Effectively Integrating Social Media And The Trade Show

You want to stand out amongst the sea of other vendors at the trade shows you attend, right? But is there a simple way to accomplish that effectively? You can hit the Internet with a fancy advertising campaign, but if you aren’t pulling your social media sites into the mix, you’re missing out on a big boost in exhibit traffic. You can increase the visibility of your brand significantly, and keep those connections you make at the trade show strong long after the show ends.


Doesn’t it make sense? Your goal at any trade show is to make new business relationships and connections. How can you keep up those relationships easily? Social media. What’s more, you can reach people who might not be able to get to your exhibit booth through these new connections. The more you get them to engage with you on your social media sites, the more visibility you are going to get. It seems simple, but many miss out on this opportunity.


The Problem: Inactivity


So you’ve done the hard work at the trade show, drawing people to stop at your booth with the effective exhibition design from Blazer Exhibits. Brochures and business cards are in the hands of all visitors, with all of this promotional material featuring links to your social media sites (or QR codes that take people directly to the site without trouble, something people appreciate!) The new connection returns to the office, and goes to like your Facebook page and follow your Twitter account. After following for some time, they realize something: there’s nothing going on. This person sees that you’ve got some great promotions, but it’s only detailed on your website and in an email newsletter. Your social media accounts are like a ghost town!


Email newsletters are effective, but for some busy professionals, it’s the last place they are going to look. Think about your inbox – how full is it with stuff you could read, but just delete because it isn’t high on your priority list that day? Think about all of the mailing lists people sign up for. Do you think they’re reading all of the stuff that ends up in their inbox? Most of the time, they skim the subject lines for something important, so if your subject isn’t grabbing them, they aren’t reading – and they’re missing out on your big promotion.


They are most likely obtaining their information from their Facebook or Twitter feed. According to the State of Inbound Marketing Report for 2013, 52% of marketers picked up leads from Facebook. 74% of those marketers say that Facebook is essential for generating new leads. And for good reason: 80% of the customers using social media in the US would rather learn about your company through your Facebook page rather than your website.


The Solution


It isn’t too late to fix this. It is simple to integrate your trade show efforts with your social media campaign.


Giveaways and Promotions. Everyone loves free stuff. Plan a giveaway of something that you plan to showcase at the trade show that requires users to like, share, and/or retweet a post. Not only will these sneak peek posts help to generate excitement about your new product, it will snag you a slew of new followers and fans just through the simple act of sharing and liking. Or take the approach of many businesses by asking people to take a picture of themselves with a new product right at the trade show and tweet it, share it on Facebook, or post on Instagram with a specific hashtag. This will draw people to the trade show who might not have attended before.


Connect With Other Vendors. Another great strategy is to spotlight other companies that are going to be at the trade show on your social media pages, and ask them to return the favor. Let’s say you tag the other company in a post on Facebook. Not only do your followers see that post, but so do the other company’s followers, who might not yet have connected with you. It’s a win-win for both of you! Start with the business in the neighboring booth and branch out from there. Plus, it is a great way to show that you are supportive of those in your industry. Customers will love that!


Shout-outs. Customers love being recognized publicly. Make them feel special – after meeting them and getting their contact information, tag them in a social media post. Something like, “It was great to meet @customername today at the @yourcompanyname booth!” They’ll likely reply, solidifying the connection. Added bonus: followers of that connection will see it and likely check your brand out, bringing in more connections and potential customers.


Photos Are Powerful. If your company uses Instagram, great! If not, no worries – you can still do this by posting photos to Facebook or Twitter. Post “behind-the-scenes” photos from the show, such as booth setup, lunch breaks, customers schmoozing with you, etc. Customers love this stuff!


Social media is pushing its way to the forefront of marketing strategies. If you aren’t putting this channel to good use, it’s time to do something about it. Do you have any effective strategies our readers might find useful for their own social media trade show marketing efforts? Or maybe you have questions about putting social media to work for your business during trade show season. Share it with us by commenting below.

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