Trade Shows + Social Media = Marketing Bliss
The trade show—one of the main staples of offline marketing. Social media—one of the backbones of online marketing.
As marketing continues to evolve and shift, it’s increasingly more important to have a blend of both online and offline channels. And, thankfully, mobile technology has made it easy to do both at once. I’m talking about incorporating social media into trade shows.
Despite the fact that our industry provides and sells trade show materials, I haven’t seen many exhibitors put an emphasis on social media at any of the PPAI or ASI shows that I have recently visited. Sure, both organizations are doing well at promoting and encouraging social engagement, and there are a few companies that go out of their way to tie-in social media, but the rest of us definitely can step up.
Here are just a few things that you can do to integrate social media into your trade shows.
Before the Show:
- Find the official show hashtag and use it in all of your related posts about the show.
- Ask social networks questions, like, “What are you hoping to see at our booth?” or “We thought we’d hand out some candy this year, what do you think?” You also can give followers a choice: “Would you rather we hand out pens, mugs or a mystery surprise this year?”
- Make sure that you show off sneak peeks of your booths and giveaway items.
- Post your booth number on every single social network. Once again, use the official show hashtag. Bonus tip: Put it on an image so it shows up better in social media feeds. Social networks increasingly are giving priorities to images and other visual content.
During the Show:
- Continue to post about your show experiences using the official show hashtag.
- Have a talking point/something that will draw people to take pictures. At the PPAI Expo this year, Quality Logo Products had its Vegas-themed suits. It can be a pyramid of tumblers that you spray painted gold. It doesn’t have to be expensive!
- Related, take pictures of attendees interacting with your booths/items and post them to social media. Make sure you ask people what their social handles are so you can tag them!
- Make sure that your social media handles are displayed on signage in a prominent locations.
- Offer more giveaways or discounts if attendees post about you on social media. Have them come to your booth and show you the post, and you can reward them with something, like free setups on self-promos.
- Print your social media handles on your product giveaways so that customers can seek you out during and after the show. Just make sure that you’re following the guidelines of the individual social networks!
After the Show:
- Encourage your social media followers or email lists to share any photos they may have of your booths or staff. You can offer them discounted fees on their orders in return.
- Include social media handles and calls to action (e.g., "Like us on Facebook!") in your email followups.
- Write blog posts (or lengthy social media posts, if you don’t have blogs) about your experiences at the event.
- Thank the host companies for a great time at the trade shows!
These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty of ways to start using more social media in our industry trade shows. Depending on the size of your team and the amount of resources you have, you really can steal the show. And even if you’re just a one-person team, you still can add your voice to the mix.
Do you have any other suggestions for how to integrate social media and trade shows? Do you think that the industry already does a great job and I’m totally wrong? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Mandy Kilinskis is the Content and Social Media Manager for distributor Quality Logo Products. She and her team make sure that the company website and blog is full of helpful content. She is excited to share helpful tips and tricks about digital marketing with the Promo Marketing community.