering around in circles.
When auditing client social media accounts, the profile image or logo and the cover photo are the first things we see. The percentage of those clients that have room for improvement here is at least 50% of our Social Media Audit clients.
Changing your style, brand and other obvious physical changes are a perfect reason to update your profile photo.
Your profile photos is the first element people see on their timeline or home page so it should be a good one.
You may not have experienced physical change, but across time they creep in unnoticed. Excluding those brave enough to get a face-lift, we don’t wind back the clock just by stepping out of the office. Don’t let your profile photo reflect a back to the future experience.
You might have lines on your face, and a different hair colour or hair line (sorry guys, it’s true). But it’s equally true that many people will look better now than they did 20 years ago.
Accept your age. Upload a profile photo from within the last 12 months.
Like one of my sisters (the inspiration behind this article), you’re likely to have a phone full of beautiful selfies.
My sister’s problem is that she’s wearing huge dark sun glasses in 70% of those photos.
Allow people to connect with your digital self and let them see your entire face.
If you wear glasses to see – don’t stress – you should be wearing them, so don’t let them stop you posing. Also, don’t take them off. People recognise you in glasses and may not recognise you without them.
Same problem for wearing hats or longer hair. Remove hats if it’s covering your face – and definitely take it off if it’s a cap or you’re wearing it backwards – and flick your hair back, out of your eyes.
Avoid confusion over which person belongs to the profile, by discarding photos with multiple people.
You don’t want to cause confusion about which person you are, nor do you want to use a photo of you and your significant other as your professional profile. Leave the personal photos for your personal Facebook account and put a business front on for your professional profiles.
Review others with a crowd in the back of shot.
Struggling to decide on what to cut out? Cut out any with people in the background entirely, as the image is likely to be too busy for the small piece of real estate your profile takes up. It’s YOUR profile remember, distractions are not your friend.
Landscape photography with you featured in the foreground is often a great choice. Non-professional versions of this regularly have the background still in focus and can sometimes take the focus off you. Keep an eye on that.
When you zoom in or out of your photo in the LinkedIn or Facebook profile editor, you’ll know selecting an image you are not in the centre of is a pain in the butt.
Best options here are the photos with unimportant background or space around your face. This allows you to zoom in and centre your head in the circle template in your photo uploader.
This also means you’ll be able to discard more from your “maybe” pile. Remember you can zoom in to you during this process.
Showing clients or potential clients what you look like when you get out of bed, where you holiday with loved ones, and when you are sweaty from a workout isn’t a good look.
Even if you are a professional sleeper, traveller or personal trainer – professional profiles should reflect a polished version of yourself.
If you don’t have a photo suitable on your phone or on your desktop, there’s a quick and easy solution.
Book in with a professional photographer, ask a colleague or friend to take snaps of you in work attire, or grab the closest teenager you know.
Let that first impression of your online self make a difference and update your profile photo with an image that makes it through all five tips above.
Put your best foot forward, show off who you are and reflect your personality. Your aim to stand out from the crowd is a necessity that every one can achieve to get noticed in a busy online world.
LinkedIn image sizes have changed several times in the last few years. Not only have sizing changed since Microsoft took over the platform ownership, but there’s been more changes with feature introduction and feature updates as well.
There’s lots of positive changes happening, with new tool tip suggestions popping up whenever they roll out this year.
As a business using a Company Page on LinkedIn we want our pictures to look great! So we spend time preparing them. When a new feature gets introduced, it’s likely we need to adjust the templates we use to create pictures with too.
Use our 2021 LinkedIn imagery sizes (below) to make sure your published posts are looking sharp.
Here are the latest LinkedIn imagery sizes.
When working with business owners, we like to create connections between their personal profile and Company Pages. We do this by using the same LinkedIn images as for the cover banners in both places to create consistency and connection.
Your LinkedIn profile photo should be square with a size of 400 pixels x 400 pixels.
Your LinkedIn Personal cover banner image should be a rectangle sized at 1584 pixels x 396 pixels.
For great tips on selecting your personal profile photo, read our blog 5 Profile Photo Tips.
The two key images for your LinkedIn Company Page are your logo and banner.
Your LinkedIn logo image should be square 300 pixels x 300 pixels minimum. At Social Ocean we use 400 x 400 pixels for clarity.
If your logo isn’t already a square shape, ask your designer to provide you with a square option. This will be handy for all your social media profiles.
Or make your own. Put your logo on an all white background – simply centre the logo to a solid white square shape – with plenty of white space around the edges of the logo. This is what lets you zoom in and out to inside the logo uploading tool.
LinkedIn banner sizing has always created issues for page administrators. Trying to choose images that look good on both Desktop view and the App is tricky.
Your LinkedIn Company Page banner image should be square 1128 pixels x 191 pixels.
Overall, when you’re making your own Company Page banner we don’t advise adding too much text, due to devices cropping your view differently on computer verse smart devices. That means parts of your image might not be seen.
LinkedIn Stories are only available for smart devices (at the time of publication), but are a great way to repurpose Stories artwork from either your Instagram or Facebook platforms. The reason why it’s easy to do this, is because all social media Stories use the same sized image.
Your LinkedIn Stories image should be a tall rectangle measuring 1080 pixels x 1920 pixels.
The new LinkedIn Events has a different cover image size. It’s short and wide like all other LinkedIn cover imagery.
Your LinkedIn event cover image should be rectangular with 1776 pixels x 444 pixels.
If you want to place the name of the event on the photo, make sure the text is centred so that the Event logo on the far left doesn’t cover your text.
LinkedIn Events also have a square logo option. When viewing the event the logo sits on top of the cover photo and can make viewing difficult.
If you need help to create or update your social media images for LinkedIn or any other platform check out our Graphic Design options.
Don’t forget to read great tips on selecting your profile photo here: 5 Profile Photo Tips.
This article was compiled by Social Ocean’s Creative Director Kirsty Fields. To follow her on Instagram or LinkedIn for more regular helpful hints, follow Social Ocean on LinkedIn or Instagram. This was last updated by the Author – June 2021.