A trade show is a major investment in time and money for a business, but it can also be one of the most valuable marketing opportunities around. The challenge is to really create an impression at the trade show so people remember your company and not your competitors (and your competition is probably just down the aisle).
Social media can help you get a leg up on your competition and make a stop at your booth a must for all attendees. And, if done properly, the constant reinforcement of your company name and message on social media will make you more memorable.
A social media marketing plan for a trade show should feature three separate components: before the trade show, during the trade show, and after the trade show. At the very least, before a trade show reach out to current and potential customers to let them know about the trade show and then remind them when the date approaches. During the trade show, let people know what’s going on, promote any big events, and invite people to your booth. After the trade show, follow up with everyone and let non-attendees know how successful your booth was.
Each social media outlet is a bit different and it’s these inherent unique qualities that should be reviewed and taken advantage of when creating a social media marketing strategy for your trade show.
- Twitter only allows 140 characters per tweet which makes it a perfect “during trade show” marketing tool. Twitter provides immediate bursts of information.
- Facebook gives you more space to communicate, room for pictures, and it encourages communication back and forth. Use Facebook throughout the trade show life cycle.
- LinkedIn is geared toward professionals, so this form of social media should be more technical and business specific.
- A company blog lets you get as involved as you want to about the event and can be a great place to hype your featured products/services.
- YouTube is a great way to share the highlights of a trade show and show off your latest improvements.
Don’t forget to include good old fashioned social avenues when planning your trade show marketing. Call your clients before the event to invite them to visit your booth and then call or email every visitor to your booth to thank them for stopping by and to possibly sell them on your company. Even a good old fashioned, snail mail invitation and thank you still create a big impression. A well thought out social media campaign, whether traditional and/or electronic, can be the key to a very successful trade show.