image

How to Use Social Media to Boost Buzz About Your Trade Show Attendance

Sorry Kevin Costner, but we don’t live in a “build it and they will come” society.

Any good business owner knows that you have to do some serious marketing and relationship building if you want your company to still be around many years down the road.

all by myself

“Oh. Should I tell someone I’m here?”

And that’s why attending trade shows is great for your business. It’s a fantastic way to spread awareness about your brand and create new relationships with potential clients.

But with so many booths to visit, you’re going to have to do more than stand there and smile to get attendees to engage with you. Effectively using social media won’t just alert your current fans and customers to your presence, but also help you reach out and discover new ones.

So let’s go over how you can use your social networks to generate buzz about your booth before, during, and after your next trade show.

Before

The first thing you need to do is to let the trade show host, convention attendees, and your current customers know that you are attending this convention.

After registering, write a quick blog post about the convention you’re planning to attend. Add some challenge questions at the bottom asking if others are going.

As usual, promote this blog post on all of the big social sharing networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.

Don’t forget to:

  • RSVP to the Facebook event. Leave a post on the wall about your excitement.
  • Find and use the convention’s Twitter and/or Google+ hashtag.
  • Join the trade show host’s LinkedIn group.
  • Create a pinboard on Pinterest of the products you’re bringing.

During

Don’t let clients forget you’re there. Post status updates on Facebook and Twitter letting people know that you’re at the convention. Add your booth number or relative location so attendees know where to find you.

doctor checking phone

“Whoa. Forget that open heart surgery. I have to go check out this medical convention.”

Offer social network-only specials like “the first five people to show this status at the booth receive a free item!” You can publicize this on networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, though Twitter’s fast pace may offer better results.

Freebie giveaways are fantastic tangible reminders of your brand. In addition to your logo and contact information, you could include a QR code that sends guests to your Facebook page.

Don’t forget to:

  • Answer any comments on your blog post.
  • Check into the event on Facebook and Foursquare.
  • Take photos with Instagram (tip: use the convention hashtag).
  • Share photos on Tumblr, Flikr, etc. but space them out throughout the event.
  • Interview attendees for a YouTube video.
  • Set up a Google+ event or hangout for fans who cannot attend.
  • Retweet engaging or interesting comments on Twitter.

After

Write a blog post (or many) about your attendance. Give thoughts, thank new customers, and use it as a central hub for your pictures and video. And again, promote it on all of the big social networks.

people doing a lame dance

Perhaps skip uploading the after party pictures.

Do a lot of thanking, in fact. Post updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ thanking all of the new followers or fans you picked up over the course of the convention. A little gratitude will go a long way.

Don’t forget to:

  • Make an album of pictures on Facebook and Google+.
  • Connect with potential customers and other business owners on LinkedIn.
  • Share tips from the convention in relevant LinkedIn groups.
  • Edit and upload a video about the convention to YouTube.
  • Upload pictures to a Pinterest pinboard that showcases your office life and/or employees.

Please note: some of these actions may require personal accounts in addition to business accounts. Not all may be applicable in all situations. And in no way am I telling you to run out and join all of these social networks before your next trade show. Utilize as many as you can handle; that can be one network, that could be five.

Do you happen to be the company or organization that’s throwing this trade show? While many of these tips apply to you, make sure that you also check out this awesome infographic about how to use social media to make your convention shine.

The best part? These actions don’t even take much time away from your trade show duties.

Always cross pollinate when you can. For example, when taking an Instagram picture, share the picture on Facebook and Twitter. Thank new customers on Google+ and include a link to your after-convention blog post.

Taking a few minutes to update your social networks could bring you a few potential clients! And you’ll never know unless you give it a try.

Have you participated in a trade show recently? If so, any tips to add? Convention attendees, do you enjoy having ways to interact with vendors on social media?

IMAGE CREDIT TO MANDY KILINSKIS AND CLIPART.COM.


Mandy Kilinskis

Mandy is proud to be a part of QLP’s content team. A self-professed nerd, her interests include video games, sitcoms, superhero movies, iPods and iPhones but never Macs, and shockingly, writing. Her claims to fame are: owning over forty pairs of Chuck Taylor All Stars, offering spot-on coffee advice, and knowing an unbelievable amount of Disney Princess facts. You can connect with Mandy on

Comments

  1. Amy Swanson

    I really like your tip about sharing your booth number with everyone, maybe even include some physical landmarks as well; “right next to a pole, twenty steps from the restrooms, look for the giant banner that says, ‘here we are!’, etc.”

    Overall, you have great ideas here Mandy!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Thanks, Amy! After going to a couple of conventions this summer, you can tell who is advertising via social media and who isn’t.

      At the Chicago Comic Con, for example, based on the foot traffic, you could tell which artists had reached out on Facebook or Twitter. Even if they didn’t have a lot of products to offer, they still had swarms of people around their booth.

  2. Rachel

    Great tips, Mandy! Putting in the extra work to promote your table can make a big difference, especially when you are competing for attention with so many other booths. Every little bit helps! :)

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Thanks, Rachel! This is especially important if you’ll be at a trade show where everyone sells or provides a very similar product. I mean, if you’re the only one selling cat toys at a dog convention, you’ll stand out. But for everyone else, they need to let their clients know where and how to find them!

  3. Bret Bonnet

    What happened to build it and they will come? :)

  4. James Tanner

    Not only in Field of Dreams, but Noah also did the same thing, built the Ark and the rain and flood arrived. But these days, unless you promote, no one will know about your business. So every bit of advertisement helps, may it be promotional items or engaging in topics like these. ;-)

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Precisely! With so much competition out there, you really have to make sure that your company is known! Putting yourself out there is the only way to reap the rewards!

      Thanks for stopping by to comment, James!

  5. Jill Tooley

    EXCELLENT tips, Mandy! I know we mention this convention a lot, but Comic-Con guests and artists are usually quite skilled at the techniques you mention here. They funnel fans to their websites and/or social media accounts at shows, give them virtual updates, let them know which conventions they’ll attend and what they’ll be selling, and keep them informed of current inventory if they wanted to stop by the booth at an upcoming con. That’s a great process to repeat! I love it when I don’t have to hunt down a specific vendor I’m looking for.

    Thanks for mentioning that it’s not necessary to be active on ALL the social media accounts referenced here. That would get really overwhelming really fast!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      You’re absolutely right, Jill, about the social media prowess of artists at Comic Con.

      1. Thanks to the crazy Artist Alley layout this year, it was hard to spot artists. If it hadn’t been for the guys from Yeit Press tweeting about their location, it would’ve been nearly impossible to find them!

      2. Another artist, Ant Lucia, announced on his Facebook page that he had a very special, limited edition Gwen Stacy print at the Chicago Comic Con. As a huge fan, I made sure to stop by his booth and pick one up. His display is a little overwhelming, so I might not have noticed the print if I had just been walking by!

  6. Morgan

    Truly great advice, Mandy!

    I wrote about this subject a while ago and it’s something that I think everyone should take very seriously when it comes to events that they attend. The before, during & after are all very important and the community actually does care about what’s going on at the event.

    I used to do events for an individual in which I was uploading pics, videos, tweets, status messages & blogs for 3 days, 14 hour days each! It was insane! Something I learned quickly is that you need to tell people that you’re going to be posting more often than usual because of the event, so that your community is prepared. Otherwise, you could turn them off to the unusual amount of posting.

    Great post!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Thanks, Morgan!

      That’s a really great point! You definitely don’t want to annoy your fans with a flurry of updates that they weren’t expecting to see. But a few updates letting them know a week – few days in advance would let them know it’s coming. I know that I really appreciate it when people warn me that they’re about to post like crazy.

      Thanks for stopping by to affirm that the community does care about what’s happening at these events. It’s definitely a great way to build a stronger community. :)

  7. 4 Ways to Sell Your Non-Holiday Products During the Holiday Season

    [...] my company, Quality Logo Products, we know that our clients aren’t attending many trade shows or throwing promotions in the winter. But we do know that December and January are great for [...]

  8. Joanna

    From a pr professional’s standpoint – one who grew up without cell phones or the internet and is engaged in social media but find it all a bit overwhelming but realize I need to keep up with the times – your article provides an excellent overview of how to effectively utilize social media outlets. It seems most articles just say to use social media but don’t really offer specifics or examples of how to use it or the actual power and potential ROI companies/exhibitors/individuals stand to gain by investing the time to engage their audiences.

    Thanks to you, I feel as though I’m armed with some real, tangible knowledge (not to mention a bit of a confidence boost) and plan to incorporate some of these tactics into recommendations I’m preparing for a client for an upcoming trade show!

    But what I most like, admire and appreciate is the fact that you’ve taken the time to thoughtfully respond to every comment and not just a quick “thanks” or something quick and easy. Very classy, Mandy.

    Thanks again!

    Joanna

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Hi Joanna!

      First of all, thank you for taking the time to leave a comment! There’s nothing better than hearing something you wrote helped someone!

      I’ll admit that I am kind of glued to my smartphone all of the time. And if I am at a trade show/convention (with a good WiFi connection), I’ll be checking out hashtags and updates like crazy. What’s really nice about updating social media during the convention is that your customers who couldn’t attend can still have access to information. It’s great for building a community.

      I still stress to take your time a master one or two networks before you launch into all of them. It’s better to engage your customers well on Twitter than half-ass engagement on all platforms, you know? Don’t listen to people who say that you have to be everywhere all the time. It’s nice if you have the resources, but if you don’t (and let’s be real, most of us don’t), better to rock one thing than nothing.

      Good luck with your next trade show! I hope it goes well! :)

      Mandy

  9. Why You Start Marketing Your Trade Show Booth LONG Before The Show!

    [...] chatting it up on social media. Does your show have an online discussion group? Make sure to join so that you can learn more about [...]

Leave a Comment