Social trade show strategies are mandatory for success
Social trade show strategies are mandatory for all booth sizes. When it comes to trade shows, bigger isn’t necessarily better; in fact, most experts agree that the most successful trade shows – in terms of quality of leads – are the ones small enough to allow trade show presenters to interact with visitors. Connecting with your leads after the show, however, isn’t always a matter of face-to-face communication only; the rapid pace of digitalization in today’s world has made social media platforms more relevant than ever and the ‘social’ factor is becoming a key determinant of trade shows’ success.
Over seventy-five percent of marketers believe that social media is one of the best ways to keep track of spontaneous moments during a show, and seventy-eight percent see it as a channel to experience new show activities. More than fifty percent of marketers also claim that a strong social media presence brings more people to a booth, and another thirty percent believe it generates new contacts and helps with recruitment.
Social trade show activities for pre-show marketing
If nothing else, social media used before the show generates a buzz which is of the essence when it comes to the success of a trade show. As a presenter, you want people to talk about your company and the more they talk, the higher the likelihood they – and their friends and families – will show up at your booth. Social media can greatly impact your company’s success at the next trade show but to do it right, you need to utilize it at every stage of the process.
During the pre-show preparation, for instance, make sure to check the tradeshow’s official hashtags on Twitter. As a rule of thumb, start following them at least 3-6 weeks prior to the event. This should give you plenty of time to learn about the hottest trends, identify and connect with the key players and come up with an effective social media marketing strategy. Take your time to research hashtags specific to your company, too – the more specific they are, the higher the chance they’ll attract quality leads.
Facebook and Youtube are other platforms that allow you to connect with potential leads and visitors prior to the trade show. Consider creating a page for the event and share photos of the preparation process – packing and booth construction shots and any sort of quality content that will generate a buzz. You can also create a teaser video of the preparation and help your leads get to know you and the people you work with better.
Last but not least, don’t underestimate the power of LinkedIn. Currently one of the largest social media platforms, it’s also the only one that specifically targets professionals. You can connect with industry-specific media contacts on LinkedIn and invite them to your booth or a seminar you’re holding.
Social trade show activities during the show
Social media can be a life-saver during the actual show, too. Try and convert your best customers into your most passionate brand advocates; if you’re approached by a visitor who feels especially ecstatic about your products, ask them if you can take a video or a photo of them and share it on social media. Testimonials and word-of-mouth marketing are two of the most powerful strategies when it comes to promoting a business.
During the actual show, make sure to show not just the serious business side but the personal one too. Take snippets of funny moments and share pictures from the booth; it might also be a good idea to live stream the whole event and give potential leads who might’ve stayed at home a chance to experience the trade show from a distance.
Contents and giveaways are an easy, yet effective way to generate a buzz around your next trade show and as such, should be a part of your pre-event social media strategy. However, you can also advertise a contest in the booth during the show and have entries come through your Facebook page. And while you might be too busy interacting with your visitors to share quality content during the show, remember that you can always schedule posts on Facebook and Twitter.
Social trade show strategies for post-show marketing
Of course, a strong social media campaign doesn’t end when the event finishes. Post-show marketing can help strengthen your online presence and build a following for your next trade show. Consider using tools like Dux-Soup, a Google Chrome extension which allows you to keep track of LinkedIn profiles you visit and compile a list for later reference. This should make reaching out to your leads after the event much easier. You can thank them for attending the event which will not only strengthen your personal relationship with them but will create an additional buzz around your company (and don’t forget to give shout-outs to the employees and vendors who cater the event). Reach out and connect with your leads and group members on LinkedIn, or follow them on Twitter; it’s always a good idea to add a personal note or a comment along with the connection to make yourself more memorable.
If you held a seminar during the show or have any educational materials, you can channel them into your post-event social media campaign, too. Use LinkedIn Publisher to share good content; every time someone interacts with your articles, they will become visible to their network too, greatly expanding your reach.
Social media has become less of a luxury and more of a necessity when it comes to running a successful business and in the age of digitalization, staying relevant is of the essence. Utilizing social media platforms like Twitter or LinkedIn before, during and after the event can help you attract valuable leads, promote your company and your booth and establish a strong online presence which will turn every trade show you take part in a booming success.