You have a year-round strategy in place to increase your presence on social networks such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Pinterest.
And while digital is great, Facebook's influence is shrinking when it comes to audience engagement. You need to be just as thoughtful and persistent when in-person networking, too.
From the Garden Writer's Symposium to Cultivate and IGC, there are lots of trade shows, conferences and networking events to choose from in the garden industry.
Picking the right trade show instantly helps you form the right relationships with other industry leaders, reporters and consumers.
Below are Garden Media's 4 networking tips for garden industry trade shows, conferences and events.
Tip 1: Connect Before and After the Show
Garden Media's Suzi McCoy with Gardening Star, Amy Stewart
It's not hard to know who’s following you and your brand on social media.
Now, take it to the next level and meet your fans in person to really strengthen the relationship - and your garden brand.
Connect with Facebook groups and follow conference-specific hashtags to find out who else is attending an event. Then, look for individuals with common interests to reach out to.
Chat about industry issues such as redefining gardening and send a friendly email to introduce yourself and set up a time to meet at the show.
After the conference follow up with an email, phone call or personal letter. Taking the step to make long-lasting connections will ensure that the people you've met at an event remember you.
Tip 2: Collect Relationships, not Cards
While it’s great to meet as many new people as you can, it’s also important to leave the conference or trade show with a handful of cultivated connections.
Use your time at a conference to meet new people and dig for that information that cannot be found online. Go beyond the basics of where they work and their role there, and ask thought-provoking questions instead.
Then, focus on attracting someone to your brand. The conversion and next-steps will come in the follow up!
Tip 3: Show How Great Your Brand Is
Boost your brand's reputation by proving you're trustworthy by keeping any promises you made at your booth or while networking.
Keep track of who's requesting what information and make sure to follow up with them promptly. Have a sign-up sheet handy and take lots of notes on the people you meet.
Tip 4: Start the Conversation
Come one, come all!
You're attending this event because you share mutual interests with everyone else. Take the opportunity to talk about the speakers, the booths or tours.
Step right up introduce yourself and greet them by name!
You can rock the tradeshow by putting your best foot forward at all times.