The ever growing influence of social media marketing has opened up whole new worlds of available initiatives that can be integrated into your trade show marketing, both to increase attendance and engagement, as well as the bottom line. Proper utilization of these platforms and an organized strategy can dramatically increase the overall success of your trade show efforts.
Here are some practical tips to implement immediately for your next show, broken down by social platform:
1. Use your Fanpage to create an Event! Don't just post on your Wall that you are exhibiting, this has very little shelf life if your page is active. Creating an Event has many benefits: It is automatically posted to your Wall with a clean look. When someone registers, they get a continual reminder of the Event in their home feed. As well, their friends are notified that are attending, giving you even greater exposure. It is also easily shared among users. Do this a few weeks before the show. Be sure the Event includes a nice image and description including booth number, show info, and any initiatives for give away's (such as scanning a QR code or Twitter contests) to entice them to visit you! A bonus for those utilizing Facebook properly: If you have a personal profile set up correctly to have "lists, you can then use these lists to INVITE people through Facebook as well.
2. Create a Photo Album specific to the Trade show, and label it as the name of the show. This will help you organize pictures over time, and as well, it makes it easy to send people to a specific place on your page to look through pictures by show. In this album, post pics of your display, the staff, the crowd at the show…everything that shows your presence. Be creative!
3. Post a reminder a week before the show on your Wall. Be sure to TAG the show in your post if they also have a Facebook presence. This will put a post on THEIR wall as well. Be sure to include your booth number in this post. As well, if you are doing any give away's or other social initiatives (such as Twitter or QR codes) be sure to include this in the post.
4. At the show, if you can utilize the Facebook video app (and you happen to have a computer with a webcam) shoot a quick "hello" vid to announce you are there. We do this at every show, and we get a ton of feedback on it! A shot from a recent show:
If you currently have a blog, here is your chance to write the inside story about your trade show presence. Before the show, talk about the preparations you are making. Include any display upgrades (or that NEW display!), some give aways you are pondering on, or the pains of developing new graphics. After the show, post about the experiences you had during the show as well as after show activities, dinners and more. Blogs are meant to be the unfettered voice of your company, the place where you let your hair down a bit and let people connect on a personal level by reading about your trade show experience. Use pictures and/or video to enhance the experience. Be sure to use outbound links as well to your other platforms (for example, put a link to your Facebook page Event tab to have people register before the show, or to a full photo album on Flikr or Facebook after the show) as these are powerful for SEO.
1. Find out what Hashtag and Twitter handle is being used for the show marketing and interactions, and use them in your Tweets. This makes your Tweets available to not only your followers, but anyone following the show.
2. Tweet out during the show to give people a "real time" interaction with you. This brings them into your world, and if some clients or prospects couldn't come this time, it may entice them to come the next. Don't overdo it. Five or so relevant Tweets is enough per day. Use pics in a Tweet once in a while to enhance the experience.
3. Use Twitter for part of your give aways! Asking people to mention you to be entered into a drawing is a simple way to garner more attention and create some more followers. An example is given from a recent show we exhibited in. This was printed on 8x11 sintra and placed in our display area.
If pictures are worth a thousand words, videos are an encyclopedia set. Aside from the Facebook video post I suggested earlier (which may not feasible for many without a webcam ) you should be utilizing YouTube to create a video compilation for before, during and after if possible. Most smart phones have great vid cams now, perfect for YouTube! Video can be a powerful SEO and engagement tool. You could videotape the set up of the display and run it through iMovie or similar to create a time lapse fun vid, a member of your team doing a presentation, or just a quick pan of the exhibit hall. Again, this a great chance to be creative!
You can use flikr to host all of your pictures. I still suggest putting a photo album on Facebook as users like the simplicity of going to this platform. The reason we add Flikr, is that when photos aretagged properly (such as with the show name) they are now Google searchable. So if someone searches for images for the PPAI show for example in Google, your properly tagged pics may come up, giving you additional exposure. Facebook photos are not found outside of Facebook.
We love them! QR codes started a couple of years ago with limitations due to the technology available in smart phones. Now, they can do almost anything you wish. Use them to bring people to a specific website, to download .pdf's, download a vCard, even use to create contests, sweepstakes or drawings! An example of a recent QR initiative we did is below, where we had people scan a QR to be entered into a Starbuck's card drawing. From this, we were able to gather a lot of info about them, and they are now connected to us. This was printed on a 30x30 coroplast and placed in our display space.
Geo-location/mobile marketing continues it's growth with more and more people on smart phones. Utilizing a platform like Foursquare, exhibitors can set up a location, and ask people to "check in" to enter drawings and connect. Some facilities may inhibit the reception of such location based apps, so best to be sure of the location if you can before you implement a large initiative around it.
We hope these basic tips will help you start or improve your social media marketing integration! Please contact us at 203-491-0306 to discuss specifics, or email us at generalmail@talkingfinger. Also, see our very interactive Facebook page filled with tips and tricks and information. We engage all day and night at Facebook.com/TalkingFinger
And post YOUR thoughts below, or on our Facebook page!