Tradeshows and social media are a winning combination when it comes to making an impact on-line and face-to-face simultaneously. But, like all good things, success requires proper planning. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter tactics don’t magically fuse with tradeshow preparation without attention to detail.
It’s critical to start with an action plan that adds specific social media steps to normal tradeshow readiness routines. Up front it helps to realize that even the most basic booths or tabletops at tradeshows require a lot of high-energy coordination skills. With that in mind, keep every social media step simple, manageable and closely connected to what you’re already managing.
Think about integrating social media with the tradeshow schedule by considering a plan part-by-part: before, during and after the show. By creating designated social goals aimed to showcase your tradeshow appearance, you can make sure your company doesn’t get lost in the sea of events while also maximizing your investment by working smarter on the tradeshow floor.
Don’t miss the chance to properly set the stage. The months, weeks and days before the tradeshow are valuable periods that many companies forget about because they are focused on organizing the displays, appointment calendars and transportation logistics.
Set aside time to incorporate the on-line and social side of marketing. You invested in a tradeshow appearance; don’t act like it’s a big secret. Get social.
The goal in this stage of planning is to announce that you will have a booth at the event. The goal is to stir up early interest in the fact that you will be part of the scene. Start talking on social platforms about what you will be doing in your booth. Find ways to promote scheduling face-to-face time with tradeshow attendees before their limited calendars are totally packed.
Use social media for outreach, but do your homework. Target specific attendees by staying apprised of the tradeshow information available. Study conference apps and web sites to determine who will be at your tradeshow and what your meetup goals should be. For example, the American Society of Baking (A.S.B.) uses an app at BakingTech that can be accessed on smart phones, tablets and desktops to keep conference details at attendees’ finger tips. Leading up to the event, include specific moments on your promotional calendar. At the very least, announce your participation one month out, then a week out and then as a daily countdown.
Once you arrive at the tradeshow, keep posting. Before the show even officially begins, share photos of the booth being set up in real time. Welcome everyone to the event. Remind people to stop by your booth. Be fun and share photos, waving and welcoming the attendees and those who stayed home. Post snapshots of the onsite team so attendees know who they will meet at the booth. Use short video bits to break the ice. Tell them how to find you; provide the booth number in text and visually in photos. Try creating a YouTube invite video or email e-vites to contacts.