If you’ve ever attended a tradeshow, or a conference with an exhibit hall, you likely understand how difficult it is to stand out from the crowd. With rows and rows of booths to wander by, tradeshow attendees can easily get lost, overwhelmed or, worst of all, snagged by your competition before you get to them. How do you notify the people you want to talk to that you’re exhibiting, and how do you make sure that they visit your booth? For such a social marketing event, might I suggest including social media in your trade show marketing?
Yes, a flashy booth or unique giveaways will likely draw some attention, but if you want to engage those people that really matter to your business – your customers, your prospects, your future employees and others – then you’re going to have to be get in front of them early, and often, to make an impact. Tools like a company Facebook page or Twitter handle, or resources like a blog, can help you connect with these people weeks before the show, helping you engage them in meaningful conversations about your business online as well as at your booth.
To do this effectively, you’ll need to start building your following several months before the actual event. And you need to plan to regularly update your Facebook, blog and Twitter account even after the exhibit – regular communication with your customers, prospects and other stakeholders will be the best way to keep them engaged with your company well after the exhibit booths have closed.
Over my next three posts, I’ll share tips for incorporating social media in your trade show marketing.
Before the show:
- Start building buzz by talking about the show on your blog, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. Ask people questions about what they are hoping to see and learn, and start discussions about hot industry topics.
- Encourage people to follow you on Twitter for a chance to win a giveaway at the show. The giveaway can be something simple (everyone loves a free t-shirt), or enter them in a raffle to win a larger prize (think iPad or something equally desirable to your audience). Require them to visit your booth to claim their prize.
- Upload a video to your company’s YouTube channel (note: now would be a great time to start a YouTube channel, if you haven’t already). Use the tradeshow’s name in the title so anyone searching for the show will come across your video. Highlight what your company will be demonstrating at the show, or ask one of your subject matter experts to discuss some timely topic.
- Save time and keep up your communication by using a platform like Hootsuite.com or Tweetdeck.com to preschedule tweets leading up to and during the show. Make sure you use the tradeshow’s hashtag, as well as your own, so that your tweets are grouped with others talking about the show.
While these tips specifically discuss social media uses in trade show marketing, remember that you can use many of these same tactics to promote any event.
Stay tuned for my next post, where I’ll discuss ways to maximize your social media channels during your event.