The right trade show events prove to be a valuable investment time and time again. But just showing up to the booth isn’t enough anymore. Social media is a great tool to incorporate into your event marketing strategy. And if done correctly, a flashy booth won’t be the only thing making a statement at your company’s trade show. Here are 4 ways to use social media for trade shows.
Show off your company’s culture
Take this opportunity to let the public in on who your company is, not just what it does. Have fun with the messages, and grab attention by incorporating things like memes or .gifs in your posts. Caution: we know .gifs are exciting, but don’t get too carried away. In order to really grab attention, these messages need to be something special. Something your audience doesn’t see from you every day.
If you’re new to your company or not in a customer-facing role, ask a seasoned co-worker or a colleague that regularly interacts with customers and prospects. Get an idea of who they are as people beyond their Salesforce account. See what they’re interested in outside of work – who do they follow and interact with on social? Even though this is still a business event, using social media for trade shows is an opportunity to show a side of your organization some may have never seen before. Even long-time customers.
Create pre-show hype
Trade shows sometimes carry a stigma. Depending on the industry (and event), that stigma can range from “downright boring” to “a waste of time”. But, not your tradeshows! From now on, you’re using social media to get people stoked for the upcoming show. Here are some ideas:
Run giveaway campaigns
It’s no secret that people LOVE free stuff. Keep with the trend of being light and fun on social: have people enter to win your giveaway by doing something fun, like tweeting a silly selfie at your company’s account. Or, if your team is giving away something that’s pretty valuable, you can ask for a bit more, like for registrants to fill out a form. Then, you can announce the winner on social, maybe through a Facebook Live broadcast.
Either way, you’re creating some buzz around your company and the show.
Reach beyond the confines of your booth
Trade shows require a lot of planning. Then, before you know it, the show is over and you didn’t talk to as many people as you wanted. That’s where using social media for trade shows is really key.
Facetime in the booth is great for fostering relationships, but using social media allows you to sustain existing relationships and create new ones. With all the noise on social media, that can be tough. But it can be wildly successful if done well. Check out this example of a way we expanded a client’s reach beyond the booth and had great success:
Use teasers to be exciting and relevant
There was a giveaway happening at the trade show booth. To get the most out of it, we decided to release some clues and teaser images about what the giveaway was. We stayed relevant by starting with the first clue and revealing the giveaway within a couple of days. That was just enough time to get people interested and keep them interested. If we continued much longer, the suspense would have died and we would have lost our audience’s attention.
Making the giveaway a mystery made it exciting, but we also used the advice we’re giving you. The company’s culture was shown through fun responses to people interacting with the posts, appropriate .gifs, and emojis. Everyone was entertained by the giveaway buzz!
We said the project lasted two days, which was also the timeframe of the trade show. In 5 tweets, we reached 55% more people than were attending the actual show and had nearly 400 interactions. 95% of the people who entered the giveaway were people we had never contacted before. And that doesn’t even include the qualitative impact created among our client’s audience!
Put a face with the name
Even though you might not ever get face time with some of your social audience, you can still prove you’re human just like everyone else. Introducing the people who make your company what it is makes your organization more personable. It reminds followers that there is a person behind your products, services, and yes, even your social media accounts.
A great way to do this when going to trade shows is by sharing video clips of your team. Take a few minutes and record a 20-30 second clip of a team member promoting his or her upcoming speaking session. Or share a recording of someone important at the company who wishes he could be at the show but couldn’t make it. If you’re feeling really bold, hop on Facebook Live! Introduce your entire team and give viewers a tour of your booth, making people who weren’t able to attend feel like they were included, too.
We are wrapping up this post with the simplest but most notable tip on how to use social media for trade shows: Have conversations with your audience. Take advantage of opportunities for exchanges. This makes people feel important and shows your audience that you’re interested in them. Suddenly, your social media presence has shifted from talking at your audience to speaking with your audience. A response on Twitter or Facebook that took you less than a minute to send could very well create a lasting impression or meaningful relationship with a potential customer. It could spark loyalty and commitment from an existing customer. Or, it could include someone who otherwise would have had no connection to your brand. There’s power in having a conversation, even on social media.
Did you know that DemandZEN regularly works with clients as they prepare for trade shows? Our team of marketing gurus and sales enablers craft detailed campaigns that ensure you’re getting the most out of your events. What’s more, we assist with the lead follow-up that sometimes gets pushed aside in the days after a conference or trade show. Reach out to us if you’re interested in taking your trade show marketing to a new level!