Integrating social media into your trade show and event marketing plan is a great way to enhance your company’s next trade show presence.  Here are some ideas on using social media to connect with your prospects, customers and show attendees for optimal results before, during and after the event. Using the pre-show and post-show ideas will also help stretch your trade show marketing efforts over a longer time period instead of just the limited number of days at the event.

Pre-Show

  • networkingFind out what the official hashtag is for the show. Start following it 2-4 weeks prior to the show to learn trends and connect with key players. Use the hashtag and promote your presence 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.
  • Decide on ONE simple incentive to encourage visitors to your booth and promote it via eMarketing, word-of-mouth & social media – avoid over-complication.
  • 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 specific media contacts via Twitter or Linkedin. You can invite them to your booth to see new products, attend a presentation you are giving, or discuss writing about a story idea.  Press contacts like having photos and story ideas to write and tweet about.
  • Holding a VIP Party or other special event?  Create a Facebook event; invite people and create some buzz prior to the party.
  • Be helpful: If you know the area and the show well, give your audience some interesting tips and ideas on how to make the most of the event

At The Show

  • If you have a customer who is ecstatic 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.
  • 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.
  • Trade shows 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.
  • 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.
  • Booth photo: Take a photo of your booth on day one before the doors open.  Include your smiling team and include a welcoming message.  There’s a good chance this will be re-tweeted by people & the official show account
  • Think outside the event: It’s not just about the physical event; many will be following online
    Calendar

    Take time to schedule posts to go out during the event day

  • Planned posts: Take time to schedule posts to go out during the event day, rather that struggle to post updates on the fly
  • Monitor live tweets: Looking for people talking about the show and invite them along.  You’ll be surprised how many do.  Visitors are often looking for a good reason to stop by and will respond well to a personal invitation
  • Be fun: Look for interesting things to tweet about and always include a photo.   You’ll get more benefit from tweeting one funny or interesting photo than a hundred “come and visit us” tweets – as long as you use the official hashtag

Post Event

  • After each show day closes, post about your key take-aways from the day.  People often catch-up with the day’s events on the way home from an event so this is a great time to be active
  • Go through 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.