In this day and age Trade Shows are a critical component of any Business to Business marketing mix. They involve considerable marketing investments from companies such as booth space rental, design and fabrication of displays, interactive content, promotional items, travel and more.
To help maximize ROI and create awareness many companies and organizations turn to social media to improve their success at trade shows.
Long before you start your trade show awareness campaign make sure that your brand is discoverable on social media. Platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are still dominating social media marketing. Newer platforms Instagram and Pintrest are fast becoming popular due to their visual nature.
Make sure that your social profile is up to date. Put your best foot forward. Directing people to your social network and to have them find the most recent posts from 6 months ago does your company a huge disservice. Having an up to date profile not only makes your company look more professional, it helps bridge the gap between real world touch points and your brands presence.
Use social media to create a pre- show buzz. The key is to move beyond the general announcement. Showcase who will be there, free giveaways, raffle prizes and what attendees can learn via stopping at your booth.
Incorporate social media into your corporate website and email marketing. Understand that social media is a one-to- one marketing strategy. A mistake that many companies make is treating social media as a mass communication strategy. Remember customers are quick to vent their frustration and dissatisfaction with a company on social media. Getting your marketing/ social team up to speed on customer service and online conflict resolution can actually diffuse negative feedback via courteously taking the conversation offline. This will convert critics into advocates for your company.
Share your trade show experiences with those that are unable to attend. Post videos, photos, locations and insights while the event is going on. Utilize this information on social media and please don’t overlook the fact that these materials captured can be used to recap the trade show experience where you and your team can share what you and your team have discovered and reflect where your business or industry is headed.
Christine Fiorenza Debi Surmanek
Partners at Ivy Branding and Marketing Group