DESI 2019 is coming, here is how you can use Social Media to stand out.
“Arms are my ornaments, warfare my repose.”
Next week, the UK will host the world’s largest Defence and Security trade show!
DSEI 2019 promises to be the biggest yet, drawing companies of all sizes to London to unveil products, demonstrate new concepts, secure new contracts, make new acquaintances, and meet friends and associates.
With DSEI now within touching distance, we wanted to share a few thoughts about how vendors, exhibitors and other attendees can maximise their efforts using the force-multiplying effects of social media; especially at expansive and busy events like DSEI 2019!
All the exhibitors and the visitors are investing significant time and money to attend. So here are four quick suggestions and a short case study to consider to get the best “Bang for your Buck” at DSEI, and any other major event where time is limited, attendance is in the thousands and opportunities can easily be missed.
1. Set the scene and build anticipation.
DSEI happens only every 2 years, all notable events are well publicised ahead of time. So start setting the scene, tell your audience that you will be attending. As the event approaches, give details of what you have to offer and WHY people should come to your stand.
Please, don’t just say “We will be on Stand X-89”. Tell the reader what they will see, what they can learn and what they can experience, and most importantly, be clear what value they will get from investing their time with you!
What will visitors to your stand learn?
What enduring message do you want them to hear, understand and take-away?
If you have a big announcement, tell attendees when and where that announcement will be made. If not, tell them about specific features of your stand; “We will be hosting drinks at…” or “Our specialists in XXX will be on hand to answer questions at…” “Get rare, insights and understanding from our Chief Designer”
Anticipation can also be built by offering ‘sneak-peeks’ or a “glimpse behind the curtain”. Show just enough to grab an audiences’ attention and generate interest, without revealing the whole story – Like a film trailer.
Identify those members of your team who can tell their stories, not just the CEO but the designer, the apprentice, the engineer, the end-user. Allow and empower them to tell genuine, emotively engaging stories. These authentic and meaningful stories will have far more impact than a press release or bland social media post.
2. Use the event’s #Hashtag and understand the events overall message.
Use the hashtag that everyone else is using; #DSEI or #DSEI2019. That makes it much easier for others to find your post. Hashtags work on all the major platforms; LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Understand what the event’s key messages are, and how yours align or parallel these. Look for those common themes that support your messages and engage with those other accounts and users who are already covering those issues – or you’ll simply be talking to yourself. Monitor any trending topics, and where they are relevant and you can add value – contribute –
remember our Golden Rule Number 2 – “Give to Get!”
Explore some of the more unusual angles; how are products used by emergency services or in disaster relief? How is this innovation saving lives? How does this programme contribute to the nation’s prosperity or national security?
At DSEI 2019, make sure look at the conference programme and the issues being discussed and use this as timely trigger points for relevant messaging.
3. Understand your audience.
Really take time to understand who it is you are trying to talk to, and what you wish to achieve.
Understand why they will be attending; what they may be seeking to achieve whilst visiting DSEI 2019 and consider how you can help them achieve this.
Many attendees will already have a considerable following on social media and maybe a deep subject matter expert in a particular area. You don’t need to sell a car show to a fan of sports cars, but you do need to articulate WHY they should attend the show and visit your stand and more importantly WHAT they should be telling their friends and followers.
Identify your allies, advocates and ‘fellow travellers’ – they are out there! Invite them to your stand and make them feel special, for minimal effort you will see notable “Return On Influence”.
Don’t forget to have something visual, something worthy of a photograph or a short video.
Posts with images and especially videos are many more times likely to be liked and reposted/shared!
4. Exploit the existing network.
Social media is an exceptional tool to support, reinforce and force multiply traditional business networking. And…
There is a new Army in play – The #MilSocialMedia insurgency, not just #MilTwitter, but you’ll find Defence and Security accounts and topics on all the major Social Media platforms, including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Linkedin.
In recent months, much to the disapproval of some, the British armed forces have seen an unprecedented boom in social media use – encouraged, empowered and guided by new policies like #DigitalArmy.
Generals to young Officers and Soldiers are now commenting, spot-lighting, sign-posting and sharing freely. The debate and discussion around Defence and Security issues is now commonplace and often lively. Many are becoming regular content creators, bloggers and provide a wider range of audiences new insight into military life through their stories, images and dits – all with a healthy dose of self-deprecating military humour!
These audiences are your audiences; either directly or through indirect sharing, amplification and influence, both online and offline.
Any business that is not investing time and resources in Social Media in the defence and security industry is putting itself and an increasing competitive disadvantage.
To show what can be achieved, here is a quick example.
EasiBridge UK is a (very) small manufacturing company operating from a garage in Exeter. What [dstl] would call a “Fred in his Shed” outfit, reminiscent of the boffins of the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare who made limpet mines, sticky bombs and designed the famous FS fighting knife (or commando dagger).
EasiBridge may have remain in relative obscurity had it not attracted the attention of bridging and container fetishist @ThinkDefence. Suddenly, EasiBridge had a shop-front; images and videos were shared and demonstrators invited to attend innovation events. Now the simple, man-portable bridges are deployed with the Jungle Warfare Centre and with other specialist units. More designs are being developed and EasiBridge is moving to new premises.
It should be clear, that using free social media platforms, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, and engaging with the #MilTwitter and wider #MilSocialMedia community can generate a disproportionate return of effort, and increase engagement and communications impact when attending global events like DSEI 2019.
The Defence & Security Equipment International event takes place at the Excel London on 10-13 Sep 19 – www.DSEI.co.uk
If you are attending DSEI 2019 follow @Ric_Cole and @PaulEllisUK from @i3_Gen and we will look out for your interesting and and value adding content.
For more information about social media training, advisory and management services offered by i3 Gen, visit the website – www.i3Gen.co.uk