Due to ever evolving advancements in technology and techniques, businesses, large and small alike, can now market to literally thousands of consumers without ever meeting face-to-face. However, marketing practices like trade shows, conferences and seminars have withstood the test of time.
In-person events highlight the physical aspects of marketing – like the much needed personal interaction with clients and potential customers. Aisle upon aisle of relevant vendors and eager attendees can provide you with an arsenal of new leads and connections. While trade shows are more physical in nature, implementing a social media strategy in coordination with your trade show activities will allow you to maximize your presence before, during and after the event.
1. Utilize the official hashtag for the event. Start following the hashtag several weeks prior to the event to discover trends and connect with key players. When tweeting about the event, be sure to use the assigned hashtag.
2. Go ahead and create a hashtag specific to your company or trade show campaign. Attaching your hashtag to the official event hashtag will increase the exposure your company will receive when posting on Twitter.
3. Use social media to announce a promotion, contest, special hospitality event or giveaway for the event. You can create a teaser video or announce a secret code word that attendees will need for a prize or entry into a drawing. A simple tie in to your social media accounts can create significant buzz and increase traffic to your booth during the event.
4. Reach out to LinkedIn connections and personally invite them. Invite them to stop by your booth or to lunch, dinner, or an after-hours event while there.
5. Connect with trade specific media contacts and ask them to set up a meeting, stop by your booth to discuss a new product or attend a session you are hosting. Responding to tweets, retweeting posts and commenting on blogs are simple ways to engage media contacts.
During the Show Activities
6. Tradeshows and conferences are busy, so take advantage of scheduling some tweets and Facebook posts in advance. This could be particularly helpful if you are presenting on a topic at a specific time. You can schedule tweets about key talking points both before and during the presentation.
7. Use Facebook and Twitter as real-time news feeds for delivering up-to-the-minute content, photos and videos. Constant updates can provide valuable information to those people who cannot physically be there.
8. Include social media icons, web addresses, QR codes, and calls-to-action to your social networks in your booth display.
9. Offer attendees additional contest entries if they like your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter and LinkedIn.
10. Announce contest winners through your social media platforms. Advertise that the winner will be published on your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages and then have the winners come back to your booth to get their prize. Snap a photo of them with their prize and post it as well.
11. Create a quick event wrap-up and post it socially. Make sure to thank everyone for stopping by your booth or seminar session at the event.
12. Continue the conversation by writing a blog post about your participation in the show. You can focus on seminar discussions, common themes at the event or your overall experiences. Promote your post via social channels.
13. Connect with new prospects using LinkedIn’s premium feature called InMail. In the days following an event, valuable prospects often end up dealing with an email inbox that is flooded with messages from sales reps and marketers from the show. Stand out from the crowd by using LinkedIn InMail.
You can connect with any LinkedIn user with InMail, regardless of your previous history with them. Users will be notified of the new message with a LinkedIn alert email and more likely to read and respond to your InMail than they would a standard email.
14. Ensure that any email follow-up with your leads and connections includes links to all of your social media accounts.
These are just a handful of ideas to make your next event more social. Coordinate social media and trade shows or other events to stretch marketing efforts and drive increased exposure, more leads, and extensive networking opportunities.