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Using Instagram Effectively On And Off The Trade Show Floor

Instagram is a photo-sharing app that is becoming increasingly popular for business marketing purposes. It’s a great way to reach new customers and get them to your booth exhibit. What’s Instagram about? So much more than just taking a quick picture and posting it with brand-specific hashtags! To use Instagram effectively, there are some things you need to know.

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Photograph products in clever ways. This is especially true of boring products that people don’t normally consider photo-worthy. Get creative with your images!

Hold a hashtag contest. You can use this on and off the trade show floor. Ask customers to stop by your booth and snap a picture, which they must post on Instagram with a specific hashtag to get an entry into the contest. If it isn’t trade show season, ask that customers take pictures of themselves using your products and post them with a specific hashtag.

Spotlight employees. People love to see the people behind the products they use everyday. By showcasing a new employee each week, or month, or whatever works for you, customers feel they know you better. This builds a higher level of trust, which leads to more sales. And it’s so easy to do!

“Behind the scenes” shots. Just like the employee spotlights, behind-the-scenes images allow people to see the how the products are created, and what goes into the process. Even just taking a picture of someone napping on the lounge room couch with a caption like “Worked too hard making your favorite ________” interests people. Again, it’s building a trust level by allowing customers to get to know you on a more personal level. You could carry this into trade shows by taking shots of booth set up or tear down, or catching a candid of an employee scarfing down their lunch.

Put geotagging to work for you. This is another great way to attract people to your business, especially if you tie it in to a giveaway! For example, a small Mexican restaurant ran a contest where patrons would take a picture while they ate. To enter the contest and have a chance at winning a $25 gift card, they asked that patrons simply tagged their location when they posted to Instagram. This works well at a trade show as well, and can successfully attract people who might not have gone before. It makes it super easy to find the convention center when you tag its location in the pictures you post from the show floor!

Encourage customer participation. Create a specific hashtag exclusively for your company or brand. While we already discussed contests using the hashtag, people don’t need an incentive to share. For example, Starbucks asks people on Instagram to tag their images featuring Starbucks coffee with #Starbucks. Do the same thing! It encourages user engagement and builds your list of followers, which translate into potential customers.

Excite customers for what’s to come. If you have a new product due to launch, or if you are launching a new product at a trade show, post sneak peeks on Instagram, or photo clues to get your audience excited!

DON’TS

Don’t use too many hashtags. Where Twitter curbs the excessive hashtag by limiting how many characters you can post, Instagram does not. Your users would appreciate it if you would stick to just a few hashtags rather than fifty of them.

Don’t post too much. We know you want to show off your killer custom display, but you should really refrain from posting too many images in one day. No one wants to see their feed flooded with pictures of your display and other trade show moments. While they might be interested in the first one, the plethora of images is sure to turn them off.

Don’t post too little. This can be worse than posting too much. A good amount of posts to effectively market your business from the trade show floor would be one to three posts per day. Don’t expect posting a few pictures in the beginning is enough. You need to remain active to see any results, so don’t let your account sit untouched.

Don’t use it exclusively for advertising. While it’s okay to show off new products and services every now and again, customers want to see who your company is in other ways. They will tire of the constant advertising and cease following you.

This list should help you get started with integrating Instagram into your social media marketing strategy. It can be an effective tool, as you’ll soon find out. It’s all about creativity and interaction, whether at the trade show or back at the office.

Do you already use Instagram? Have you discovered a neat trick not listed here? We’d love to hear about it!

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