Trade shows and social media actually have similarities: they use the power of imagery to draw attention, they benefit from dedicated followers, and they can be integrated into other aspects of marketing. Oddly enough, those who invest their time in captivating an audience on their trade shows do not implement the same gravitas in their social media campaigns. Integrating your trade show and social media enhances and galvanizes the company's presence.
Social media can help take care of blind spots
Roughly 64 percent of marketers that utilize trade shows are disappointed with their results, with top reasons including the cost of attendance, not positioning their displays in the right spot on the conference floor, and dissatisfied leads. Not only that, but a large percentage also are frustrated by the lack of media coverage that their company receives during and after a trade show. Nearly 64 percent believe that a trade show is only worthwhile if you're able to speak in front of a large audience or demonstrate their product beforehand.
This is where social media steps in. With the use of social media, marketers have the opportunity to demonstrate their product and to showcase their services to the masses. Connecting with prospects and clients in person is one of the main drivers when it comes to sales and marketing, but social media can act as a proxy. It's best to engage with customers and their needs well before the trade show actually start. A trade show survey demonstrated, the majority of marketers noted that Twitter was one of the more useful social media tools for trade shows, followed closely by LinkedIn. Here are ways that you can integrate social media to ensure that your trade shows become more cost-effective.
Use social media as a platform for a pre-show. Locate the hashtags that the official trade show would use, and start using them a couple of weeks before the actual show starts. This will position your tweets and messages for exposure, giving you the opportunity to promote your brand and product. Also, consider creating a hashtag specific to your campaign. Go a step further by setting up a teaser video on YouTube and share it before the show—this is an effective way of getting people interested. Further, incentivize clients by sharing photos on your LinkedIn profile and personally inviting your connections to your booth.
Creating a separate landing page on your website for the trade show can be a hub for those who are interested in finding more information about your product and where you will be located in the convention center. Promote your involvement to your followers and tweet it to industry media.
How you use social media after a trade show also matters
It's also important that you follow up after the trade show, especially if you made valuable contacts. Go through your leads and note any individuals you met that you can connect with on social media and follow their business pages. Stand out from the crowd by leaving a comment or explaining your interaction. You can then write a blog post on your website about your participation and the conversations that you made with your connections. Follow up with your leads and inform them of your blog posts. If your post is particularly valuable and has images and video, then your leads may share your website, opening up a new platform for clients and brand loyalists.
Kristin Hovde is the website content manager for Smash Hit Displays, an online displayer of trade show displays, which includes custom displays, trade show rental displays, and truss displays. Along with being the writer for Smash Hit Displays’ blog, she has had her work published on various other websites, such as TSNN, Business.com, Duct Tape Marketing, and Events in America.