A guide to using social media for exhibitions

Social media logos

It’s no secret that exhibitions and trade shows are fantastic marketing opportunities. Aside from the obvious exposure during the event, they also provide you with plenty of engaging content to feed your social media activity to drive visitors to your stand, boost engagement with your social media content and build your social media audience. Here are some top tips on how to effectively use social media before, during and after an exhibition.

Before the show…

• Find out what the trade show’s official hashtag is and start following it a month or so beforehand it’s due to start. Use the time to learn trends and connect with key players.
• Also create your own hashtag, keeping it simple, say #COMPANYNAMEATEXHIBITION.
• Follow some of the other exhibitors and visitors and try to start a conversation which could then be continued at the show.
• Use the hashtag on Twitter to promote that you will be exhibiting at the show
• Consider creating a hashtag specific to your company or campaign
• If you’re planning to launch a new product or service at the show, consider creating a teaser video which can be uploaded to and shared on YouTube.
• Give people an incentive to visit your stand. Share a photo that will get them excited and entice people to come and find out more.
• Send personal stand invites to your connections on LinkedIn.
• Create a landing page on your website specific to the show or event. This is a great way to direct your stand visitors directly to information that pertains to them and provides you with measurable web statistics.
• Make a plan to update your social media regularly throughout the show and make it one person’s responsibility to do so.
• If your company is sponsoring an event at the show or one of your team is a guest speaker, promote your involvement to your followers.
• If you’ve got something to new say or sell, connect with industry specific media contacts via twitter or LinkedIn, and ask them to meet with you during the show.
• If you’re planning to hold a special event during the show, create a Facebook event page to create some buzz and invite people.

During the show…

• If your stand looks great, take a good quality photo of the team standing in front of it and share it on all social media platforms.
• If you meet a customer who is full of praise for your company or one its products or services, ask if you can use his testimonial as a video or photo-article and share it on social media.
• Images are a great way to give those who aren’t at the show a glimpse into the goings-on. Make sure that you remember to use ALT tags before uploading them.
• If you are sponsoring or speaking at an event, make sure that you take a good quality video of it to share online afterwards.
• While you might be rushed off your feet during the show, always make time to share content on social media.
• If at any point the stand looks busy and provides a great photo opportunity, upload it to all social media platforms making sure that you include the event hashtag.
• Contests or giveaways are always a good crowd-puller. You can use social media to promote the event attract people to your stand – to enter and to see the draw.
• Include icons, web addresses, QR codes, and/or calls-to-action to your social networks in your stand displays as appropriate.

Post-Show…

• Go through your leads, business cards and notes and connect with them on LinkedIn, follow them on Twitter or like their business page on Facebook. Drop them a personal note to make sure they remember you.
• Search for the event’s hashtag on Twitter and you’ll be presented with all of the tweets that have used it. This will give you access to the Twitter accounts of all those who attended or are interested in the show.
• Write a blog post about participating in the show including any orders, customer comments or interesting angles.
• Follow up your leads and connections via email, ensuring that you includes links to all your social media accounts.
• If you participated in a seminar or made a speech, send out an electronic version of the content including any related video clips and links.

Smart man with glasses in black and whiteTom Rigby, Author

For over 20 years, Tom Rigbyhas helped businesses across the UK to find their voice and communicate their messages, in print and online, whether they want to generate sales, attract customers, inform stakeholders, educate the public or persuade them to join a cause. He is a published author and occasional contributor to a number of publications. www.tomrigby.com