Using Trade Show Social Media to Maximize Your ROI
You’ve got a beautiful trade booth, excellent giveaways, and a well-prepared sales team, what could you possibly be missing before your next big trade show? How about using trade show social media tools to maximize your trade show presence and impact at each of the trade shows that you attend?
If the words “trade show social media” strike fear in you, don’t worry – we are here to help with top tips on how to integrate media into your next event.
Why Social Media Marketing?
A trade show puts several companies involved in the same industry – and often in the same niche – right next to each other. This means that in order to drive traffic to your booth, you’ll need to be successful in taking it away from your competitors. Social media provides you with a unique opportunity to do just that.
The best way to help raise awareness of your trade show presence involves mentioning it in advance on Facebook, Twitter, and any other relevant social media sites. This way, you can build excitement and give your potential clients and customers the time they need to make arrangements in their busy schedules to come see what you have to offer.
Whether you like it or not, social media is here to stay. No longer solely the online hangout of millennials, twitter, Facebook, instagram, etc., are tools that can be effective in building your brand’s name.
In terms of events, social media allows you to have continuous contact with prospects and customers before, during, and after the show. Leveraging trade show social media, you can create a buzz before the show that will bring people flocking to your booth giving you greater networking opportunities and deeper relationships.
If you’ve waited until you are at the show to start your social media marketing, you’ve already missed out a many opportunities pre-show to get your name out there.
1. Have a plan. As tempting as it might be, don’t wing your social media efforts. Create a content calendar with specific ideas of what you want to post and when you want to post it. Align these posts with events at the show or seminars you are leading. Also, be sure you have a point person to carry out the plan and check in to make sure things are running smoothly.
2. Utilize hashtags. Figure out what the trade show’s official hashtags are and start using them two to four weeks in advance. This will allow you to find out who the key players will be and what the trends are. Connect with trade show organizers and key players by retweeting and commenting on their tweets.
3. Create a landing page. On your website, create a home base for everything related to the trade show to which you can direct your booth’s visitors. This can include all of the content you have created (videos, images, blog posts, etc), as well as the key information you want the prospects you meet to know about your company.
4. Create a Video. A couple of weeks before your trade show, make a short video of yourself. Explain who you are, which company you are representing, and what your company does. Once you’ve finished, upload the video to YouTube and post links on all of your social media sites. This alone can give people an incentive to come to your booth.
5. Connect with media. Use social media to reach out to the media contacts in your industry who will be attending the trade show. This is the perfect opportunity to pitch a story to them related to either a product you will introduce at the show or a seminar you will be hosting. Encourage them to stop by your booth during the show.
At the Show
Now that you’ve put time and effort into created a plan, you’re ready for a successful show. But don’t let all that hard pre-show work go to waste! Keep the ball rolling with steady social media activity throughout the show.
1. Create an experience. Overall, you want your social media to make those who couldn’t come to the trade show feel like they were actually there. This can include images of the trade booth floor or social events, videos of various happenings, and blog posts about key seminars.
2. Generate testimonials. If you encounter a happy customer during your trade show, ask them to do a quick testimonial. This can either be a short video where they talk about their experience, or an image to accompany a short quote from them.
3. Schedule your posts. Trade shows get crazy, there’s no doubt about that. Keep in mind that you have the ability to schedule your posts and tweets. While you always want to make room for in the moment posts, utilize scheduling to make sure you remember to post during important events or your seminars.
4. Hold a contest. A fantastic way to drive traffic to your social media pages and your booth is through a contest. This can be as simple as having people take a picture at your booth and then posting it to your social media page with the event hashtag. In order for this to be successful, be sure to get involved with the fun on your page! And also make the prize really worth it.
For example, you might give away a free sample of a product, a free month’s subscription to a service, or even a discount on a product or service. This alone is a great incentive to bring people in the door, and you can also use it to your advantage when it comes to lead generation. When others see you giving away free products, services, or trials, they will be more inclined to visit your booth, as well.
Some businesses that frequent trade shows will print t-shirts, pens, water bottles, calculators, and all manner of merchandise with their logos and telephone numbers, then give them away for free at the trade show. In many cases, this alone is enough to drive people to your booth. If you plan to do so, be sure that you take photos of the free items that are up for grabs on all of your social media accounts. Then, once people begin to arrive for their share of the loot, you can get them interested in your products and services.
5. Go Real Time! Photos and videos in real time drive interest, which can make social media invaluable when it comes to sharing photos and videos. You can certainly use this to your advantage at a trade show – especially early on. Photographs or even short video clips of your product and service demos can really engage your potential audience, so even if they were unable to attend, they are still seeing what you intended them to see. What’s more, these photos and videos can drive more people to the show, even as it is ongoing. What’s more, the people you engage will come to the show looking for your booth – not your competitors’.
The excitement and craziness of the trade show may be over, but don’t let your social media marketing die there! Hopefully, you have many photos, videos, and testimonials that you can use to your advantage. Take the time to brainstorm some of the questions you were asked during the show, and consider writing out answers for a weekly blog post. After all, if one person asks, then many others probably have the same questions.
1. Connect with leads. All of those business cards you collected can’t just sit in your desk drawer. Connect with those who visited your booth via their social media channels. Make sure that you personalize your invitations to each person including something you talked about or something you wish to follow up on.
2. Share your content. If you hosted a seminar or have other materials from the show, share the contents via your social media channels. Create a blog post summarizing your experience, your main takeaways, and what you hope for in future shows.
3. Follow up with email. Another way to push out all of the valuable content is via email. Send an email to all of those you met at the show as well as those you invited who didn’t make it. This way they can get a recap of the show. Be sure to include your social media links in the email!
With a vibrant trade show social media marketing plan, you have the potential to have a greater impact at the trade shows you visit. In today’s competitive marketplace, standing out from your competitors is incredibly important. Be a part of the conversation before, during, and after the show to create better relationships and see your brand awareness soar.