Participating in a trade show is a considerable investment of your company’s time, money and energy. So, how can you ensure you get the most out of your efforts? Let’s start by assessing your goals. What metrics must be met for you to consider your trade show participation a success? Whether it’s number of booth visitors or number of qualified meetings, part of your strategy should include leveraging social media before, during and after the show to help reach these goals.
Before the Show
In the two to three weeks leading up to the show, start monitoring relevant show hashtags to identify trends and key media that will be covering the show. As an exhibitor or sponsor, you’ll usually be provided a list of attendees including media and speakers – GDPR permitting. Follow them on Twitter and create a Twitter List to filter your timeline so that it only displays Tweets from the accounts of these key players. This will expedite your research and help to monitor trending topics during the show as well.
Because LinkedIn is a professional networking platform, you can use it to develop and strengthen connections before and after the show. Find those attendees you researched and invite them to connect by sending them a personal LinkedIn message asking to meet in person at the show. If they are not available to schedule a formal meeting, you can personally invite them to drop by your booth at their convenience or corporate marketing evening event. Make sure to provide your booth number!
Trade shows are busy! From scheduled meetings to drop-ins with demos and networking in between, you won’t have much downtime during the show. Ensure that important announcements such as product launches, press releases, speaking engagements, etc. are scheduled to publish to social before the show. Alert your audience when your CEO’s speaking engagement is about to start, then, take your preparation a step further by scheduling tweets of key talking points from the presentation.
During the Show
Live Tweet and Engage
Use your Twitter List (that we created above) to engage with trending topics. Tweet your opinion during panel discussions, ask questions and tag the brands, media outlets and presenters involved. Supplementing your company’s feed with Tweets covering the show’s activity in addition to your own will position you as a thought leader, drawing attention and foot traffic to your booth. Always remember to include the event hashtag with each post to help reach and engage with a new, relevant audience.
As your company publishes announcements during the show, your employees should be sharing these updates to their own social media accounts, adding a level of authenticity while leveraging their audience to widen your reach. It’s also a good idea to share videos of your speaking engagements, panels, etc. to YouTube and link to the video on your other social media platforms.
Tip: When possible, always record a video of your speaking engagement–many conferences will request videos of previous speaking engagements during the application process.
After the Show
Once the show wraps, go through the badge scans or business cards you’ve collected and any notes you took from briefings, presentations, etc. Request to connect with these leads on LinkedIn and send an InMail to jog their memory of who you are and what you discussed at the show.
Think about writing a blog post about your company’s participation in the show. What were the highlights? Did you learn something profound at a seminar? Then, link to this recap when sharing on your various social media channels. Your new connections will then be able to click through to the blog, driving traffic to your website.
Leveraging social media is both cost-effective and integral to your trade show strategy. Posting before, during and after the show will complement the media coverage you receive by helping to generate additional awareness and engagement.
New products and services are often announced at trade shows. Does your company have big news to share? Our blog Trifo Vacuums Up Media Coverage at CES 2019 explores how UPRAISE doubled our client’s media coverage and social media following KPIs at CES 2019.