Integrating social media into your tradeshow and event marketing plan is a great way to enhance your company’s next tradeshow presence. As a Certified Tradeshow Marketer (CTSM), I have promoted and exhibited at more tradeshows than my family has fingers and toes! But now as a Social Media/Community Manager, it is fun to integrate the two worlds together. Here are some ideas on using social media to connect with your prospects, customers and show attendees before, after, and during your events for optimal results.
Pre-Show Social Media Marketing
- Find out what the tradeshow’s official hashtags are for the show, and start following it 2-4 weeks prior to the show to learn trends and connect with key players. Use the hashtag and promote how you will be at the show on Twitter. Consider creating a hashtag specific to your company or campaign.
- Often new products or services are introduced at trade shows. Create a teaser video on YouTube to share prior to the show.
- What is the incentive to get people to the show at your booth? Share a photo that will get them excited and entice people to come check it out.
- Do you have Linkedin connections that you would like to personally invite to your booth or maybe have a lunch meeting with? Go ahead and send them a personal Linkedin message and ask to connect in person at the event.
- Create a landing page on your website specific for the show or event. This will be a great way to direct your booth visitors directly to information that pertains to them and have measurable web statistics as well.
- Is your company sponsoring an event or a speaker at the show? Be sure to promote your involvement to your followers to the special event or seminar ahead of time via social media.
- Connect with industry specific media contacts via Twitter or Linkedin, and ask them to stop by your booth to see new products, attend a seminar you are speaking at, or consider writing about XYZ story idea. Press contacts will like having many photos and story ideas to write about and tweet about.
- Holding a VIP Party or other special event? You could create a Facebook event pre-show to invite people and create some buzz prior to the party.
At-Show Social Media Marketing
- If you meet a customer who is estatic about your product or has a great story, ask if you can to take their photo (or video), then share their photo with their story or testimonial via social media.
- Images will be a great way to give people who are not at the show a glimpse into the happenings. Not all the photos have to be on the show floor – photos after show hours or at special events, can also be fun.
- If you are speaking or sponsoring a speaker at the conference, take video of it to share later. Make sure the speaker has a microphone or videotaping is close enough to adequately hear video.
- Tradeshows and conferences are busy but don’t forget that you can schedule tweets and Facebook posts. This could be particularly useful if you are presenting on a topic at a specific time – schedule tweets of key talking points during your presentation for your seminar attendees and those who could not make it. I like to use Hootsuite for scheduling tweets.
- Contests or giveaways can combine social media with visiting the booth in person. For instance, you could advertise a contest in your booth, have entries come thru the Facebook page, and then have the winners come back to the booth to get their prize.
- Include icons, web addresses, QR codes, and/or calls-to-action to your social networks in your booth display as appropriate.
- Remember, one reason for participating in social media while you are at the show, is to “bring the show” to those people who cannot physically be there. Posting timely photos and show updates will help attendees who are hundreds of miles away feel like they are there at the show with you.
Post-Show Social Media Marketing
- Go thru you leads, business cards, and notes to see if there are people you met that you can connect with on Linkedin, follow on Twitter, or Like their business page. Make yourself more memorable by including a personal note or comment along with the connection.
- 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.
- Follow up with your leads and connections via email and make sure your email includes links to all your social media accounts.
- If you held a seminar or have other educational materials from the show, it is great content to share after the event. You could share video clips of the seminar, slides on Sharepoint, or links to a PDF handout via social media.
These are just a handful of ideas to make your next tradeshow more social. Using the pre-show and post-show ideas will also help stretch your tradeshow marketing efforts for a longer time period instead of just a few days.