Use Social Media to Promote Tradeshows

No matter how large or small your business is or how long it has been in operation, there are many reasons to attend an exhibition or tradeshow.

I am a tradeshow exhibitor, and we have seen a growing number of companies use social networking during tradeshows. Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are all great outlets for making the most of your tradeshow experience.

  • Promote your brand
  • Meet existing and potential customers
  • Enjoying yourself

This last point might seem trivial, but bringing along more outgoing and social team members can add to the value of your experience. It will also give staff a chance to see a different environment and face new challenges.

Many of the tips below could be applied to social media for everyday business. However, we have found that tradeshows are where the latest media, such as Twitter, come to their advantage, helping to make the physical event virtual and bringing a localized message to a larger–and possibly global–audience.

1. Preparation

Preparation is key to using social media during a tradeshow. Prepare a strategy in advance during the weeks leading up to the event.

Set up a Twitter or Facebook account if your business does not have one. Start tweeting about your tradeshow as early as possible, and include the official Twitter hashtag or name for the event.

Find out what hashtags will be used at the tradeshow. You don’t want your company to be the one using #NYCExpo when everyone else uses #ExpoNYC.

Use LinkedIn to create a list of people you want to network with at the show.

2. Grammar and Spelling

It may seem obvious, but I would be very rich if every time a vital, important business post was misspelled on social media, and often in an embarrassing way!

While it may be trendy for teenagers to use misspellings or vowel-free acronyms on their Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter accounts, clear communication in business is essential.

It may only be 140 characters, but a tweet is still a representation of your business. A sentence full of errors or a message with no meaning at all looks unprofessional.

3. They are best used sparingly

It’s more about quality than quantity. Tradeshows are by their nature a lot about sitting. Do not fill up your time by tweeting whatever comes to mind, no matter how appropriate it might seem.

Keep your social media communications focused on value and content. Use social media to promote events that are structured throughout the tradeshow, such as product demonstrations or signings. You can then create buzz about the event as a whole and attract people to your booth at certain times.

4. Keep it Classy

This tip is applicable to all social media, not only during tradeshows. Again, and I can’t stress this enough, social media, no matter how informal they may seem, represent your business. Imagine them as a shopfront. You wouldn’t put it in the shop window.

It’s surprising, and a bit depressing, how often we hear about employees and managers being reprimanded by businesses of all sizes for social media faux pas. The manager of an alcohol store, part of a national chain, was recently suspended in the UK for announcing that a sale promotion on champagne would be available the day Margaret Thatcher passed away. He wrote, “If anyone feels like celebrating for any reason, we have Taittinger… for PS29.” Just saying.”

A business Twitter account is not a platform for you to express your political views or your comedic routine. This should be obvious, but it still needs to be stated. Keep your “witty” and “quirky,” but only use them when appropriate.

5. Post Pictures and Videos

It’s all about extending the experience to a larger audience. You may have customers or prospects who cannot attend the event for whatever reason. You can bring the show to your customers by taking photos and videos at your booth and posting them quickly.

In recent years, product demonstration videos on YouTube have become very popular. UltraTech’s 2012 video demonstrating its “hydrophobic spray” received more than 5 million views within six months.

6. Keep the momentum going

You’ve taken down your booth and are heading home, but the tradeshow experience is not over. Social media allows you to keep in touch with people you’ve met, whether they are customers or suppliers. It allows you to use social media every day as a tradeshow.

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