8 Ways to Use Social Media in your Tradeshow Marketing
- Be involved.
- Be proactive.
- Keep an ear to the ground (continued research)
- Plan and execute event-related social media campaigns
- Track metrics of engagement
- Write up reports on results
- Stay informed on cutting edge technology
- Use the technology that makes the most sense
Let’s break those down a bit more, okay?
1. Be involved.
Makes sense. If you’re going to use social media in your event and tradeshow marketing – and you should – you’ll have to be involved. That means checking in on your Facebook and Twitter feeds regularly, following and ‘liking’ people and businesses that are related in some way. It means engaging regularly with Twitter followers by offering good information, making your opinions known, and responding to tweets, questions and comments. Engagement!
2. Be Proactive.
Don’t just sit and wait for something to happen with your social media engagement. When you see a cool article that your audience might enjoy, share a link. When you have an opinion on something, write up a blog post (you DO have a blog, right?). When you go to an event, take photos and post them. When you stop at a booth, tell people who you are online and how to find you (this should be on your business card).
3. Keep an ear to the ground.
Your research and listening modules should be concise and easy to follow. If you’re not using a premium research tool, you should have Google Alerts set up on various industry brands, products and people. You should regularly search Twitter for keywords to see what conversations are going on. If you want to be in the know, you have to spend time learning what’s going on. There are tons of free and premium tools to help you do this.
4. Plan and execute event-related social media campaigns
Every show is unique and therefore every show should have a unique marketing plan for your social media engagement. You will have different people involved, different products to promote, and different targets to reach. Plans would include a variety of tweets, Facebook postings, videos and photos to be shot and produced, perhaps an editorial calendar of what information goes out when. Yes, it adds another layer to your entire tradeshow marketing plan, but it’s necessary if you want to get a handle on it and make it work effectively.
5. Track metrics of engagement
Plan on what metrics you’re going to track, how they’re going to be tracked and who’s going to do the tracking. Is it Facebook ‘likes’? Is it the number of people that show up in your booth in response to tweets? Is it pageviews on your blog? Video views on YouTube? Sales as a results of social media engagement? Before you can track metrics, know what’s important for your business and how you’re going to assemble the numbers.
6. Write up reports on results
After each show, it’ll be up to you to include a segment on your post-show report that reflects your social media engagement. It’s generally pretty straightforward stuff, but don’t discount the importance of the essence of the report: who did what, how it worked, what the results were (compared to expectations, if any), and what your recommendations are for the next show.
7. Stay informed on cutting edge technology
“Oh, no, there’s something NEW? Holy crap, I’m only starting to figure out the older stuff!” Yes, there’s always something new, especially in the fast-paced world of social media. Take smartphones, for example. Are your websites optimized for the mobile platform? Are you using QR Codes? If so, are you making sure that QR Code is doing what it’s supposed to do? What about Foursquare and SCVNGR?
By tracking a few blogs, you should be able to keep up on much of what’s new. My favorites are Mashable and Hubspot, but there are certainly others as well.
8. Use the technology that makes the most sense
Just because you CAN use a technology doesn’t mean you SHOULD. While it’s easy to say that you should stay with what you’re comfortable, I think it’s important to keep stretching your comfort zone. Don’t know how to set up a QR Code? Learn about them, and figure out if it’s something your market might react positively to. Not sure if video works in your industry? See what others are doing and assess your company’s capabilities and make a decision based on that assessment.
There will ALWAYS be new technology headed your way. You should at least be aware of it, what the implications might be and how you might potentially use it.
Adding social media to your other duties as tradeshow manager might make you pull your hair out, but the fact remains: your competition is working to do the same. Some are ahead of you, some are behind. The more comfortable you are with all of the tools and gadgets of social media, the better off you and your company will be.