Even in today’s world, trade shows should be an essential part of a B2B company’s marketing plan. The thing is that this can be a huge financial burden on some companies, considering the cost of designing displays, renting booth space, booking accommodations and getting all of the marketing materials in order. This is why it is not surprising that many cities are offering a large number of incentives in order to attract more trade show participants. It plays a very large part in boosting their economy.
To boost awareness and increase the return on their investment (ROI), many companies are using social media to make their trade shows more successful. Here are some pointers your marketing team can use to increase your success.
- Make Sure That People Can Find Your On Social Media
Before you begin your trade show campaign, it is important that you establish a solid social media presence. No one likes to arrive first when there is a party, and this applies to connecting with companies on social media.
A few years ago, Youtube, Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook were the only channels people used for social media marketing, but this has changed. The growing popularity of Pinterest and Instagram show that people are looking for new and innovative ways to connect with others online.
- Update All Of Your Social Profiles
You have to be a step ahead if you want to do well at conferences, trade shows and other marketing events. If people head to your profiles on social media and they see outdated posts, this can leave a big blemish on the face of your company. An updated profile makes people see you as a complete professional. It helps people connect your online presence and all of the things that make your company what it is. It also helps people connect with your brand differently than ever before.
- Use Social Media To Create Buzz Prior To The Show
Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin and Twitter are the best tools one can use when they want to spread the word about trade shows. The best thing to do would be to avoid generic announcements and typical press releases and focus on the attendees, free giveaways and what people can expect if they decide to visit your booth. The goal is to create as much foot traffic as possible.
One solid strategy is to break up a press release into many small parts. You can post them on your social media accounts regularly until the day of the event. Creating small campaigns where you only offer limited information is a great wat to get people interested. Make sure that the information you offer is valuable enough that people will feel compelled to share it with others. These 2nd-degree connections are an essential part of being successful with your social media campaigns. They can give you more reach than you could have ever imagined.
- Use An Official Hashtag Or Create One Of Your Own
Using hashtags is a great tool when it comes to creating buzz and keeping track of what people are saying about your brand and the event in question. It is a great way to make solid connections with other people who will be part of the event, including speakers, presenters and other participants. If you are planning to have an exhibit at a trade show, check around to see if there is an official hashtag being used. Make sure to add them when you post for maximum effect. It used to be common to see these being used on Instagram and Twitter only, but now they are more popular on Linkedin, Google+ and Facebook.
If there is no official hashtag and/or you are the creator of the event, make it a point to create a unique hashtag that will keep people buzzing. Make sure that this hashtag is not already being used by another company. You should also add caps at the beginning of each word so no one is confused.
Make Social Media A Part Of Your Email And Website Marketing Plan
Unfortunately, it is still very common for people to have emails and corporate websites that do not have any evidence of social media channels on them. This is a huge mistake and it means that brands are allowing their customers to walk away without connecting with them and staying abreast of any company information.
If you have not done this yet, have your web and email team compile a list of all the social media channels you use and find a way to integrate this into the templates you use regularly.
- Leverage Real-Time Marketing
In a world that is connected by technology, information is easily shared with the click of a button. Things can change rather quickly, so it is important for you to take advantage of any opportunities as they arise. The Oreo tweet that was posted during the Superbowl in 2013 is an example of using real-time marketing in order to create buzz for your brand.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the most common social platforms because their apps are mobile friendly, their content streams around the clock and they are very popular with the younger generation.
One cool effort we saw recently was where a business that hired a photo booth company called Booth Boy got people to publish their images online with a hashtag of the company and event in return for a competition entry.
Depending on the number of people who you plan to bring along to the trade show, make sure there is one person who can be in charge of social media. This person should create updates, post eye-catching photos and engage with people who try interacting with the brand. This is a great lead generation technique because it allows people to connect your online presence with the image you try to project offline.
- Remember That Social Media Is A One-On-One Marketing Strategy
Many people believe that social media should be used as a vehicle for communicating with the masses. In some ways, using your account to make broadcasts is quick and efficient, but the most effective strategy is the direct communication you have with members of your audience. Engaging one-on-one with fans and prospects is a great way to boost the popularity of your brand.
Keep in mind that people are quick to air their grievances on social media sites when they are unsatisfied with a brand. Making sure that your team offers a solid customer service experience and conflict resolution skills that are unmatched. They can take negative feedback, respond courteously and turn enemies into friends.