Make Your Trade Show Social!

 
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Trade shows often get a collective groan. Participation can be a lot of work and typically, a lot of money; and once it’s over, everyone sings, “Is that all there is?” Often, all those visitors don’t turn into leads and all you’re left with are several cartons of branded pens.

If you dread tradeshows, you are not alone. More than half of marketers these days feel the same way. However, don’t give up on trade shows if they are important for your business. When social media is properly integrated into your show, the effort and expense are much more effective. It’s not surprising. Trade shows and social media actually have a lot in common. Both are designed to draw attention through direct, personal contact, and by doing so, pull followers into a sale cycle. When used together, they can be a powerful force.

A triple whammy

It’s what some might call a triple whammy. Trade shows without social media are a stand-alone event. But when you use social media ahead, before, during and after a show, you increase your chances of connecting with more qualified prospects.

Before the show

Social media provides a great way to build up some buzz ahead of a trade show. Use your social media platforms to give people a reason to come to the show, and visit your booth.

  • Send out a message ahead, perhaps with some kind of offer or special invitation; or attach a teaser video about a new product you’ll be demonstrating.

  • 2-3 weeks ahead, start tweeting, posting, and connecting; e.g. send personal invites through LinkedIn; set up a Facebook event page; post Twitter updates about who’s attending, who’s presenting, why this is going to be such an important show.  

  • Find out what the tradeshow’s official hashtags are for the show, and then, “listen in” on trends and what everyone is talking about ahead of the event.

  • Consider creating a hashtag specific to your company or campaign that puts together all online conversations about your event.

During the show

During the show (when attendees have crowded the aisles but not at your booth) social media is the best way to promote visiting your booth. Live updates, ideas, offers and images also provide a way to extend the show experience to those who can’t be there.

  • Post real-time comments and photos during the event to let everyone know the latest “news” and create a live stream of conversation. (Set up a schedule for the number of posts each day so you don’t forget!) Or if your really savvy - then just set up the entire workflow so that it runs during the day and append your scheduled posts with stories.

  • Share leadership ideas from presentations and events.

  • Don’t forget to take photos or create video stories of special visitors, contests winners, presentations, etc. to post on your website once the show is over. Tip - taging people is always the best way to get engagement with social media.

After the event

Personalized follow-up after a trade show is essential. Use social media to enhance follow-up and increase engagement.

  • Extend offers, announce winners of draws, post photos of booth visitors, publish thank you’s and appreciations

  • Share favorite posts and report on show feedback.

  • Write a blog post about participating in the show. You could use the seminar discussions, customer questions, or a story as the topic of your post.

  • If you held a seminar or have other educational materials from the show, share content after the event.

If you need any help with your social media marketing strategy or a specific social campaign, let us help. Contact Maguire Marketing Group to get your social media presence off the ground and on the web.