Social Media and your Trade Show Displays

Internet-based marketing is here to stay, and vendors looking to promote their trade show displays and booths need to be making use of it. Social media can be a great way to get the word out about a company’s next trade show, but it’s also useful during the show and afterwards as well. When it’s properly utilized, it can be an extremely effective all-around PR tool.hybrid display with ipad counters

Here are a few suggestions for how a business might integrate social media into their trade show displays:

  1. Be Patient. It can take time to build up a following on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, often several months. It’s not something that happens overnight. Companies need to be persistent about their social media use, and remember that every time they post something that gets shared, that means more people hearing of them.

  2. Post Pictures. Pictures are one of the stocks in trade of social media, and an excellent way for a company to gain eyeballs. Sites like Slideshare work well for more official presentations and announcements, while Pinterest is becoming a highly popular informal picture board. Also, picture posts on Facebook are given more weight than status updates. Pictures are more likely to be seen by a company’s fans than text-based updates.

  3. Do a LiveTweet. Social media shouldn’t only be used to promote events; it can be used during them as well. It’s relatively easy to hook up a Twitter feed to a dot-matrix message board, for example, and show live Tweets as they come in. Some companies have used this format to do Q&As with visitors at the booth as well as away.

  4. Have a contest. It’s an old standby, but it can still work well with popular trade show setups. However, rather than the usual “phone numbers on cards,” it can be done electronically by having people enter by “Liking” a Company on Facebook, or Tweeting to a certain @user or using a certain #hashtag.

  5. Make social connections with visitors. Trade show displays are, of course, excellent for getting sales leads. However, those don’t have to simply be email addresses. Getting people to become followers on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn is another excellent way of creating and maintaining sales leads. Even better, thanks to smartphones, this can often happen immediately, while the visitor is still enjoying the booth.

  6. Put visual materials on YouTube. Plenty of companies these days are maintaining official YouTube pages to hold their publicity and training materials. How-to videos and behind-the-scenes material also works well and helps build interest in an industry. A popular video on a subject can instantly jump to the top of Google’s search results ranking, so it can pay off very quickly if a video goes viral.another hybrid modular with ipad counters

  7. Blog the process. This works better for the bigger shows. Companies can easily run a live blog during the trade show or convention, doing commentary on interesting events as they occur. The key to this one is to be fair and insightful. It looks bad for a company to just promote itself in a liveblog, while intelligent analysis of developments will help give a reputation for clear thinking.

The key thing any company should remember about social media is that it needs to be interactive. The worst possible use for social media is as a pulpit. It should be used to get fans directly involved in the trade show display, asking questions and having conversations about a company’s products. That direct participation leads to visitors remembering a trade show display far better than if all they got was a free pen.

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