Social media and event marketing are like peanut butter and jelly — they are great together.
In this digital age, any business not integrating social media marketing into their trade show presence is losing business to their competitors. Social media is an essential marketing channel for event marketers — I don’t know about you, but I can’t eat a plain peanut butter sandwich.
Following are ideas for using social media before, during and after your event to connect with prospects, deepen relationships with customers, and attract the trade show attendees to your booth.
Generate Pre-Show Buzz
1. Event Hashtags. Use the trade show’s Twitter hashtag. These days, many trade shows and events create a hashtag for the show. Connect with the people who are using that hashtag. Integrate the hashtag into your tweets to promote that you’ll be at the show. Be an active participant in conversations surrounding the hashtag.
2. Company Hashtag. Create a hashtag specific to your company or campaign. Got a contest going on or have a special event? Hashtags are a great way to get visibility leading up to the show in conjunction with the trade show event hashtag.
3. Host A Special “Happy Hour” Networking Event Or A VIP Dinner. Create a Facebook event leading up to the party. This is a great way to generate some pre-show buzz, as the event page can be shared not just on your company Facebook page, but also via Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn.
4. Get Media Exposure. Connect with media people in your niche via Twitter or LinkedIn. Get to know them. Share what they’re sharing. Comment on their work. Ask them to stop by your booth. Give them a couple story ideas they could write about around what you’re doing. Invite them to your special event.
5. Teaser Videos. Is your company unveiling new services or products at the event? Have an epic contest you’ll be hosting? Teaser videos are a great way to quickly generate interest and can be shared on any social platform. You can upload them to YouTube and even create shorter versions for Vine and Instagram. Share these videos on Facebook and Twitter along with the event hashtag.
6. Create An Event-Specific Page On Your Website. This page will serve as the home base for all things related to the upcoming show — videos you’ve created, articles written about your company, sign-up opportunities for that VIP party, and/or other special announcements. It’s a great place to direct potential booth visitors to get all the information they want, and you’ll gain valuable website metrics and potential leads as they sign up for an event or download a PDF/eBook you could offer.
Social Buzz At The Show
7. Take Pictures. Give people snapshots of what’s happening on the trade show floor (especially at your booth). Pictures of special events, guest speakers, or whatever else is taking place at the show keeps your company in the social stream of consciousness.
8. Get Video Footage Of The Event. Whether it’s a short clip of someone participating in a contest, winning a giveaway, giving a presentation or speaking about the event, capturing and sharing moments from the trade show floor gives people who aren’t attending a way to experience what’s happening at the show. This opens up the opportunity to connect with people without them being there.
9. Schedule Social Content. Trade shows are incredibly busy. Unless you have a dedicated social member on your team, it’s always helpful to schedule out tweets and Facebook posts to supplement your daily engagement activities. It’s especially helpful to tweet out key topics shared about the company, its product/services, and upcoming deadlines for entry into contests or giveaways (if applicable).
10. Social Giveaways & Contests. Tying your show contest or giveaway in with social media marketing works. It can drive more visitors to your booth. For example, you can have visitors take pictures of themselves with a banner stand that advertises the contest, and they can post the picture to social media — along with the event and company hashtags — as an “entry” into the contest. There are so many ways to increase your company’s visibility at the show using this method.
11. Obtain Video Testimonials. If there is a customer who is a huge fan of your company, ask them to record a quick video testimonial that you can share via social media. Have a question or two prepared for them to answer — this keeps them focused and (hopefully) shares their excitement/passion about your company. A one- or two-minute clip is more than enough. It can be shared via YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and/or your website.
Socializing After The Show
12. Lead Follow-Up. After the show is over, pour over the list of visitors that connected with you at the show (both in person and on social media) so you can connect with them on LinkedIn, like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter. Don’t forget to personalize your message to each person. You want to make a genuine connection, not just add them for the sake of adding them to your CRM database.
13. Post-Show Blogging. It’s always a good idea to write about the show experience. You can and should use those pictures, videos, giveaways and contests generated during the show. Recap the reason you were at the show (new products, services, etc.) and of course thank everyone who participated.
14. Email! Don’t forget to send an email to everyone who visited you at the show (and to those who didn’t but may have been invited or wanted to go) to share the recap blog post, and include links to all of your social media outposts encouraging them to engage with you there.
These tips were just a few ways to make your next exhibition experience more social. When implementing pre-show social media marketing and utilizing social media to follow up after the show gives your company the opportunity to solidify those connections you made while at the show.
Have you tried other ways to use social media to connect with your ideal customers and promote your next trade show? I’d love to hear how you’re using social media to connect with people and make your show more social.