Exhibiting Tips & LinkedIn Growth Strategy

EP011 “The Marketing Hub” with The Exhibition Guy, Stephan Murtagh

On The Marketing Hub we have The Exhibition Guy – Stephan Murtagh , an expert in exhibitions & exhibiting with 28+ years’ experience in the industry.

He also has a large following on LinkedIn, and we talk about his journey and strategy.

We had a great wide-ranging chat on a lot of topics including-

🎆 Practical and actionable tips for getting great return on your exhibition investment.
🎆 His journey on LinkedIn and his strategy for growth on the platform.
🎆 How social media and in particular LinkedIn, help build on and maintain our real-world relationships.

If you are exhibiting at events or want to grow on LinkedIn, this is a must listen for you.



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Transcript of Exhibitioning Tips & Linkedin Growth Strategy. EP011 “The Marketing Hub”
Live events and exhibitions are back
Transcript of Exhibitioning Tips & Linkedin Growth Strategy. EP011 “The Marketing Hub”
Live events and exhibitions are back
[00:00:00 – 00:00:45]
Paul McDermott
Live events and exhibitions are back. I’m delighted to say that on today’s marketing hub that, we have somebody who is an expert in exhibitions and exhibiting. There is passion. In fact, he says they are more than that. They are part of his DNA. He is the exhibition guy. Stephan Murtagh. He has 28 years of experience in exhibitions and trained in excess of 4000 exhibitors and many other organizers and contractors, add this Sherif, which is amazing. When I talk about it, he was awarded the outstanding influencer in the exhibition industry in India. He also has a large following on LinkedIn, and we will talk about his journey on LinkedIn as well. Hi Stephan!
[00:00:46 – 00:00:56]
Stephan Murtagh
Hi Paul, This is a pleasure to be with you in the marketing hub. You know me, I love to talk exhibitions and all things exhibition, it’s a pleasure. I know we spoke about doing this for quite a while. It’s great to be with you.
[00:00:57 – 00:01:32]
Paul McDermott
Yeah, absolutely, Stephan. I think weirdly, even though we follow each other on LinkedIn, I actually came across you first at a live event, pre-pandemic days. It was a cadence chamber event, and you spoke at bars. Even in that short talk, your expertise came across, and you had some really good advice. Just really add to-the-point advice for exhibitors. I was thinking that in a previous life, I had a wedding video business, and I’ve done a lot of wedding fairs. I could have used some of that advice a couple of years beforehand.
[00:01:33 – 00:01:46]
Stephan Murtagh
We’re all learning the whole time. It’s your very kind words. I’m very passionate about what I do; it’s all those simple things. Paul, I think we sat at that event. It seems so long ago because of COVID because it’s the simple things that work for you when it comes to exhibitions.
[00:01:46 – 00:01:55]
Paul McDermott
Yeah, absolutely. You were awarded the outstanding influencer in the exhibition industry in India this year.
[00:01:55 – 00:03:09]
Stephan Murtagh
Yeah, it was a big. I’m now up to a huge amount of work in India, as it is, I have done for the last couple of years, and obviously, a lot of it was online during covers. But I’ve been over a couple of times to there, and a couple of weeks ago, and I was presenting at the awards, I was doing the AMP Safety Awards, and I’d have a huge amount of contacts in India. What are the biggest things about the Indian market? Which is interesting from my point of view is they want somebody like me who is based in Europe, who can train them how to do business in Europe. For me, it was an obvious one because the market is so big in India for obvious reasons, and they want somebody who can train them. I’ve done a lot of TV work over there. I’ve done some radio and a lot of writing in the Indian market, quite well-known. I’m going to set our own pretty well-known in the Indian markets, and they do reach out to me a lot. They reached out to me and said, listen, you’re doing so much in India, we want to award you, bring you over. I’d give you an award for all the work you do because you really are helping to promote the Indian exhibition industry. I went over it was in Delhi, it was in a month or two ago, and I went over I did the AMP Safety Awards, but it was all the key people in the exhibition industry. It was a great honour to be there, and they treated me like a king. It was just fantastic. It was an amazing experience.
[00:03:10 – 00:03:23]
Paul McDermott
That’s the reason I saw the post on LinkedIn, and I was like, Wow, that’s actually something I didn’t know about how big, how much work you did in the Indian market. Amazing, I congrats.
[00:03:24 – 00:03:36]
Stephan Murtagh
Most of the work I do, Paul, to be honest here, with the exception of yesterday when I was in court, most of the work I do is actually based outside Ireland, which is just not in one way. I always knew that because such that the state of the exhibition industry is global.
[00:03:37 – 00:03:58]
Paul McDermott
Yeah. Absolutely, let’s get onto it. Let’s talk about some of that, some of the questions, and about the exhibition industry. For you, being the exhibition guy on LinkedIn, how do you see the interaction between the online world and real-world events and exhibitions?
[00:03:59 – 00:05:16]
Stephan Murtagh
Yeah, it’s a really interesting one because I always look at the interaction on social media, LinkedIn, or whatever else as a starting point because we’re ultimately trying to do with LinkedIn and social media platforms in its a business capacity is to actually get that meeting face to face eventually. But you’ve got to start a relationship with somebody. I suppose from my point of view and where I’ve built up a lot of connections through LinkedIn is to actually open those doors and actually just have those conversations. I’m not talking about sales conversations, first of all, I’m talking about just conversations with real people, and I want to find this over the years because I travel a lot. What I find is the Connections I built up on LinkedIn when I actually get to meet them face to face, I’m already one step ahead, or we already know each other quite well. It’s a really useful way of building relationships with people, and for the future, life events are my world. But at the end of the day, I’m not at live events every day of the week, and none of us are. We live in our homes or our offices. Our lives work from home, so we need to build up and stay in touch with our industry and our friends and colleagues, and we do that through social media with a view to meeting people in the future.
[00:05:17 – 00:05:36]
Paul McDermott
That makes total sense. Because I think that’s where I go to a lot to networking events as well. If you’re meeting like a prospective customer for the first time and they’ve been looking at your social
media for a while, they kind of have an impression of you.
[00:05:37 – 00:06:56]
Stephan Murtagh
You had to do. You’ve really hit the nail on the head there because that whole point is that what where we’re trying to do is if you think of us from a selling point of view, 3% of your market are ready to buy right there. That’s literally 3% of your database are ready to buy right now. 30% of your database will never buy off. What we’re trying to do with the other 67% is, or with the 70% of total is, we’re trying to keep in touch with them and build those relationships on very often, what they will do is they will seek out your social media platforms and to see really who you are, to see behind the email of the guest or behind the phone call to learn more about you. I’ve always found things like LinkedIn are a great way to showcase, not just about your business, but about you. I’m going to give you a quick sample. In the about section of LinkedIn, people tend to put in all the business stuff, and that’s great. What about means is about you. It’s also important in LinkedIn that we put some information about us personally. My profile, for example, I put out that I read books; I read three books a week. I love rugby. I’m very passionate about certain things because I want people to see beyond just the exhibition guys. See, this guy’s a good guy as well; that’s really important when we’re building relationships.
[00:06:57 – 00:07:19]
Paul McDermott
Yeah, I think so. I just changed my advice section. I put in that the new video section is wild. We’re on your icon. I just talked about my journey into video production. I was an English teacher in 2008. I did a course, and got the bug, and that’s my passion; I think that’s a great piece of advice to you.
[00:07:20 – 00:07:29]
Stephan Murtagh
I want to point to you first. Not your business first. I think that’s what we all do. We all want to aspire more to doing that.
[00:07:30 – 00:08:06]
Paul McDermott
Yeah, I think LinkedIn is a great place to do that to start nurturing those relationships. Just we come back to link to actually as well because you have a strong following on that. I know you have great tips for exhibitors, and I’ve heard some of them. Right, what are three tips you always give for exhibitors to get more interaction from attendees at exhibitions?
[00:08:07 – 00:11:25]
Stephan Murtagh
Yeah, I think, interestingly, you bring that up toward number three, ironically, because I do; I’m going to give it a massive big word called Trescothick phobia, which is the fear of the number 13. I always start my presentation this, and there is a reason why I’m telling this, who I am, and the reason why I’m using that number 13. The number 13 is really important in exhibition terms; I want to try and make it for the listeners to remember the number 13 specifically because it’s made up of the three key numbers that will ensure you are successful at trade shows.
1. The first of those numbers is the number three. When we go to an exhibition, or when you’re exhibiting on exhibition, the absolute key is that you set three clear objectives. You don’t go in one idea, or you don’t go in with 25 ideas. You don’t know ideas. You have three clear reasons why you’re exhibiting what you want to achieve. When you do that, you’re much more focussed on success. You’re not focused solely on selling X-Y-Z products. That may be one of your three objectives, but you need to have other ones as well. Having three clear objectives is really important. That’s what we do before we exhibit.
2. The second number into 13. I was giving an example of the number four, and the number four is really important in exhibition terms, and this is or during the event itself; when you’re exhibiting at a trade show, you have 4 seconds to make an impression. In other words, a person will decide in those 4 seconds if I’m going to stop on that, start now. In order to do that, we need to have a lot of great open body language or stand needs to be where practical for them to walk onto a comfortable, but they also need to see what you do. What’s your message? Having 4 seconds to make an impression is we make an impression by our people, our product are all stopped, we do it in that order by the way, and butcher people are most important. As an example to your listeners, if you’re sitting down on a chair on your stand and people are walking by, they’re not going to engage with you. If you get rid of that chair altogether on half to stand, it forces you to engage because people want to engage on exhibitions, visitors, and exhibitors. That’s the whole point. The number four is really important for seconds to make an impression.
3. The last number, which is the 13, is the number six. And this probably the most important number is if I go backward slightly and tell you a scary statistic for exhibitors is that 81% of leads from trade shows are never followed up. People go back to the office; they’re really busy, and they got caught up with everything that when they’re away, it’s absolutely critical. If you want to be successful, when you exhibit that, you follow up every lead within six days. Now, that’s not to say you’re going to get business within those six days. What you are going to do is you’re going to start nurturing and building and creating that relationship so that the business does come in. Chasing up the leads in six days is really important.
It’s three setting three clear objectives is what we do beforehand. 4 seconds to make an impression when we’re exhibiting. That’s what we do when we’re at the event itself. Six days, which is the number of days to chase off every lead after type shows. If you focus on those three numbers, you will be more successful when you exemption, and it’s really simple. But yet most people don’t do it.
[00:11:26 – 00:12:10]
Paul McDermott
Yeah, that’s brilliant advice. I have just two thoughts popped into my head there. It’s kind of like social media. The 4 seconds, the social media, we have one or two as people scrolled past us, right? To make that impression and us sitting down in our chair not engaging, looking away from the camera that would never that that people won’t engage with us. I also thought just from a practical standpoint I quickly learnt when I used to attend wedding at fairs like you never stand behind the table. You always stand in front of the table to engage people as they’re walking past People sitting down leafing through it. Pamphlets, if that’s, a turnoff
[00:12:11 – 00:13:15]
Stephan Murtagh
It’s a complete No-No, because if you think about it, if you think of the best, the best public speakers in the world, they always get rid of the podium because they don’t want a physical barrier. Any, physical barrier or impediment is a physical barrier for people. Stop it. It’s like I say to people really ridiculously simple example is when you go to most trade shows, if you go to a trade show soon, just listen to this because the exhibitors, many exhibitors will fall into this trap. They’ll say to an advisor who walks on the stand, Can I help you? The visitor will say, No, I’m just looking. Then the conversation is over. Now, if I said to you, put the word house in front of that, can I help you? In other words, how can I help you? Yeah, it totally changes the dynamic of the conversation because you’re now into a conversation, not a monitor. So it’s what I stress. What people with exhibiting is exhibiting is the most expansive way of getting business if you do it wrong? But it’s also the most successful way of getting business. If you do it right. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure
out what simple things are. It’s so simple. Things are work.
[00:13:16 – 00:13:28]
Paul McDermott
Pretty, yeah, that’s so true. That’s great advice on the exhibition work I love that. 13 I’m not going to try and convince that
[00:13:29 – 00:13:31]
Stephan Murtagh
It’s the fear of the number 13.
[00:13:32 – 00:13:57]
Paul McDermott
Yeah I just I going to practise it before I try to pronounce it, as I mentioned you are the exhibition guy on LinkedIn right. You know that’s your branding, right, that’s it and it’s great that people refer to you as that on LinkedIn as well. Could you tell us a little bit about your journey on LinkedIn gathering a following?
[00:13:58 – 00:19:30]
Stephan Murtagh
Yeah, it was always like LinkedIn. If we look at all the social media platforms that are out there, LinkedIn was always going to be the obvious one in my space or my world. Like many of our worlds, by the way. I knew that LinkedIn was the place. When I started my LinkedIn journey with regards to sales, I used to promote all these great things I was doing on how great your training courses were, and I got literally no traction. I think at the time I have 1100 followers, which is really still a that followers, but at the time 11 and my business mentor said to me said, you’re looking at this the wrong way. He said, you’re talking about all the stuff that you do. People want to know the opposite of that. They want to know what you’re going to do for them, not what you do for yourself. When I changed my, approach to LinkedIn, my starting to share content and I’m going to go. I’ll give you an example at the moment I started to see my numbers increasing my followers and once the number is not important.
I work on a global industry or global business which is really heavily reliant on reach. For me, it was really important to get to 5000 connections because the reach was there for me with podcasts. What I decided to do was to aim for five types of connections again purely from a reach point of view, not because Fitzsimons is there an important number. When, I did that, I started sharing content of it. Here are three things you can do when you’re exhibiting on a trade show. Here’s something to look up. Exhibition is that when you’re considering exhibiting or I gave lots and lots of content and I mixed it up between video and text posts and all these different things. When I started to do that move away from selling on social media, I started to see more followers. I got the 5000 connections I want to hit five times. I said, Okay, I’m going to stop now. I’m going to stop for a month or two. I’m going to stop inviting people. When I stopped inviting people, ironically, I started getting way more connections I kind of think what something is working here. I started to have more content. As a quick example, why this is critical on LinkedIn, when I set up the exhibition guy, there’s a company called Informa.
The biggest exhibition company in the world turnover £5 billion a year, massive company with a global footprint. Everyone said to me, you’re never going to work with Informa because you’re a small company in Dublin. They’re global based massive company. I said, well, I don’t really believe that, what I did was my first video one of my first videos on LinkedIn. I was sitting in my car on the side of floor of a dual carriageway and obviously had the cars parked and I did a video from my car saying, here are three things you can do to be more successful when you exhibit not dissimilar to what I gave you a few moments ago, by the way, it wasn’t safe not to say I remember getting 99 likes on the post and I got one comment that was really negative at all. Radiometer you did it, your car or whatever. I’m thinking to myself, you’ve kind of missed the point of us. It’s about what I say, not about where I’m saying it from now as a result of that video, I got a phone call from Informa about a week later saying, We love your content, I’m gone. Is this really Informa? They booked me to go to India. It was India actually for ten days to train five sales people.
Now, it was just before back COVID didn’t happen, but it’s happened since. My point is the LinkedIn journey doesn’t begin with selling. The LinkedIn journey for all of us begins with the conversation. I look at my name Tim and I now of what 17,000 connections so it’s a lot of connections but I couldn’t possibly deal with all the 17,000 even if I wanted to either not all relevance, what I am doing is I’m looking at it from a point of view, how do I help my audience? Some people are not going to like what you do on LinkedIn, other people will. I’ll give you another example. You may have heard this one before me, I was in a cafe in Atlantic Erie and I had an exhibition guy, a hoodie on me with this as the exhibition going to buy. This guy taps me on the shoulder and he says, you’re the bloke from LinkedIn. Is all this person stuff, I’m looking out. I’m thinking here’s a compliment. He followed it up with I don’t like your stuff. No, I’m old enough not to be worried about that, by the way. I asked him, why do you follow me? If you don’t like my stuff? I don’t understand that piece like so yourself. Now go figure.
What I’m trying to get at is if you go away and try and satisfy every single connection you have on LinkedIn, you’re just going to work too hard. I get no results. If you moved back a little bit and start sharing quality content on a consistent basis, people will start to see you as the expert. I do want to find arrogant, but I would like to think of myself as the expert or one of the experts in the exhibition industry, and that has come from consistently posting content. Now I post once in the morning, once in the afternoon, pretty much every day the week, one is on Friday and I post once on a Saturday, but I will mix up that content to make it more engaging, because I want people to remember me. I want people to know when I’m doing an exhibition, this guy can help me with this exhibition. Great company can help me because that’s what I’m passionate about. If I can help them, they will help me buy by my service. That’s a simple as I see it.
[00:19:31 – 00:20:20]
Paul McDermott
That’s great. You’ve really shown there like the benefits that you have. Gosh, like real world examples of building your brand on LinkedIn. I get something that I’m always thinking about as while it’s like, sometimes I just step back from the content, I’m putting out, I’m kind of going, is this gone a bit too salesy or is it gone back to credibility? Am I giving enough value in what I’m doing as well, I may and of course, you might have seen I put the odd wig on every now and again so that you know, am I entertaining? I have this new thing that I’m infotainment, that I’m content with. Jumping around in my head, can we entertain and inform at the same time?
[00:20:21 – 00:23:07]
Stephan Murtagh
You know what? you just grown up there, Paul. You just brought up a really important point because if you take social media, LinkedIn in particular does a thing called a rule of thirds, LinkedIn and the third some. LinkedIn is that one third of your contact should be about promoting your business, one third of your content should be about educating your audience or giving them information that might help them. One third of your content should be personal. Now, not talk about personal shows, pictures of your job of your cash or something that I’m talking about, more personal approach. One of the best posts it is in terms of getting into conversations was a post I did about “Negativity through rugby on all blacks” to give you a really quick example of why this was my personal pulse. I did. In 2018 before, I don’t remember but put you make good stuff you’re probably familiar with this in 2018 I gone to play in New Zealand in just soldier field in Chicago. And the week before the event the never beaten the all blacks are never even come close maybe once a long time ago. But as I went to Soldier Field that week of that event, everyone including the media call are they’re going to get hammered are never beaten again and again they’re going to be beaten by 50 points the Ireland rugby team were in a bubble they weren’t listening to this batch out of people who are going to be what they were. Listen to us we’re going to go ahead and give our best shot if we win, brilliant. If we lose, we deal with that negativity after the last, not before the loss. What they did was that’s how they felt now when I posted this about the power of thinking positive, the four year event and worrying about the negative after, if it happens, is really important. When I did that post people once, that makes a lot of sense. Now, to me, it was just something I was really passionate about. I wasn’t going to buy into this negative talk. We went beat the all blacks for the first time. But the power of how we think and our attitude through post on LinkedIn resonate alliance with the people who are reading us. I did another post again another when I went through some really damn dark days which I went through many in my life like lots of people. By the way I did a post from Rosslare Beach on the high what I believe self-confidence to be it was very personal. I wasn’t on a stage I was in a truckie wasn’t shaved and all that kind of stuff. But when I put that out there, you met people who said to me, it’s great to know more about you and these are clients of mine. That’s, speaks volumes to me and that’s how I want to know about people like you and people I deal with work with or interact with on LinkedIn. It’s not all about business.
[00:23:08 – 00:24:20]
Paul McDermott
No, it’s trying to. Yeah, I always say, it’s sad, it’s expertise. Informing and credibility showing that you can do the job and rapport right? showing how your business works, how you interact with people, are what do you do in your downtime that makes you good at your job? When you’re, doing that’s an interesting one about that the thought process. I was listening to the 1% podcast recently, which is excellent and that there was a guy on and he was saying that he was all by reframing what we think about. And like he said, if you logically think about things, the things that we worry about 99.99% of the time they don’t come, they don’t happen. It’s kind of like a shift in your thinking that what you know, just think back to all the things you were worrying about last week and the week before and all that. Did any of them really come to fruition? Probably not. It’s really about reframing, but yeah, that just that started that part. I thought it was.
[00:24:21 – 00:25:12]
Stephan Murtagh
You’re right. Well, I think that’s really interesting because we all lifestyle perfect I go through months where things are great business is booming and then I got three months where it’s not good I’m not getting a lot of business in. But I chose this path. I don’t regret this choice, by the way. I love what I do and I’m very passionate about what I do well. I also understand that if I continue to beat myself up about us, then it’s not going to work. When I go to LinkedIn, I try and in as much as possible to follow through the charts as an example. But what also just to be me, if people don’t like me, I’m too old to worry about. If people don’t like me, I have to just deal with them. Not everyone is going to be my question or my client. That’s okay because I don’t want to work with everyone. I want to work with the right people, not every bit of every person.
[00:25:13 – 00:25:14]
Paul McDermott
We want to work with people we get on with.
[00:25:15 – 00:25:19]
Stephan Murtagh
Exactly, who share the beliefs and values and what we do.
[00:25:20 – 00:25:51]
Paul McDermott
Absolutely, that’s great. Stephan, before we go to our last three questions that I ask all interviewees on the marketing help, I’d like you mentioned about posting, right? You’ve got this regiment where you post twice a day and once on Saturday. Could you talk a little bit about that and in your opinion, what are the most important things that people need to do on LinkedIn to get engagement and to grow their following?
[00:25:52 – 00:31:45]
Stephan Murtagh
It’s a really good question to go to your first part of your question. I’m not a big company, I don’t have marketing budgets, I don’t have marketing people, lots of marketing people behind me who do my content for me. I tend to like to do my own content anyway, by the way. What I tend to do is I tend to know, okay, I need 11 posts for next week. That’s two for each day. Of those 11 posts, two of them are going to be videos because I tend to do a video on a Tuesday and a video on a Thursday where possible. I know that those videos are separate. What I would do is Friday afternoon from about three to five, I will sit time pretty much every week, I would schedule I saw the design first of all my content through Canva, I would sketch it at all in one go so come Monday morning when my post arrives at 7:00 in the morning, at 9:00 in the morning, I’m not sitting on my computer post, not schedule and that’s great. When it comes to, creating that content, what I do every month is, I write down a list of the content that I think is going to be relevant for my audience. That could be exhibition as it could be exhibitors at shows or whatever might be.
I decide, what’s the logical pattern for this, over the next week and I schedule content for a full week in advance. Now by doing that, what I’m trying to do, first of all is I’m trying to create engaging content that people go, I like that. That makes sense. I want to use Canva. It makes it easier for me because I know the schedule post is correct when it comes to building your connection based on LinkedIn, of a client. Client mine said to me recently, I posted LinkedIn a couple of times, not came, LinkedIn doesn’t work. I said, well, okay, let’s just rewind slightly. How many times do you post three times what you post? He showed me the content he posted was all of sales very, happily. Sales force and I also said posting three times and assuming that people are going to come in and just buy off, it doesn’t make sense. It’s about consistency. If you post three times a week, make sure you continuously post those three times a week. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same time, but it should be there about and you should be ensuring that it’s that quality content is going out consistently. Consistency is the first thing. But the second thing as really important for me is actually engaging with other people’s content.
If Paul put something up and whatever the post might be, I go, that’s a really good point. How about this as an add on to your point or whatever you might put on. But doing that is really important because if you think about it logically, were you commenting or me commenting on Paul’s post? Michael Post is going to be seen by followers of Paul who don’t follow me. Automatically I’m looking at this potential of organic traffic. Yesterday is a really good example. I did an event yesterday for the Employment Recruitment Federation in court for all the members in caucus, and there was 60 recruitment consultant, senior consultants in the room at the time did a presentation. But when I was coming back to Dublin, my phone was absolutely hopping with messages on it and I’ve never seen it like it, by the way. It wasn’t for me posting stuff, it was from people posting and tagging me in their posts, lots of people as a result of that conversation, but also, I had the presentation last night, I looked at my make to an invitation. I think there’s 25 new invitations would messages and most now one of them said love to talk for you to talk at us in within our company. I potentially have already got business through that. Now what I would do with those people who follow me or connect with me is I’ll engage with them straightaway. I don’t mean within 3 seconds I but I will engage them say thank you for connecting with me. I love to hear more about what you do or whatever the case may be.
When you start to do that, you start to put your door on the door handle to open that relationship, now if you go the other route on LinkedIn where you go straight for the jugular and you send them a sales email, you’re trying to smash through that door. People don’t like people smashing the door, saying, what is it? What LinkedIn and the route to followers and maintain is to set yourself a plan. What you’re going to post each week you don’t have to do it for three weeks in advance. One week is perfect when it comes to connections. It’s about sending it connection requests on a pretty unseen set daily basis, by the way, to people you want to connect with maybe three, four or five people per day, which is what I did. Where I started five people per day. Now I’m not talking about randomness. I’m talking about people who are who are connected to the exhibition industry. The beauty of LinkedIn is if you go into the search profile at LinkedIn to search for people, you can narrow your search to who you’re looking for and you reach out to people and when you reach out to people, they won’t all connect with you, by the way.
In the same way, if you try and go out and sell your products, every single person on the street, not everyone will buy your product, but some of them will. That’s how we build our connection base. Joining Groups is another one that’s really useful stuffs as a group in your industry, on this many thousands of groups on LinkedIn. The advantage of joining a group on LinkedIn is that when you’re a member of that group, you can message anyone in that group, even if you’re not connected so it’s also really important because if you join the right group that is in your space or your industry or whatever way you want to cross then you’re opening yourself up when you share your content and they are seeing us. I see this being used hugely successful for people who identify what groups they want to join and then engage in that conversation within the group on LinkedIn.
[00:31:46 – 00:32:29]
Paul McDermott
I have two questions arising out of that I’m interested in that area as well. First off, when it comes to you sending out your five a day as you are doing, right? Obviously you were searching on LinkedIn for the organisers that you want to be connected with. You had a strategy there you were kind of going these are the type that organises whatever I want to be connected with. I would like to do business them. You’re actively going out and searching for them. Then they’re on your list and then you’re, you’re just chipping away each day.
[00:32:30 – 00:35:04]
Stephan Murtagh
Exactly! I’ve identified now the big challenge there, Paul, is if I used to say to some people who do you want to talk to the guy, I want to talk to everybody now that that presents a slight problem because that’s a much bigger market. When I say exhibition organised, that’s quite specific. If you even start and say, Right, who is my ideal customer base in Dublin? The pay day, there are 25 employees. Again, I’m just making this up, but let’s just take the bear me for a second. There are marketing directors or whatever that might be that way. If you even take those three criteria, you can refine LinkedIn by those three criteria alone. Now that’s not going to solve every single problem you have. What it’s going to start you in the right direction, connecting with the right people. What I often get asked is what do you send to somebody when you want to connect, what they know, what you are? That’s really straight forward because what I will do is I will look at a profile, I will see a post that is of interest to me that they post themselves. I’ll say, “Paul, I saw the post. You did. I actually totally agree with it”. Alternatively, I go with a much more simpler route. “I came across your profile LinkedIn. I’d love to connect you something. I’d love to connect you because maybe we can help you”. That is that is all I would say. When I sent that second one out, I guess I get most people, I say most because not everyone, most people connect with me now.
Obviously, I’ve picked them for a reason, when I engage with them, I have to try and get into a conversation with them. That’s really important because the key piece is not about having 17,000 connections, which is going to have at the moment. I couldn’t care less about that number, to be honest. What do you do with those 17 types or what do you do with the subset of those who is you?
Engage with me, have conversations with them, and that’s the other one that’s really important and that’s quite useful is if you take any posts that you do. You get to like those, as you look down, the people have liked your, your posts. They’ll be many who are what we call second degree connections and so what you’re not going to see. Yeah, if I see somebody like that who’s liked my post but I’m not connected to and they’re relevant to my industry I will send the message saying, “Hi Paul, thanks for liking my post”. I would love to connect or be great to connect. If they liked my posts, they must to some extent like something about what I do. They’re probably more likely to connect with me. And even that is another good one because you can engage in a conversation with them.
[00:35:05 – 00:35:22]
Paul McDermott
Yeah, absolutely, that’s really good advice because it’s an area. I’m thinking about it as one of the best. Because I suppose I’ve being freewheeling a bit on LinkedIn. I do put up content, the strategy wise, I be bit loose. I’m trying to change that.
[00:35:23 – 00:35:27]
Stephan Murtagh
Absolutely, it’s not three times a week, by the way. It can be three times a week. Do whatever works for you.
[00:35:28 – 00:35:55]
Paul McDermott
Yeah, absolutely, people have different amounts of time. I’ve got to add and then just as regards groups, because I’ve joined some groups, right? Just you can post in groups, right? But when you post, if you put up something on your personal profile, even though you’ve joined a group at the group won’t see that post unless you post within the group. Is not right?
[00:35:56 – 00:37:14]
Stephan Murtagh
Yes, that is correct, unless you’re connected to them. Yes, 100% that it’s got to be post. What LinkedIn I’ve developed all too is, when you are sharing a post, you can also share within a group at the same time. Yes, that’s really useful because there’s a group called TSNN which is an exhibition industry group make over one of the US. I always post that group because a huge amount of contacts in that group, so I’ll post the same content. Both groups now just to be aware and I’ll be very straight, the interaction in groups tends to be less, the likes tend to be less posh. There’s a huge positive. On the opposite side of that is, the people who are in that group, if they’re liking your posts, are far, more likely to be the real customer you want to do business with because they’re in that specific group rather than having lots of people like your post because there’s too much emphasis in my opinion poll, too much emphasis. I was guilty of this, by the way, I think three or four years ago of going, Oh God, I only got 12 likes to my posts. All right, it really doesn’t matter because like at this stage I’ve given up even looking at us. I mean, I did a post receive 250 likes this one last week or 20 like and then today I might have someone I got eight likes you know there’s no accounting for who’s got a life here. You like your post.
[00:37:15 – 00:37:26]
Paul McDermott
Well yeah the algorithm as well because sometimes you post and if it just doesn’t get that bump in the beginning you know it’s not, going to fly and you can be sitting there going it was a good one.
[00:37:27 – 00:37:37]
Stephan Murtagh
The first 20 minutes will decide how successful LinkedIn post is because some guy in a hoodie in California is deciding what’s that’s going to be shared to your whole network or 10% of us.
[00: 37:37 – 00:38:17]
Paul McDermott
Yeah, exactly, that’s brilliant. That’s, such a good conversation about exhibitions and LinkedIn, how they really overlap, it’s to say you know it’s the online world and that and the IRL meeting and so that’s pretty insane. I have three questions. I had marketers and people I have on the marketing hub at the end. We might have covered it already, but what one marketing technique have you used in the last year or two that has been particularly effective?
[00:38:18 – 00:39:41]
Stephan Murtagh
Yeah, I actually have a very specific one here actually, by the way. Really quick story about a year ago, I was there was ten people in the exhibition industry, really senior people globally who I just could not get in front of. I consider myself to be quite creative, by the way. I get in front of people I’m reasonably good at sales and I try phone calls and emails via social media. I saw that just no response whatsoever. Zero, not even one replied zero response. So I decided my wisdom to go to ace and supply myself very expensive writing part and parcel to bond. All that really quality paper cost me 20 quid hyper. I wrote him a handwritten letter all ten of these people really short exhibition guy a lot of challenges time but really quality paid for them and I posted off the ten of them, within a week six them came back to me and said and looked up chat with it. What I’ve tried everything else and it’s six them out of ten. If I’d got one out of ten a response I would be delighted but I did the six out of ten. What they said to me was we the fact you did something that was really, personal made a huge difference to at least give you the opportunity to have a, have a conversation.
Now, I’m not saying that I could do that, by the way, nor should everyone do that. That way was incredibly effective for me, bearing in mind no response for eight months and I got six responses within a week. That was really effective. That’s the first thing. I just hope that makes sense.
[00:39:42 – 00:40:10]
Paul McDermott
That’s, an excellent one. Am I just that? Because recently I, got a load of beanies made up with the social video HQ logo on it and I sent it out to loads of customers and part. I got great feedback, because it’s just you’re connecting in a real way with them. It’s winter’s coming, we’re out on the walks where we are in the beanies
[00: 40:11 – 00:40:15]
Stephan Murtagh
They’ve told about, Paul because it’s wintertime and people need beanies will wear beanies. That’s a great idea.
[00:40:16 – 00:40:35]
Paul McDermott
Yeah, that worked really well, that resonates. Right, the second question is. With your unique viewpoint related to events and exhibitions, how do you think they are going to evolve in the next year or so?
[00:40:36 – 00:41:46]
Stephan Murtagh
Yeah, it’s an interesting one to think about this earlier on. I mean, pre-pandemic and pre-COVID, we’re all in the exhibition industry. We are very much focussed on the visitor numbers. Walking through the door now and I know many visitors would tend not to the exhibitors wanted the times have shifted a little bit and our clients particularly exhibitors at trade shows are far more interested in the less people approach that where they’re actually getting to meet the right people. Not lots of people, one thing that will evolve within the exhibition industry is what they call a health supplier programme, which is where exhibition organisers will pre-arrange these appointments in advance of the show. That’s been going on for years by the way, what they’ll spend an overclock more emphasis on getting the right virus because what we’re finding now with visits to trade shows is they’re not coming for exhibitors anymore, they’re coming for content, they’re coming for speakers, they’re coming for the conference and that’s great, but we can’t ignore the person who’s paying us the money to run the event, which is the exhibitor either. If we can make them happy by delivering higher on better quality hosted by our programmes, we’re going to be more successful there’ll be more emphasis on the visitor in the next 12 months.
[00:41:47 – 00:41:49]
Paul McDermott
That’s, pretty. Hosted by what?
[00:41:50 – 00:41:56]
Stephan Murtagh
Hosted, by our programmes where they organised, they’re basically what they do is, they organise appointments for exhibitors in advance of the event.
[00:41:57 – 00:42:12]
Paul McDermott
Okay, Excellent then the last one, what one piece of business advice that you got in the past that has stuck with you and you still follow, are you tried to follow today?
[00:42:13 – 00:43:48]
Stephan Murtagh
Yeah, I’m trying to think I was talking about this earlier on am and it’s more I’m, trying to think the exact quotation out. It was more a quotation, it’s still quote me actually. This quotation that somebody said to me now I don’t know where it came from, which means you can’t really understand the real joy of winning if you haven’t learnt how to lose. What I mean by that is and what struck me about that was, I tend to be quite creative, have lots of ideas, I know some of them are going to work and some of them aren’t going to work, but I have to be able to stick my neck out and try those things some of them will fail. When they fail, you do genuinely have to look at that as a learning experience, rather than it was a failure. I learnt something from that or I haven’t found the right way to get to the solution. For me I suppose one I’ve always been guilty of joke till quite recently is this lack of patience. I think if I could give a tip to any entrepreneur out there, stick with the programme because and another expression is to stick with what you’re doing. I’m not saying don’t changes with say the programme because the last thing to grow on a tree is a fridge. If you think about us if we put all this work in and all the hard work gets the payoff at the end, which is the win, but the win might be further down the road in, you think but you’ve got to stick with the programme and stay patient.
[00:43:49 – 00:44:18]
Paul McDermott
That’s the salient advice and it’s something I’ve picked about releasing new products and all that.
You put all the work in the beginning, developing then you do all your content, you get it out there then you’re kind of waiting until you, starting to get feedback and starting to get tentative leads and stuff for that. But that takes time and it’s, about not like, just finishing with it too early to actually if you have a plan stick to the plan to the end and then assess.
[00:44:19 – 00:44:36]
Stephan Murtagh
Yeah, see it’s like the expression just gave to you the last thing that grows in the tree as a fruit. We think about that. The tree grows and it grows and grows and grows and takes a long time. Then suddenly the tree starts the fruit start sprout. That’s the nice piece. It’s the same a business. It takes all the hard work for us before you see the payoff again.
[00:44:37 – 00:44:58]
Paul McDermott
Yeah, it’s hard. Hopefully there’s gonna be nice big fruit for both of us. They say it’s great. Stephan, just before we finish, can you give us your contact details where people can connect with you, obviously on LinkedIn and other places as well?
[00:44:59 – 00:45:21]
Stephan Murtagh
Yeah, you can. Of course. You get me on any of the social profiles, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn at the exhibition guy. My website is the exhibition.com, and that’s kind of I suppose LinkedIn tends to be the place where people start to get in, touch me on base and develop an outbreak globally. I’m always available at any stage for a chat or coffee or whatever. That might be something you get me out of the LinkedIn or the exhibition.com
[00:45:22 – 00:45:26]
Paul McDermott
That’s great. Stephan, that was a brilliant conversation and thanks a million for coming on the market help today.
[00:45:27 – 00:45:29]
Stephan Murtagh
It’s an absolute pleasure. Thanks for having me, by the way. First of all, more importantly,
[00:45:30 – 00:45:31]
Paul McDermott
Thanks Stephan.
[00:45:31 – 00:45:32]
Stephan Murtagh
Nice, Paul.