Tradeshows are a fantastic way of marketing because you can meet your customers and prospects face-to-face to kindle a real relationship. When coupled with social media marketing, the sparks can really fly. Integrating trade shows and social media can make a big impact with the right strategy and tactics in place. Recently Marketing News, a publication of the American Marketing Association, wrote an article about Social Media Tactics to use at Tradeshows, and you can view it here. I was honored to be one of the people they they interviewed on the topic. Below are some more tips for firing up your tradeshow marketing with social media!
Pre-Show Planning Social Media Tactics – Ask Yourself
- What social networks are your show attendees using?
- Will the show management be using social media during the show?
- What audience am I trying to reach? Existing customers, new customers? People who are not at the show?
- Are there specific hashtags that the show management is using, or specific hashtags that you want to create for use before/during/ after the show?
- What are our goals for the show? How does social media tie in, or contribute to those goals?
Finding the Perfect Social Media & Content Mix
Your perfect mix of social media will depend on where your audience/customers/show attendees are most active online and what your goals of the show are. If just a handful of your customers are on Twitter, it may be better to focus on Facebook or Instagram. If your target market is more consumers, rather then B2B, then Linkedin is probably not the right medium. Look at where the show management is active – that could be a starting point. But if the show management is not active somewhere, where you think you should be, don’t let that stop you! You can lead the way in helping your industry colleagues connect via social media.
I like to use the 80/20 rule with social media: 80% of the content should be helpful and interesting information that may be related to your industry but not necessarily about your company or products. The other 20% could be on your new products, company news and show promotions, etc. At trade shows, this ratio may be a little bit different, since shows are more sales focused by nature. But with social media, a focus on education will have a longer lasting effect than a focus on sales.
Post-Show Social Media Tactics
Make sure to have a system for collecting leads that works for you. This does not have to be a fancy scanner, even pen and paper works great. Decide if you want to keep it simple, and just collect email addresses, or ask more questions that will help you qualify the lead and follow up with them later. Again, define your goals and how how you will measure show success. Here are some ways to more deeply connect with them after the show.
- With their permission, add their email address to your email marketing program or CRM. This follow up email should include other ways that they can connect with you via social media, and help to take them to the next step in the sales cycle whatever that may be.
- Like their company page on Facebook.
- Request to connect with them on Linkedin. Do not forget a personal message, stating that you met them at the show and why you want to connect.
- Follow their company (and/or the individual) on Twitter.
- Write a follow-up blog post highlighting what you enjoyed or found interesting at the show, and then of course share via social media. You could also include a link to the post on the email follow up. This is a great way to get people who were unable to attend “up to speed” as well.
More Resources on Integrating your Tradeshow Marketing with Social Media
Showcase Your Social Skills – Social Media (PDF) – This article originally appeared in the May 2015 issue of Marketing News, the flagship publication of the American Marketing Association.
8 Easy Ways to Use Social Media at Tradeshows
19 Ways to Integrate Social Media into your Next Tradeshow or Event
The Social Media Measurement Marathon (Exhibitor Magazine)