Usage of Social Media at trade shows
Social Media has become a major tool in the marketer’s toolbox. It can also be applied to Trade Shows and exhibitions strategies. Here are a few tips for making the best of Social Media around business events.
Create an event tag
Whether you are an event organizer or an exhibitor, creating your very own event hashtag is the first step. Invent a hashtag and quickly check online if it already used by someone else (make sure it is truly unique!).
If you are an exhibition organizer, register your event hashtag on EventHashtag.com.
You will now use the identifier everywhere and encourage people to use it to. This is the first step to creating a mini-community around your event.
Before the event – make some noise
Do you know the date and location of your event? Perfect! Exhibitors, do you know your booth number? Awesome! It is time to promote your booth actively.
Start publicizing your event on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn! For Twitter, don’t be afraid to mention it every day, always with the support of your hashtag.
For Facebook, once a week shall be good enough and once every couple of weeks for LinkedIn is all you need. Don’t even bother with your hashtag on LinkedIn, it wouldn’t make a difference.
Start as early as possible: 6 months in advance isn’t too early! Just adjust the frequency as the date approaches and don’t be too overwhelming a few months ahead.
Be smart about your promotion: think about your goal. What you wish to achieve is have people talk about it and drag additional traffic to your event / booth. Yet, you look for targeted crowd, not random people.
Try some marketing approach – make people excited about joining! Offer some exclusive deals through your Social Media channels, invite them to visit you in exchange for some goodies, discounts or exclusive peek at your novelties. Don’t give everything at once: keep the momentum going by discovering your offering bit by bit.
During the show – keep the heat!
You should have two people handling your Social Media channels during the event: one from your booth, one from your office.
The one in the office should be in charge of getting people to talk – engage with people who’ve shown interest prior to the event, answer questions and comments and make sure to follow-up on every post that somehow mentions your hashtag.
The one on your stall will definitely be too busy to reply all messages. Instead, he should be sharing photos and videos of your booth. Give quick peeks at product demo, share exclusive info and make people who couldn’t attend feel like they are part of it.
Don’t hesitate asking questions and offering gifts – get people to talk about you and use your tag to drive additional traffic!
Engage with the event organizer as well – good ones usually reply quickly and don’t hesitate to exchange with you, giving your messages additional visibility and credibility.
Keep in mind that to achieve that you will need WiFi on your booth! Plan for it.
Interact with your visitors
While capturing leads at your booth, ask your visitors if they have a Twitter handle you could use to interact with them.
Immediately pass this handle to your back-office team and get them to thank the visitor for his visit, ask about his experience, share some pictures, etc. By doing so you increase the interactivity over your Social Media channels, get your hashtag more popular and eventually drive more traffic to your booth. Most importantly, you build online relationships that will live beyond your event.
Being active on Social Media during an event isn’t an easy task and should always be a secondary priority (the first one being serving visitors and capturing leads) but can bring real additional value – organize yourself to get the best of your event and get more business on your booth!