7 Ways to Use Social Media at Your Trade Show

Categories: Social Media for Trade Shows, Trade Show Tips

Social media can be a powerful tool…when used correctly. Representing your company and brand at a trade show is good exposure, but coupling that with the power of social media and its widespread influence in today’s method of communication and you have a recipe for prime publicity. Think of social media as your golden tool in your toolbox as you plan for your next trade show. Below are just a few of the tactful ways one can use social media in this particular manner:

#1: Trade Show Hashtags

Show hashtags are the key to unlocking massive communication potential on social media. Hashtags can represent groups, ideas, or events, and by applying a hashtag to a post you are essentially marking it so others who want to see more posts within that interest can do so. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the major proponents of hashtags. For example, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year had the hashtag #CES2017. By applying this hashtag, you can inform your audience where your booth is located, post pictures and video from your booth, and so on. Most people participating in the show is also following that hashtag. An example of this could be “Having a blast at #CES2017 ! Look who showed up at Booth# 2485!” It’s all about reaching the most people possible and gaining interest.

#2 Email Your Existing Customers Before & After Your Show

While not considered to truly be “social media” in the typical same sense as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or even YouTube, email is still an excellent and viable system of getting your information out to the masses. Having a place on your website for current (and potential) customers to put their email address into a email list means that they want to be kept up-to-date with the newest installments in your company. In addition, this also ensures that your information will be received by people who are truly interested in your brand. Make sure to use this powerful tool and send an email blast out to these existing customers before the trade show as well as during in order to keep them informed, give them details such as booth location, important dates and times, and so forth, as well as any special offers that you may giving out during the show. It’s also a great idea to schedule appointments at your booth space using your email list.  Maybe since they are on the coveted email list, they get a little something extra if they show up (Think promo items or drink coupons).

#3 LinkedIn: “The Facebook for Professionals”

Sometimes referred to as the “Facebook for Professionals”, LinkedIn is a great way to not only reach a target audience base, but also to connect with influential people within your industry. Adding individuals to your professional network allows you to also connect with people they know, and so on and so forth. Continue to expand your LinkedIn network and soon you will have a massive web of people to reach out to. In addition, LinkedIn has a similar messaging feature that Facebook and Twitter have in which you can send a private message to a person directly. If you want to really make a connection personal, utilize this feature. If you meet someone who you want to stay in touch with for future business endeavors at a trade show, add them to your LinkedIn network and contact them after the show is over to get a discussion going.

#4 Inquire What Your Audience Uses

Social media can be fickle, as we can all remember the days of Myspace or Zynga. While the aforementioned forms of social media are all strong today, there could be a new technology that is making a new social media grow by leaps and bounds. Ask your trade show attendees what form of social media they use the most and go there. Also, ask your audience what they would like to see more from you on social media. Perhaps a lot of your audience are more visual and are therefore on a more picture-oriented platform like Instagram. If that’s the case, make sure to get posting on Instagram!

#5 Don’t buy Followers!

One way to gain a large following nowadays is to simply “buy” followers on social media. While this can make it appear that you have a larger fan base then you truly do, it is also an egregious lie and can ultimately backfire on you. Facebook will actually turn the tables on you and not show your posts if they get a whiff of this technique, since it has been abused at this point for inflating follower numbers.

#6 Have Realistic Social Media Expectations

Let’s be honest, there are certain products that are “cooler” than others. It’s how society is, and is an unavoidable truth of nature. The important thing is to not compare apples and oranges when it comes to social media followers in this regard. For example, if you sell trade show displays (like we do), chances are that you will not have as many followers as companies who sell motorcycle equipment or video game products. And that’s ok! It is not practical to compare your numbers to companies in that area. Take into account what you are selling, the consumer base you are targeting, and try to moderate your expectations accordingly. This can help you focus in on key areas of growth as well as techniques that can maximize the success rate of your particular business.

#7 Socialize IRL

IRL translates to “in real life”, and there is not any better version of “social media” than that. Face to face interactions are leaps and bounds beyond anything a computer can do. Go to after hours parties after the trade show. Find out which bar your colleagues are going to. It allows people to see who the face behind the screen is, and can make for truly lasting connections that are more than screen deep.

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