Monday, May 10, 2010

8 Easy Ways to Tie Social Media into Your Tradeshows

Anyone who gets Exhibitor Magazine, has seen the retro photo that is in the back of each magazine, showing a tradeshow image from what seems like a century ago. As traditional as they are, tradeshows work because we are face-to-face with so many customers in just a few days.
But now, in today’s digital age, we are faced with new opportunities to mix tradeshows with social media to make our marketing efforts go even further.

Here are a few basic ideas on how can we tie the two mediums together to make for a more memorable experience overall:

1) Write a blog post about the event either pre-show, at-show or post-show to share your experiences and knowledge.

2) Prior to the show, monitor Twitter to see if there are any trending topics related to the event. If special event #hashtags are being used, make sure to put them in all your show-related tweets.

3) Take action photos of visitors in your booth (with their permission) and post to your Facebook, Twitter, or Flickr pages.

4) Tweet about customers you met at the show, testimonials they provided, or insight they shared.

5) Team up with other people who are tweeting about the show. Retweet topics when they are relevant to your audience. At the end of the show, thank them via Twitter.

6) Consider a contest or giveaway that ties your tradeshow into social media, such as offering Facebook fans or people who mention @yourcompany a free gift at your booth.

7) Use a Flip Video camera to gather in-booth testimonials or commentary to use on YouTube, Facebook, or your company blog. Ask customers who are featured in the video to share it with their colleagues or friends.

8) Use your tradeshow contacts as a possible way to grow your Linkedin network. Always customize your message when inviting people to join you on Linkedin, especially if you just met recently.

What other ideas have you tried or are playing with? How would you expand on these basic ideas?

Jackie Kaufenberg is the Marketing Manager for Altimate Medical Inc. in Morton, Minnesota. They manufacture standing frames for people who use wheelchairs and also have a blog for people with disabilities, and medical professionals.  You can reach her via Twitter @jkaufenberg.
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Michael Thimmesch said...


This is an excellent, concise list of ideas for integrating social media and trade show marketing. Thanks for creating this.

When you are reaching out to your client and prospects via Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook but don't have followers/connections/friends yet, there are still often ways to reach the show audience. Like you said, there is the #hashtags chosen for the events that let you reach the show audience, but you can also try to get your tweets retweeted by the show. And in LinkedIn, there may be a group created by the show, or else several good groups you can join that have a strong match up with the show's demographics.

Here's a blog post I wrote explaining how to leverage those big three social networks for your pre-show promotions:

Jackie said...

Michael, thanks for the additional tips! Surprisingly, there are still many shows that are not taking advantage of social media yet- that can make a big difference in the impact. However, I have also found that even if you don't have many connections yet, that it is still the quality of those connections that count.

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