12 Ways Advocates Can Help You Maximize Your Dreamforce Investment

dreamforceWhether you and your company are attending as Cloud Expo sponsors or exhibitors, or simply going as delegates, Dreamforce is a huge investment.

The important thing to keep in mind as the expenses pile up is that it’s an even bigger opportunity to increase lead volume and conversion — according to salesforce.com, Dreamforce attendees achieve a 41% and 32% increase in both, respectively.

Influitive launched our AdvocateHub platform, which integrates with salesforce.com, at Dreamforce 2012 and since then we’ve experienced tremendous growth.

Our team can’t wait to return to San Francisco for this year’s event because we’re looking forward to meeting new friends (and old) at our awesome Cloud Expo booth. We’ve also been chatting about Dreamforce with our customers, many of whom have asked us how they can best engage with their advocates before and during Dreamforce to make the most of their investment.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that your Cloud Expo booth and company swag, while important, are just things. They can’t speak to prospective customers on your behalf, and they don’t ooze genuine passion and delight for your company or product. The real stars of Dreamforce are always those companies that have a critical mass of customers, partners and other fans buzzing about them throughout the week.

It’s not necessarily easy, but those of you with an advocate marketing strategy in place are already well ahead of the curve. Here are 12 ways you can mobilize your advocates to boost the ROI of your Dreamforce investment.

Before Dreamforce

Ask your advocates if they or their colleagues are going
If they respond yes, make them part of a special Dreamforce group that you can reach out to without annoying the heck out of the rest of your advocates who aren’t going (don’t make them feel worse than they already do).

Get your advocates’ input
You’ve probably made most of your big Dreamforce decisions by now, but put forth any last-minute decisions to your advocates to get them involved. For example, if someone from your company is speaking in a session, you could crowd-source what they should wear, just for fun. If you’re planning to host a meetup somewhere, ask your advocates where it should be as well as which dates or times work best for them.

Start a sprint for more five-star user reviews
Your company’s online presence can play just as large a role during and after Dreamforce as your booth can – if not more. Potential customers will be comparing your reviews and ratings against your competitors’, so it’s essential to get as many five-star reviews as possible on AppExchange or business software review sites like G2 Crowd between now and the start of the conference.

Build the buzz around your company
Whether it’s your breakout session, how amazing your booth is shaping up to be, or how excited they are to hang out with you for four days straight, ask your advocates to start buzzing about your Dreamforce presence a week or two in advance on Twitter, LinkedIn, their blog, etc.

Sign up volunteers to guest-star at your booth
It can be tough to wrangle volunteers the week of, so ask your advocates ahead of time if they’d be willing to spend an hour or so at your booth speaking to visitors about how much they use and love your product. Build out a schedule to try to get as much coverage as you possibly can during Cloud Expo hours.

Just for fun: Find out what they’re most looking forward to at Dreamforce
Keep the Dreamforce excitement rolling by polling your advocates on which keynotes, breakout sessions, Cloud Expo exhibitors, social events, San Francisco landmarks, etc., they’re most looking forward to checking out. Make your advocates’ responses public so everyone can benefit from the tips and insight. It might even give you and your team some great ideas!

During Dreamforce

Send your advocates to Influitive’s booth
Asking your advocates to swing by your own booth is a given. We also recommend sending them to Influitive’s booth to perform some additional acts of advocacy for your company.

The Influitive team will be helping people advocate for their favorite companies and apps on the spot, right from our booth. These acts of advocacy will be visible to everyone who visits our booth and will also be posted online via Twitter. We’ll be recognizing the companies with the most advocates at the end of the conference! Learn more.

Encourage social sharing from your booth
Whether it’s a tweet, photo or Foursquare check-in, ask your advocates to document the quality time they spend at your booth via social media. Familiarize them with your company’s Twitter handle and the event hashtag (#df15) in advance to boost the reach of your brand.

Capture video testimonials and other content with your advocates
While they’re volunteering at your booth, take a moment to ask your advocates a few questions on camera that you can use on your blog or other content channels after Dreamforce.

Facilitate networking between customers and prospects
Pay attention to what interests your advocates and try to act as a matchmaker between them and your prospects at Dreamforce, both of whom will probably be interested in networking. You may also wish to ask a few of your advocates to swing by the booths of potential customers who are most similar or relevant to them – hopefully they’ll have some great things to say about you and put your prospect at ease by answering any questions they may have about becoming your customer.

Put the spotlight on your advocate program
The fact that you have a whole program full of customers willing to advocate for you speaks volumes about your product and company. Help those people stand out by issuing special t-shirts, pins or badges (like these Eloqua Advocates flair from Eloqua Experience) that identify them as advocates for your company. They’ll become ambassadors for your company – and your advocate marketing program – throughout the conference.

After Dreamforce

Capture your advocates’ post-Dreamforce feedback
You could ask, for example: What did they love or hate? Which booths and campaigns stood out to them the most? Which sessions provided the most valuable insight? Compile this information and use it to improve your strategy for next year’s Dreamforce.

Thanks for reading and see you at Dreamforce!

Are you a part of Dreamforce’s ‘Most Wanted’?

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We’re paying handsome rewards for advocacy bounty hunters at Dreamforce! We need you to bring us savvy marketers so that we can help them round up their advocates with a formal advocate marketing program. Come to Influitive’s booth #N2104 with one of our ‘Most Wanted’ marketers and we’ll give you a cash bounty ($50 to the bounty hunter and $50 to the captured marketer).

Learn more!

Photo credit: Jon Mountjoy

  • Heidi Lorenzen

    Cloudwords will be at Dreamforce, and we’ve got great advocates, so this was a helpful read (especially since we will be more “guerilla” in our presence). We’re definitely focusing on the pre-Dreamforce build-up, and will take your tips on encouraging social sharing from our event Weds night, and collecting video testimonials. We already have badges in the plan! 🙂

    • Truman

      BIG thumbs up Heidi. The Influvians can’t wait to see what you have planned at the event. Would love to see those badges in action!

  • Thanks for the suggestions – definitely food for thought!

  • VARIOU

    Thank you for the advice

  • LizAtBomgar

    Good article! Lots of good stuff that can apply to any event. We are new to Advocate marketing, so we need to be thinking through how we can apply this to ALL our events going forward.