Many business use social media as a way to connect and listen to their customers. Although trade show’s seem like a “traditional” form of doing business and social media is “new age,” they actually complement each other perfectly. By using social media while exhibiting at a trade show, you’re able increase your reach.
According to James Burbank, you usually have 3 seconds to catch someone’s attention at a trade show. They can then decide to approach you for more information or move on to another booth. By using social media, you’re given another opportunity to try to reach them.
There are couple of different things you have to do before going to a trade show to prepare your social media campaign:
- Decide who will be in charge of social media. Hopefully there is more than one person at your booth so that you are able to divide the responsibilities. If there’s only going to be one person at your booth, think of other creative solutions so that social media is still being used but it’s not consuming all of your time. You can try having a sign that mentions your social media accounts and where they can follow/add you.
- Take lots of picture and videos, especially if you’re a sponsor! By becoming a sponsor, you can show that you are active in the industry. Even if you aren’t a sponsor, pictures and videos can be used in many different ways and they’re good to have on hand.
- Ben Camerota from Business 2 Community says that you should use social media to nurture your cold leads. Most people that attend are likely not ready to purchase right at the trade show. If you’re able to connect with them through some of the social media sites, they’re more likely to remember you and build a relationship.
Here are some more specific tips on how to use each individual social media site:
Blogs: Most websites have a blog nowadays and if you don’t have one, setting one up is usually easy and free. Blog’s are a great tool to show that you are a leader in your industry and it allows you the freedom to write about any subject you want in length.
What to post on your blog:
- Write articles about what to expect at a trade show and offer advice, especially to those that have never attended a trade show. People want VALUE.
- You don’t have to just write about your specific industry, write about a topic that can be used in a number of different industries, for example, you can write about sales or marketing.
Facebook: Facebook is the most popular form of social media for both everyday users and businesses, therefore, it is one that you have to nurture consistently. Facebook is used by young and older crowds and has most activity than other social networks.
What to post on Facebook:
- The days leading up to the trade show, posts pictures or status updates about what you’re doing to prepare for the trade show.
- You can give them a glimpse at what products you’ll be showcasing as well, which can create some buzz.
- Try to ask questions through facebook so that you’re able to create a dialogue or respond and comment to other people’s posts that will also be attending the trade show.
- Create competitions or offer discounts revolving around the trade show.
Twitter: Although posting on social media sites more than a couple of times a day is frowned upon, Twitter embraces it. Twitter is popular because it offers the most up to date information and you can post more frequently. Whether before the event or at the event, make sure you know the official hashtag for the trade show and use it on everything you post. You are able to search for all people using the same hashtag and if you’re using it, they’ll be able to see your posts as well. #thisiswhatwemean #tradeshow #hashtags #dontusetoomanyhashtags #becool
What to post on Twitter:
- Take pictures of speakers and tweet at them, let them know you enjoyed their presentation or ask them questions.
- Lucas Runge suggests having a Favorite tweet competition for the funniest or more clever tweets. It doesn’t require much work on your part but it makes it fun for those participating.
- Ask attendees to tweet at you and every two hours or so, you can choose a winner to receive a gift card.
- If you have SWAG to give out, James Burbank mentions that you can give a prize to anyone that takes a selfie at your booth. The people taking a selfie won’t mind and you’ll get extra publicity!
- Along with the SWAG, you can send out a tweet that says the next 20 (or however many) people who visit your display will get a prize. Just make sure that the Swag you’re passing out is something they’ll really enjoy (sorry, but pens won’t cut it).
Google +: If you’re not sure whether using Google + will be worth it, just remember that it is tied to Google and Google is our best friend! Take advantage of how simple it is to use and the impact that it can have. If you’re not sure what to post, treat it like you would Facebook.
What to post on Google+:
- Post picture of your booth and your staff. When people are searching for you, they will be able to get a glimpse of what you do and who you are.
- Create a community with leaders in your industry or a community for those specifically attending the trade show.
- Ask for reviews from previous customers before the trade show. Reviews have a huge impact on people’s buying decisions and since many people will be looking at your page, they’ll notice your 5 Star Rating!
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is mostly used for networking purposes. Although you might not be able to use it as much during the trade show, it is a great tool to connect with people you met after the trade show.
What to post on LinkedIn:
- Write an article about your experience at the trade show and give an overview of new products, speakers & what you learned.
- Request to connect with people. If you weren’t able to connect with them while at the trade show, take their business cards and search for them after.
YouTube: Making videos for YouTube, especially if you’re a smaller business, will give you a competitive edge since not everyone is doing it. Wayne Ford says that it’s important to “Make Content, Not Ads.” You should make the videos creative and engaging. Since people are constantly being sold to, that’s the last thing they’ll want from a video. Video catches customer’s attention more than text and pictures, so if you don’t have any you might want to hire someone to help you make a professional video or make your own!
What to post on YouTube:
- Take videos and pictures and make a compilation video that showcases what you’re doing at a trade show. Make sure that you label your video’s properly so that people are able to find it.
- Ask for people’s opinions on your brand or products and record some testimonials.
Use social media to your advantage, just don’t forget to be courteous, professional and to avoid sensitive topics on your social media pages! Don’t make every post about selling, find creative ways to show them why you’re great.