How to Score with Social Media at Trade Shows
There’s no turning back now. Social media has become an essential tool, and you really do need to know how to score with social media at trade shows. And the best part is it’s one of the most cost effective ways to make a strong impression and promote your company, your products and your brand.
Beyond that, it can help show attendees learn what you’re doing in your exhibit and convince them that a trip to your booth is worth the time.
Here’s how you can harness the power of social media to get results:
Before The Show:
Your social media campaign is just like every other form of advertising: you don’t simply make it up as you go along.
Start by creating a calendar where you’ll plan all your tweets, blog posts, Facebook updates, landing page launches, LinkedIn messages and invitations, YouTube videos and event announcements.
Get other departments involved, so everyone can make contributions and share responsibilities.
Every show should have an official Twitter feed and hashtag. A few weeks before the show, begin following it and see what the show’s planners are doing. You’ll discover trends and see what your competitors are doing, as well. Find ways to distinguish yourself from what others are attempting. Create your own hashtag that you’ll use all through the show.
At The Show:
One of the best things about social media is that you can extend the reach of your participation to people who aren’t near your exhibit—or even at the show. Everything you tweet, post or blog about will entice show goers to visit your booth, while giving those who couldn’t make it a great way to experience whatever you’re doing on the show floor.
If you’re doing a live presentation or a product demonstration in your exhibit, video it and post it to YouTube. One exhibitor that uploaded its product demo received over 5,000,000 hits online. That’s how to score with social media at trade shows – exposure you couldn’t even buy!
When you meet with existing customers who are thrilled with your product or service, snap a picture of them or create a short video where they tell their own story. Share this through all the channels you’re working with and blog, tweet or post it to Facebook and LinkedIn.
Even though you’re busy at the show, don’t let your social media efforts slide. It’s possible to schedule tweets and Facebook posts ahead of time. Maybe you can get someone back in the office to post pre-written articles to your company’s blog while you’re handling things in the booth.
Continue reaching out to VIPs, media contacts and other influencers through various channels, and give them a reason to come to your exhibit. It may be to receive a special gift, the chance to see a new product before it launches publicly or a one-on-one interview with C-level management.
One unique way to score with social media at trade shows is to pair it with a contest taking place in your booth. Try a trivia challenge where you tweet clues throughout the show and invite players to visit your booth to enter their guesses in the prize drawing.
Many social media outlets are visually oriented, so be sure to create plenty of only-at-the-show pictures and video to share through these channels. These images are also valuable to industry media contacts, to go with stories they’re telling about the show.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a lot of feedback from your social media efforts. As in any community, only a small percentage of people are actively driving the conversation, while the rest listen in or look on. That larger group is still absorbing your messaging; they’re just not saying anything about it.
After The Show:
If someone from your company was a speaker at the show (something you should definitely share on social media), be sure and share the talk on YouTube and the related slides on SlideShare. If you can get the names of the attendees to that presentation, send them a thank you email with a link to these resources.
Invite leads to connect with you on LinkedIn, like your company on Facebook and follow you on Twitter. Connect with them, as well. You can also use LinkedIn to learn more about these contacts, such as shared interests or alma maters.
Edit the video you created at the show and post it to YouTube and to your website.
Post a blog entry about what happened at the event. Be upbeat and positive, sharing news about your new products introduced at the show, the people you met and anything else that made an impression on you. If prospects had questions about your company or its products, answer the most common ones.
We want to help you make the best impression at every show in which you participate, and learning to score with social media at trade shows is just one of the tools. From a totally new booth to accessories to graphics, we want to help you look your best. We represent an amazing array of manufacturers, that design and make custom trade show displays, portable and modular displays, pop-up booths and tabletops. For more information, or to get started on a new exhibit, call us at (800) 676-3976 or email [email protected]