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Using Social Media at Tradeshows

May 13, 2014

You will have heard the Social Media term thrown around a million times, with a variety of “Do this” and “Don’t do that’s”. And amongst the sheer quantity of information it is easy to get confused and overwhelmed as to what you can and should do.

You will have heard the Social Media term thrown around a million times, with a variety of “Do this” and “Don’t do that’s”. And amongst the sheer quantity of information it is easy to get confused and overwhelmed as to what you can and should do.

I’m a firm believer that there is not a one size fits all for social media, and what works brilliantly for one company simply won’t work for another. Keeping this in mind, I’ve put together some tips and tricks that you can use to promote your presence at a tradeshow by using Social Media. The trick is to try a number of different things and see what works for you and what doesn’t.

Let’s start with Facebook first. So you’ve set up your facebook fan page and got a good number of followers and you have a tradeshow coming up. First things first, set up an event page. Put in as much detail as possible, pictures from previous shows, times that you will be there, locations etc. Then invite every one of your Fans and Friends to the event to come and visit your stand. Then in preparation for the event, during the event and after the event you can send updates to your fans such as:

  • Only 5 more days till we will be at the ‘X’ Show
  • Setting up for the ‘X’ show now
  • Who’s coming to the ‘X’ show
  • What did you think of the show?

Use your common sense though and don’t post one every day for the week leading up and every hour before it starts, you can over do it very easily – Moderation is key. 
Remember, you can also be posting pictures as you do this to keep your fans interested. If you take photos of your booth through-out the day you can have a ‘Tag Yourself Competition”, where people tag themselves in the photos for their chance to win or for another incentive.

Twitter is very similar in a way to Facebook in terms of marketing events. However, one of my pet peeves is people and companies who post simultaneously to Twitter and Facebook. The occasional update that you post to both is fine, but you have to remember some people will be fans on Facebook and followers on Twitter so you need to provide them with something unique on both!

You want to use similar tactics that you used with Facebook, just varying it up a little bit for use on Twitter. You can still post updates such as 6 more days till the event, and who’s coming to the show, as well as any company updates or competitions, just make it different to what you have put on Facebook or post them at different times. You can also post pictures to Twitter using a service such as TwitPics and links to information or articles that might interest your prospective customers.

You can hold competitions on Twitter such as “Re-tweet our status and X lucky Retweeters will receive X incentive” (depending on your business and industry, and the number of followers). This allows you to get the information about your show to not only your followers, but your followers followers.

Using social media sites such as LinkedIn is a little bit trickier, as it is generally seen as more of a professional networking site, so aggressive marketing in not always appreciated. It is best to send any contacts a once off email or message inviting them to come visit your booth at the show and leave it at that. You may feel it is necessary to send a follow up message closer to the date, depending on how well you know your connections.

If you have a Blog set up, with a good following, you can also post an entry just prior to the show and just after. You might be launching a new product or service you can use the pre-show-post as an invitation to come check it out. You can then do a follow up post to tell everyone how the show went, maybe include some pictures so that those who couldn’t make it know what they missed out on.

The key when using any area of social media is interaction. Everything you do should be aimed at building your relationships – whether they are with existing customers, fans, followers, or facebook friends. It can take a while to build your page to the point where you are getting good interaction and communication – but once you do, it’s definitely worth it.

P.S. Don’t forget the most important part of a tradeshows success is follow up. If someone tags themselves in a photo, re-tweets a status or attends your event - make sure that you follow them up! It gives you a quick and easy way to communicate with potential customers and increases the likelihood of a significant return on your tradeshow investment. The worst thing you could do is to get a large number of contacts and interactions, and do nothing with them.