Let me know if this scenario sounds familiar—you’ve been sent to the big, yearly tradeshow to set up a booth and represent your company to all of the heavy hitters and potential customers in your industry and to show off to your competition. So—what are you going to do?
Assuming at this point that you already have all your ducks in row, your booth setup is on point, you have some excellent swag to hand out, you have a video highlight reel playing behind you and you're collecting emails to follow up with all of your potential future customers.
But did you consider adding a mix of social media into the game plan? Here are four techniques to tap into.
Let’s go back two weeks. Have you been promoting this event to your followers and letting them know that you will be at the event? Did you inform them of your booth number and location? It should be no surprise to your followers that you are attending an event—you want them to be seeking you out, not to stumble upon you.
It's best practice to start letting your followers know about an event about two weeks before it happens—this will give them enough time to make attendance decisions. Try making posts that are high-level that explain more about the details of the event, and ask questions like, “Who will be attending the 'big show' in two weeks?” or “Smash that 'Like' button if we'll see you at the tradeshow!”
During the week leading up to the show, this is the time to start making posts that will tell your followers where you will be located and what your booth number is. Be sure to mention that you want people to stop by and chat with you.
Obviously not all of your followers will be attending the event, but this doesn't mean that they can’t feel like they are there. Try to give status updates about how the event is going and provide any shout-outs when you can. Take note of what the event’s official hashtag is, and use this to your advantage. Every post you put out there should include the hashtag. This will help others discover you and make sure that your company is being seen.
To make the most out of the hashtag, comment on what others are saying to get your name out there even more. You might even be able to bring in some new people that you might have otherwise overlooked. You need to act quickly with updates and posts, because the power of the hashtag will have a short window of relevance.
Many times while at these events, you will be providing some sort of mini-demo of your products or services. This is a great way to draw a crowd and let people see what you are up to. But don’t forget about all of your social followers—this is an excellent time to “go live”—set your phone up to capture the action or have a colleague live-stream your demonstration. Not only will the people who aren't there get a chance to see what you are up to, but, for those who are there live, attendees can also go to your page and watch it again. To get the most out of this tactic, try and concoct a schedule of when you plan on demonstrating and make a couple of posts letting everyone know that you are going live soon.
Once the show is over and the dust has settled, it’s time to take one last poke at the conference. Remember that hashtag? Go check it out, and see if there are any opportunities to make a connection or a lead and give a shout-out. During the show, you should have been taking as many pictures as you could (i.e., people at your booth, crowds watching demonstrations, any special guests that might have shown up, etc.). Your final step is to take those pictures and make one more recap post giving thanks to everyone who showed up.