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Lead generation is crucial to the success of your business long-term. It’s not easy but it’s also not as daunting as it may seem when you break down the many different ways of attracting potential prospects.

Events, for example, are great for generating leads (and thought leadership) for your social media management agency. With the right preparations, a relevant topic, and well-executed networking, hosting events provides a massive lead generation opportunity for your business.

Here’s a quick look at how to handle them:

Choose the Right Event for Your Social Media Management Agency

It’s worth being cognizant of the following factors when evaluating events to attend:

  • The event’s focus and speaking session topics
  • Location
  • Size
  • Cost
  • Intended audience
  • Businesses in attendance (based on your own research and information provided by the event organizers themselves)

Additionally, recognize that there are different kinds of events you can budget for throughout the year: larger industry conferences and smaller community-based events.

Larger events tend to be less personal and you might be less likely to find your ideal prospects, but if you're speaking, you can cast a much wider net. If you're attending a larger event, it's essential that you attend networking gatherings that speak to your ideal client. Although there may be some amazing speakers you’re eager to see, you must prioritize networking over learning if you’re trying to build your business.

On the larger industry conference side of the spectrum, think along the lines of something like Social Media Week. Here is where you’re likely to find social media experts and business representatives alike gathered to discuss the hottest trends. Outside of networking, their open call for speakers presents an opportunity for building awareness around your services.

Other large events of potential relevance may include the likes of PubCon, Social Media Marketing World, and HubSpot‘s Inbound conference.

Just note that other social media management agencies — your competition — are likely to be attending, as well. If you're smaller, you’re competing against some bigger sharks. Don’t let this get in the way of you putting yourself and your business out there but be ready to speak to the unique value proposition that you can offer your target audience.

Community-based events, on the other hand, may include things like:

  • Meetups
  • Local business or marketing associations
  • Other organizations in town aimed at helping small businesses gain access to free/affordable services

Local organizations worth hosting events for may include:

  • Chamber of Commerce events
  • Coworking spaces events
  • Community events (like the YMCA)
  • Non-profit charitable events
  • Library events
  • Town/Government events
  • Religious events (Church, Synagogue or Mosque organized)
  • School or college events
  • Industry association events
  • Venues (event spaces)
  • Digital online events

Look at anything you invest here, whether it be time or money, as an investment in your social media management agency’s future. An hour-long, free class taught at your local community center could result in connections that lead to a contract worth thousands of dollars down the road.

Promote (and Maintain) Your Presence on Social

Promoting your presence on social for the sake of an event is two-fold.

1. Awareness - Pre-event Research and Outreach

There’s the need to bring awareness to your brand prior to the event. You want to get in front of attendees before the week-of conference chaos.

To make this easy, consider doing the following:

  • Research the social handles of both the event and presenting speakers to include in your own social outreach
  • Track the event hashtag for relevant conversations to engage with
  • Schedule some relevant social content from your business leading up to the event (e.g., a list of speakers you’re most excited to hear from or a piece of owned thought leadership)
  • Send timely posts and responses during sessions and throughout the event
  • Include a link in your posts for online appointment scheduling so prospects can easily set up a time to meet with you at the event

2. Personal Social Association with Your Brand

There’s the need to bring awareness to your personal brand in affiliation with your agency. This is especially beneficial for when you become a speaker or host events of your own.

Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date and optimized for findability so you can easily connect with people before, during, and after events. Create LinkedIn articles that showcase your expertise and use Twitter to help drive a stream of steady thought leadership for credibility.

Reach Out to the Event Organizers

As you begin to attend more and more events, consider making a habit out of reaching out to the event organizers. Getting to know these people on a personal level keeps you top-of-mind when opportunities to get involved arise.

You can start your outreach with general inquiries on participation. For example, you might want to ask if there are any opportunities to do the following:

  • Speak or host a learning session
  • Sit on a panel
  • Provide sponsorship (e.g. get your agency logo on some sweet swag)
  • Host a social media takeover before or during the event
  • Help with various event planning administrative duties
  • Produce guest content to live on an event’s website (e.g., a blog or podcast episode)

Pitch a Speaking Idea

If opportunities are minimal, don’t hesitate to be proactive in suggesting your own ideas or pitched speaking proposals. 

More often than not, many conferences and local meetups will welcome it. And it’s a win for both your agency and personal brand from a visibility standpoint.

I’ve done this for multiple local organizations — like Freelancers Union Spark, The Marketing Alliance, and The Commons on Champa.

Here’s an example of how I positioned my experience to attract attendees:

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When making a speaking pitch, establish your area of expertise and how it could translate into a one-off class or session. You might even have existing content on your website that could be repurposed as a presentation.

I, for example, could very well take my How to Build a Winning Pinterest SEO Strategy class on Skillshare and pitch it as a condensed, standalone event session.

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If you don’t have much content to work with currently, look through your conversational records with past prospects and current clients for inspiration. What are some of the pain points they’ve touched on that you have presentable solutions for?

Remember that detailing your process in an event session (or any piece of content) and “giving away your secrets” isn’t a bad thing. If anything, sharing your thought leadership will showcase just how hard it is to do what you do and further convince a potential prospect to outsource work to you.

Final Thoughts: Using Events to Generate Leads (and Thought Leadership) for Your Social Media Management Agency

When an event ends and everything is said and done, make sure to follow-up with your newfound connections. And don’t just stop at one email when you’ve got a 25% chance of hearing back after sending more than one.

You’re driving awareness, but also building relationships. So be genuine with your approach while giving people reason to remember your name.

With geocoding and posting functionality to just about any social platform you can think of, learn how Social Report can take your agency’s event presence to the next level. Start your free trial today!

the blogsmith author maddy osman

Maddy Osman is an SEO Content Strategist who works with clients like AAA, Automatic, Kinsta, and BigCommerce. Her background in WordPress web design contributes to a well-rounded understanding of SEO and how to connect brands to relevant search prospects. Learn more about her process and experience on her website and read her latest articles on Twitter @MaddyOsman.