How to Take Over Social Media at a Tradeshow
There's so much that goes into planning a great trade show or expo appearance for your business. One of the most important steps to crushing your next trade show is developing and executing a well-designed social media plan. The best social media plans for trade show appearances make your presence known, incentivize attendees to visit your expo booth, and lead to more connections, demos, and sales. Follow along for a step by step guide to dominate your social media strategy.
Social Media Platforms to Promote Your Trade Show Appearance
When planning your social media strategy for your trade show you should leverage every social media channel you have including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, FourSquare, Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok. Facebook and Instagram are great for livestreaming, posting booth photos, and giving live announcements. Twitter is a great way to connect and communicate with those at the trade show using the even hashtag. YouTube is the perfect place to post all your even videos and LinkedIn is the ideal platform to connect with tradeshow attendees. Finally, FourSquare is a social platform that's "checking in" at locations. FourSquare is often used at trade shows to attract attendees with an incentive for checking in at your booth.
Social Media for Trade Shows
You should definitely begin planning out social media strategy weeks or months in advance of your event to make sure that you have all your bases covered. A well developed plan is much easier to execute than a plan that was hastily pulled together at the last minute. Plus, there are some things that you might need to order in advance for your social media strategy like booth decorations or promotional giveaways.
1. Research and Connect
Well before the event, check the trade show website to see who is attending the trade show. Sometimes there will even be a contact list that you can access. Using whatever information you have access to, research what companies and individuals are attending the event, connect with them on LinkedIn, and try to reach out to them. This will ensure that the event attendees that follow you will see your updates and it also makes for smoother introductions at the trade show.
2. Create a Post Schedule
Create a social media posting calendar in which you will plan out all of your social media posts, event announcements, and any web or video content that needs to be created. You can even create the social posts in advance and use an automated post software to schedule your posts to go out when you want. That way you don't need to be actively posting while you're working the event.
3. Decide on a Theme
You should decide on a theme for your trade show booth and social media strategy well before the event. Your theme might be build around your business or product offerings or it could be a fun and creative theme based on the industry or location of the event. It's always wise to incorporate elements of your theme in your booth, decorations, social media posts, giveaways, webpages, and emails too!
4. Determine How You Will Track Performance
What constitutes a successful trade show appearance for your business? That is the question that you'll need to answer in this step of the planning process. Some commonly used KPIs for trade show performance include contacts, demos booked, leads generated, free trial signups, and revenue generated.
5. Inform Tradeshow Attendees of Your Presence Beforehand
Sure, some people will find your booth by simply walking past it at the trade show, but you should always make any effort you can to notify those in attendance of your trade show appearance ahead of time. Here are some ways you can do that with social media and other forms of outreach.
6. Send an Email Blast to Your Contact List
The trade show will usually have a contact list of attendees available either for free or for purchase. Plan and build out an email cadence to notify and remind guests of your trade show booth and provide them with some incentive to visit you on the day of the trade show. If the event won't provide a contact list, try to research which companies will be hosting booths, break out sessions, or presentations and connect with them on LinkedIn.
7. Post Routine Updates on Your Social Platforms
Be sure to routinely post updates to all your social media platforms in advance of the trade show and especially on the day of the event. You should be sharing images of your booth and products on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. LinkedIn and Twitter are also good platforms to make announcements regarding your trade show appearance like contests, giveaways, or live product demonstrations.
8. Maximize Exposure by Using the Trade Show Hashtag
Before the event, check the trade show's website and follow any social media platforms that they have. Check for an event hashtag on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. This is a great way to share updates to the community at the trade show and expand the reach of your posts.
9. Social Media Management at the Trade Show
Don't forget to post early and often on the day of the event since that's when the most people will be looking for information online. The goal here is to get people excited to visit your booth, check out your products, and meet your team! Here are some strategies to get the most out of your event-day social media strategy.
10. Post Pictures and Videos from the Event
This should go without saying, but it's super important to remember this step for one simple reason... if you post photos and videos of your booth and event team then people will actually know what to look for when they're looking for your company at the trade show! This step is also the best opportunity to provide users with some incentive to visit your booth by showcasing your trade show giveaways or prizes.
11. Go Live on Instagram and Facebook
Trade shows are a great opportunity to showcase your company both in person and online. Going live on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook is a great way to engage your audience and increase your outreach to both those at the event and those at home. This is also an effective strategy for getting attendees to visit your booth if you leverage this strategy towards the beginning of the event.
12. Connect with Booth Visitors on Social Media
If you're not already connected from the research phase, make sure to follow or connect with those who visit your booth at the trade show. This has become the modern alternative to exchanging business cards and it will make it much easier to follow up after the event.
13. Incentivize Attendees to Visit Your Booth with Promotional Giveaways
The easiest way to get people to visit your booth is by giving them something in return. That's what makes custom logo tradeshow giveaways such a popular and effective strategy. Some ways to incentivize people to visit your booth include rewarding visitors for checking in on FourSquare, posting a photo of your booth or products, providing their contact info, or signing up for a demonstration of your product. If you don't want to provide everyone that visits your booth with a gift, you can instead enter them all into a raffle and give away a larger promotional giveaway towards the end of the event too.