Industry trade shows and conference play a significant role in many B2B businesses these days. Companies make a big investment in marketing efforts and travel arrangements but few, if any, take full advantage of the power and reach of Social Media at these events. It’s 2012 gang, get with it. Here’s a few ideas.
Start with video. Have some live Q&A that you can post to your sites in real time. Display how-to videos, behind the scenes videos or customer testimonial. You can even have videos looping that aren’t industry related necessarily but they make the audience laugh, something like this
Display a live Twitter feed using the trade show hash tags (i.e. #CTIA) or your company hash tags (#XYZ Company) so those either in your booth or passersby can see “listen in” on the conversation. If you have a large audience, encourage real time Q&A via Twitter so everyone in your audience (or on the floor) can participate (even those not in attendance).
Run polls and contests from your Facebook page. Have your booth reps encourage your visitors to log on to your company Facebook page to participate in a live poll, enter to win something of significant value. Free tee shirts aren’t going to cut it. iPads, 4-6 tickets to a sporting event or concert in town during the show probably will.
Build a simple trade show page on your website to promote your presence ahead of time. Run a live blog from the event on this page so those in attendance or those who are remote, customers and employees alike, can listen in, comment or ask questions from those on the floor. Live blogs are great tools to use during keynote speeches.
Use Twitter. Tweet-ups and Twitter chat are powerful tools to use to engage your audience and meet those attendees you didn’t get to meet earlier. Impromptu Tweet-ups for eats and drinks at a local watering hole serve as great networking events.
Reach out to the trade show organizers to see if you can synchronize your social media efforts with theirs. Coordinate the hash tags to be used during the event. Partner with them to promote the show before, during and after. Be creative.
Take pictures. Lots of pictures. Post them, tweet them, share them on your trade show web page. Pictures of the venue, the city or a panoramic picture of the trade show floor are great to look at. You can use them similar to the way you use the videos. Have a picture slide show on display at your booth. Use pictures of your home office (behind the scenes), your employees (having fun) and your customers. Add to the picture collages throughout the show. Be creative and spontaneous. Profile head shots are not entertaining to look at.
Reach out and engage with industry bloggers and trade publications before, during and after the show. Share your videos, pictures or blog feed with them. And, pay it forward by promoting their blogs, articles and other industry information (stats, charts, graphs)
Speaking of blogging, invite some of the attendees or speakers to guest blog on your site. You promote their blog and they bring visibility to your website
Monitor what your competition is doing on their social media sites during the trade show. Competitive intelligence is always helpful. What are their customers saying on their social networks?
While social media is not a magical marketing solution for business, it is a powerful tool you can leverage to engage your target audience and continue the conversation far beyond the trade show floor.