What do people usually do in the days leading up to an event or trade show? Tweet about it, Facebook about it, and blog about it too. You’re likely doing the same as a trade show marketer, right? If not…you should! Integrating social marketing into trade show marketing has become a necessity for success in the world of B2C and the world of B2B sales.
The social networking sphere can be a difficult one, but never fear. I’ve managed to fit some major tips in this post that will help you add social networking to your tradeshow marketing.
Check out Twitter Search and Twitter Lists
Every single 140 character or less convo on Twitter (well…except those from people who have private Twitter accounts) can be searched via Twitter search. Search through peoples tweets to find information about: 1) the tradeshow or event you’re going to, 2) tweets of those in the geographic area of the event or trade show, and 3) other vendors who are going to the event. Utilize this data to put together a strategic plan. Contact trade show attendees directly, start following them, make a twitter list (which we’ll talk a bit about below), see what your competition is doing, and get an idea for the ‘happening’ spots where you can entertain your prospects by following users who live in the area. So many opportunities, don’t underestimate the value of social search!
If you’re familiar with Twitter than you likely know a thing or two about Twitter lists. It’s a great way to compile a list of potential attendees, other vendors, and resources whom you can follow during the days leading up to, during, and after the event. You can get answers to your questions like: what are people’s thoughts about the events at the trade show? Where are the happening after-parties? You can stay up to date. Did you know: you don’t even have to actually ‘follow’ the users to put them on a list? AND you can keep the list private so you’re competition can’t find it.
Heard of Flowtown? Use It.
Have a prospects e-mail address but not sure if they are using social media? You should check out FlowTown. This website allows you to upload your prospects e-mail addresses and get information such as name, age, gender, occupation, location AND all the social networks that person is on. Use the information to find your prospects online before, during and after the great event.
You’re probably using LinkedIn already, heck millions are. But are you utilizing for marketing? Tell your connections that you’ll have a booth at an upcoming event, ask them to help you spread the word, or even connect with prospects after the event. There’s so much you can do with LinkedIn, you just need to think outside the box.
Linkedin groups, for example, are a great way to think outside the box. If the event planner for the trade shows you’re going to is good they’ll have set up a LinkedIn group. Use this opportunity: connect with prospects and chat them up. Connect with others, help spread the word about the event, and afterward discuss what was learned or how it can apply to their future endeavors.
Reach out to Bloggers
Influential bloggers are everywhere. Not only that, they’re super social and very willing to spread the word about what’s going on in the niche industry they cover. They’re already tapping into the vein of your industry, so why not utilize their current reader base? Try schmoozing them when they’re at the event, contact them before the event so they can let their readers know you’ll have a booth, and staying in contact afterwards. You never know these types of connections will come in handy in the future. And what does it cost you? Maybe a drink at the event, a dinner possibly, or just some good conversation.
Still aren’t convinced you need to add social networking to your trade show marketing? Check out Tradeshow Insights post “Social Media and Tradeshow Marketing Results”, where respondents to a poll stated that a whopping 31% have already incorporated social media into their trade show marketing!
Have you ever used social networking in your marketing for an event you threw, or a trade show you were attending?
About the Author: Dennis Nixon is the Sales Manager at Smash Hit Displays, a company providing trade show displays and booths to vendors throughout the United States.