Trade shows provide a great opportunity for businesses to showcase their products and services to prospects in related industries. Still, the overwhelming size of many trade shows can make it difficult to stand out from competitors. As a result, marketing savvy exhibitors often turn to social media for trade shows to connect with potential clients and entice them to visit their booths. Check out our top tips for leveraging social media to target trade show attendees.
Tweet Why People Should Visit Your Booth
Use Twitter to disseminate your trade show promotional messages. Any information you’ve shared through direct mail, emails, and ads can be redistributed via social networks. Emphasize the unique and worthwhile things available at your booth, from new products and special offers to fun contests and giveaways. Start sending a few tweets each week one to two months before the expo. Be sure to use the show’s hashtag and your Twitter handle in all of these mailings/emails.
Include the Trade Show Hashtag
This useful symbol is a hyperlink that lets viewers see all recent messages associated with that hashtag. Adding the show’s hashtag to your tweets increases the likelihood of reaching attendees both before and during the trade show– and reaching more of them overall. You could easily build on your network of followers this way. It’s possible to connect with potential vendors as well. As people begin to like you and follow you, be sure to thank them personally with a simply reply. Start collecting those contacts in your CRM database.
Access any one of a number of Web programs that allows tweets to be planned and sent on a regular basis. You can plan your entire Twitter campaign in advance, freeing you up for other marketing efforts. You won’t need to constantly send new tweets since the information is already organized and scheduled for timely distribution.
Use Facebook for Professional Purposes
The leading social media network has grown beyond its focus on friends and become a powerful tool for both B2C and B2B businesses (more effectively for B2C). More and more companies are creating pages that allow them to connect with consumers on a more personal level. Prior to the trade show, set up a Facebook page (if your company doesn’t already have one) and start communicating in a more casual way with your clients and prospects. This is where your company’s culture and personality can shine through. It has been said that people buy from people, not companies.
Facebook Can Automatically Tweet
You can set your company’s Facebook page to automatically tweet on Twitter whatever content you post on Facebook. Be sure to include the hashtags and formatting so that your posting is equally clear and meaningful on both platforms.
Share News, Images, Videos from the Trade Show
Use Facebook as a “virtual booth” for people who couldn’t attend the actual show. Announce new products, valuable discounts and promotions, and anything you are sharing at the show. Gamification usually draws interest. You could even have non-attendees sign up for an absentee raffle of some sort; they will feel included and they’ll have a chance to win something.
The posting immediately prior to this one described six ways of using social media to promote your trade show booth. This only scratched the surface, so we thought social media warranted another post.
Social media is a promising tool when it comes to reaching your target audience. For one thing, it’s very inexpensive, or free in many cases. Also, it requires little time and effort for the recipient, who simply checks his/her news feeds. Plus it’s fun– much more fun than memos and emails. It’s a wonderful accoutrement to help convey your company’s personality and culture.
Use YouTube to Promote Yourself
This popular network lets businesses literally broadcast themselves to the world, so take advantage of this exposure by making a video about your company’s upcoming trade show appearance. Be sure the video title includes the name of the trade show and your company, as well as your booth number. Create brief videos describing why people should visit your booth. During and/or afterward, post videos from the show floor featuring contests/drawings, product demos, or attendee feedback. Post links to the videos on your website or blog and email them directly to contacts.
Social Media Is Social
The casual, personal nature of social media is what makes it so inviting for people to read a post or view a video, and leave a comment or click like. Impromptu videos taken on your phone make for interesting content. The best posts feature relaxed, candid interaction because they create a more personal connection with the audience. As we’ve said before, people don’t buy from companies, they buy from people.
Use Blogs to Get the Word Out
Blogging is a good way to regularly communicate about your news, products, and expo appearances. You may want to launch your own blog, or tap into an existing blog relevant to your industry. Before the show, use your blog to provide details of your booth, including location, promotions you’re giving away, and demos you’ve scheduled. Blogs run on fresh content, so keep adding updates.
Share With Colleagues
Find a trusted vendor(s) or colleague(s) and share one another’s blogs. This greatly increases your potential audience. Write guest blogs for one another also. Developing these types of relationships can ensure a continual supply of new content, not simply for this expo but also for future expos and beyond.
Social media can help enrich the trade show experience. Ironically, it isn’t about the technology; it’s about the people!