Social media expert Nicky Kriel reveals how to use social media to generate more trade show leads
If you have invested in an exhibition in this summer’s trade shows, you will want to improve your return of investment (ROI) by attracting a better footfall to your stand. Social media works well for boosting your marketing at the show and generating leads. Here are some of the social media activities that you should be planning before, during and after the event.
Before the Trade Show
At the planning stage
- Include your social media sites in your marketing literature for the show. QR codes make it easy for people to connect quickly when they are on the go. Add these in your posters and pop up banners to make it easy for attendees.
- Make sure that you discover the event hashtag and use it in your promotional literature and social media posts too. You may want to create your own hashtag for the event especially if you have a special offer for the show and you will want to include this in your email campaign before the show.
- Make your stand socially shareable. Consider that your stand is going to be the background for selfies at the stand: Can you create a colourful background that people can pose in front of that includes your branding and event hashtags?
- Allocate someone to be responsible for monitoring and sharing social media at the event. Ideally, this person shouldn’t be manning the stand but able to move freely around the show taking pictures and videos. They can also interview customers who visit the stand and pass on leads.
- Take behind-the-scenes pictures of you preparing for the event such as packing goody bags or receiving branded display items for the show. These will be very useful closer to the event.
Two weeks before
- Start sharing more social posts about your stand at the show, and that you would like to meet people. Always include the event hashtag to get the best reach.
- Share your behind-the-scenes images with hashtags.
- Invite people via social media to meet you at the event and make sure you include your stand number. Make it easy for them to find you.
- Create videos on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, inviting your connections and followers to meet you in real life at the show. Go live for better visibility.
- Find people using the event’s hashtag. Connect, follow and start a conversation with them. Invite them to have a coffee or meet at your stand to receive a giveaway.
- Schedule content to go out during the event so that even if your team is busy, you help people to know that you are there.
- Follow trade magazines, radio shows and journalists on Twitter and share their content about the event with a comment. Listen for opportunities to talk about the event by following the #journorequest hashtag. You may get media coverage doing this.
The day before
- The LinkedIn mobile app makes it easy to connect with people nearby and provides a QR code for your profile, which makes connecting online a piece of cake. Make sure your team has the LinkedIn app on their smartphones and know how to switch on the ‘Find Nearby’ function and find their profile QR codes to make connecting on LinkedIn seamless.
- Take behind-the-scenes pictures and videos of preparing the stand and share them with the event hashtag.
- Make it easy for people to find your stand by sharing the show map with your stand highlighted and images of things nearby. Use video to walk people around the show before it officially opens. At big shows it’s easy for attendees to get overwhelmed and miss your stand, especially if you not in a prime spot.
During the Trade Show
- Make sure that you have someone monitoring the social media coverage of the event to listen out for opportunities to invite people to your stand. Feed photos and videos to the person who is responsible for the company’s Twitter account so that they can post during the day.
- Encourage selfies at your stand. It makes it easier to put faces to names afterwards, and most people will share images of themselves with their social networks.
- Use the event to get customer testimonials during the event. Make sure that you use a microphone otherwise they won’t be able to be heard above the background noise.
- Use apps like Boomerang to creating eye-catching, fun videos quickly. Inshot is a great video app to be able crop video shot during the event quickly so that it can be shared on the day.
- A good practice when you meet people is to get your team to connect personally on social media, rather than just collecting their card or filling in a form. LinkedIn is especially good for building longer-term profitable relationships.
After the Trade Show
- Connect with all the leads that you met on LinkedIn and Twitter so that you can nurture the relationships.
- Write a blog post about the show using the images and videos that you created during the show and share it with all the people you met during the show. There is a strong chance that they will share the article with their networks, especially if you have included them in the blog post.
- Create a video using the images that you took to create a recap and thank people you met for making it a great show.
Social media will help you generate more leads to your stand. All you need to do is include it in your marketing plan.
When you do any social media posts in the run up and during a trade show, it’s essential to include the event’s hashtags to extend your reach. Here are the hashtags to use at this summer’s trade shows:
OutDoor by ISPO, 30 June-3 July, Munich
Hashtag for the event: #OutDoorByISPO
Twitter account: @ISPO
Outdoor Trade Show (OTS), 9-11 July, Manchester
Hashtag for the event: #OTS2019
Twitter account: @OTS_UK