Use Social Media to Win Your Next Trade Show
Although you’ll need to pay for space and work hard to organize your presentation, trade shows provide fantastic marketing for your business. However, you can’t just show up to a trade show and expect magic to happen. You need to market your presence at each upcoming trade show, and that’s best done through social media.
When preparing for a trade show, social media might be the last thing on your mind. You’ve got to organize your presentation, design your booth, and plan what printed materials to bring. You’ve got to prepare promotional items, business cards, and figure out raffle prizes. You don’t have time to waste chatting it up on social media. However, when used correctly, social media can help you win at your next tradeshow.
Think of social media as lead generation
Social media platforms aren’t just for chit-chat; they give you a way to reach potential customers. On Facebook, for example, you can run targeted advertisements that reach only the people who match your target market’s demographics. You don’t need to be selling a product to benefit from Facebook ads. You can send people to almost any page on your website, including pages that inform visitors about your presence at an upcoming trade show.
With Facebook retargeting, aka ‘pixeling,’ you can display your ads only to users who have visited your website recently. This allows you to target people with specific messages that apply only to people who have been to your site.
The better you are at marketing, the better results you’ll get from Facebook ads. For example, give users a good reason to click on your ad. Use your marketing genius to capture their interest and lead them to a page explaining why they should come see you at the trade show. On the same page, request their email address so you can keep them in the loop.
Social media supports your brand awareness
You’ve probably branded yourself well across your website and social media platforms, displaying your logo and other signature imagery in headers, thumbnails, and posts. To help your fans quickly recognize your booth at a tradeshow, display your brand’s imagery in your trade show booth through a branded retractable banner. Your fans – including preset appointments – will easily recognize you from a distance. Retractable banners are an inexpensive way to display your brand like professional trade show exhibitors.
Social media can reach more people using hashtags
Even if you don’t like hashtags, they’re extremely useful in marketing your brand across social media platforms. If you’ve got something exciting going on, people will use your hashtag, share your posts, and expose even more people to your business.
Remember that hashtags only work when you publish content people will get excited about sharing.
Using social media can increase your foot traffic
There are several ways connecting with people on social media can increase the amount of foot traffic you get to your booth.
- Email marketing. A pre-trade show email campaign is essential for your success. Collect leads through social media and ask leads to set an appointment with you during the trade show.
For a detailed look at using email marketing for trade shows, ProExhibits published an in-depth look at how it’s done.
- Live streaming. Live streaming on social media at the trade show is a good way to encourage others to show up. People who were on the fence about showing up might decide to come last minute, or even the next day.
- Posting live updates. Posting live updates to social media reminds people you’re there. It’s easy to get distracted at a trade show, and posting live updates can remind wandering attendees to check out your booth.
Which social media platforms should you use?
Each social media platform has advantages and disadvantages for marketing your presence at a trade show. For example, Twitter is a fast way to present simple updates, reminders, and post live photos from the trade show. LinkedIn is a more professional way to connect with attendees and network. If your industry translates well to imagery, Instagram provides a powerful visual storytelling platform.
Keep it simple
Social media can be tedious, but don’t make it a chore. Send simple updates to your list, and try not to get overwhelmed by advanced marketing strategies you don’t understand. Remember that social media is only a powerful tool when used with a powerful strategy.