Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.
Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.

September 2011

Facebooking at the Tradeshow

While there are literally dozens, if not hundreds of things you could do to interact with Facebook while at your tradeshow, let’s look a few of the basics. Are you covering these?

Does your blog (assuming you have a blog) have a Facebook page widget inviting readers to connect (like) with you? That’s a must. Every one that likes your Facebook page through your blog is another person that you can connect with in another place. And the good thing is that they are able to do that without even landing on your Facebook page. If you don’t have a blog, at least put a widget on the front page of your website. They’re easily configurable, and easily found – just go here and follow the instructions. You may need the assistance of your web guy or girl to install the code, but really, it’s pretty simple!

Add photos and videos to your Facebook page from the show

At the show, plan to post photos and updates as often as time allows. Encourage people to upload their own photos of your booth and/or staff to their pages. People love to share, so make it easy. In fact, you might even create a special backdrop where they can have their photos taken. Get creative – put up a photo of Brad Pitt or someone famous, or perhaps a famous scenery such as Yosemite Valley or Grand Canyon, or some other place that might relate to your business.

If you have a smartphone, get the Facebook app set up on it, and log in before the big day. Spend a little time getting use to how to take photos and upload them to your company page. Once that’s done, you’ll have a much easier time doing it while in the chaotic time crunch on the show floor.

Once you’re to the point of posting photos from the show floor and encouraging visitors to do the same, don’t forget to monitor the page. No doubt you’ll be getting comments on a regular basis – or at least feedback on the photos. Chime in to the conversation and respond to questions or concerns. This is great customer service: not only do you show customers that you care; you show potential clients that you’re proactive about dealing with issues as they come up.

With Facebook usage and time-spent data continuing to ramp up, it behooves you to do the best you can to be a part.

A Dozen More Social Media Ideas for Your Tradeshow

  1. Tech@NYU Startup Week Spring 2011

    Put a ‘like’ button on your website. Install a FB widget.

  2. Keep Twitter followers informed. Information seems to spread quickly through the Twitterverse – it’s extremely easy to retweet a post and share. If you send something out on Twitter, chances are good that someone somewhere will pass it along.
  3. Make sure your Twitter profile is complete. This means having at least the basics: a link back to your site – or better yet, a specific Twitter landing page or to your Facebook page so they can connect with you on another platform; a good photo; and enough information so a visitor can decide if you’re worth interacting with.
  4. Tag posts ,YouTube uploads, Flickr photos: tags are how people find you. You can’t tag things enough.
  5. Schedule tweets and FB postings using Hootsuite. ‘Nuff said.
  6. Create an alumni group for your event on LinkedIn. It’s a great way to keep in touch with folks after the actual event, and to get them involved in the next event you do. If it’s not your event, look for a show group on LinkedIn. If there’s not one, consider starting one.
  7. Create a Deal. Yup, people love a deal, and they’ll go out of their way to get a good deal. How will they find out about your deal? One very effective way is through social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. If it’s a great deal, your followers will tell their followers, and so on.
  8. Use Foursquare to create deals for followers and check-ins Foursquare is still a bit out of the mainstream, but it is useful for those who choose to get involved. It’s yet another way for people to connect with you at a tradeshow booth.
  9. Use or create #hashtag for your event. This allows anyone on Twitter to track down any information on the show.
  10. Create a custom Twitter Background. Yeah, the basic Twitter backgrounds are sort of nice, a bit bland, but a custom Twitter background really helps to set you apart from the crowd. Just search for ‘create custom Twitter background’ and get a ton of resources.
  11. Need to get a video stream out? Use or
  12. Put your slide deck on Are you speaking at a show or conference? Share your slide deck with people who couldn’t make it to the show.
Creative Commons License

 photo credit: techatnyu

Building a Twitter Following That Can Move You (and You Can Move)

It’s not hard to build a Twitter following. Just click ‘n’ follow and a majority of those that you follow will follow you right back.

But to build a following that can actually help you takes a little more thought – and probably a little more time.

First, determine WHO you want to follow you and WHY. Do you want to network? Find buyers for your product? Readers for your blog? New prospects that can find you at the next tradeshow in their area? If you can answer those questions with some confidence, you’re on the right path.

Next, how do you FIND those people? Keep in mind; you’re following PEOPLE, not COMPANIES. Yes, there are a lot of companies with Twitter accounts, but that doesn’t mean they’re worthwhile to follow. You might try and find specific people to follow that are interesting or worthwhile on some basis.

Next, how do you FIND them? Try keywords and hashtags. In the event industry, for example, the hashtag “#eventprofs” is used frequently. Typically hashtags are something you’ll just stumble on, so keep an eye out for them. Search for keywords related to companies, products or services in your industry, as well as recognizable names.

You can also find links to Twitterers on websites and blogs. Know someone in your industry that has a good online presence, such as a blog, a YouTube channel or on LinkedIn? Chances are you’ll find a Twitter link somewhere. In fact, if you’re active in a LinkedIn group, put up a post asking people to share their Twitter handles – a great way to follow dozens or hundreds of folks in the same interest group.

To determine if a Tweeter is worth following, check out their Twitter stream. Read their last few posts. Are they interesting? Do they link to worthwhile articles or blog posts? Do they have insight? Are their tweets frequent, or is the last tweet from 2010?

Now that you’re building your following, its’ time to INTERACT with them. Do you see a tweet that you like? Reply to them with a comment. Does the person look interesting – do they work for a company you’re familiar with, or is there some other connection? Don’t be shy about picking up the phone. That’s how I’ve met and connected with and become friends with people on Twitter. Reach out to them. You won’t hit if off with everybody – but if you are consistent, you’ll find a few great folks that you’ll become good friends with.

As you build your Twitter following, you’ll continue to find more value in those people and what they share. And if you want them to see you as a valuable tweeter, do your best to share valuable insight, links and thoughts via your Twitter account.

Swimming in the Social Media Sea

There has been a fundamental change in the way we connect with people for personal and business reasons. Have you noticed? It’s nothing we can control, and I’d wager we’re just seeing the beginning of the changes. Your best bet is to educate yourself, get started in social media (if you haven’t already) and start wading in. Eventually you’ll hit the deep end of the pool.

The question is: will you merely tread water, swim like a champion, or drown?

Going to the Hukilau

The new normal isn’t the old normal. Not only are the changes happening now, the pace of those changes is increasing. Does that make you upset, anxious and ready to crawl into a fetal position? I know it does for some people! When we don’t understand something, we as humans will often run from it. We’ll resist with all of our strength. We spend time thinking of what life must have been like in the Fifties, when business relationships were largely personal. When you went to the corner hardware store to solve a problem, you talked with the owner or manager, who was an old friend.
Maybe we fondly recall the technology of the 70s and 80s when fax machines, mass advertising and large-scale marketing were used by almost everyone. It may have been impersonal, but at least the changes were slow enough to assimilate.

Often we find ourselves wishing that the pace of technological acceleration was the same now as it was then.

But no. You’d be wrong. Those days are gone. Long gone. And they ain’t comin’ back.

Soooooo…what to do?

There is a small sign that hangs on my studio wall that reads “Start Now. Begin Anywhere.” It is a reminder that no matter where you start, it is better than not starting. So if it means setting up your first Twitter account, or posting a few tentative photos to Flickr, or seeing what it takes to start a YouTube channel, get going. You don’t have much time. Your competitors are saying the same thing: where do we start and what do we do?

I talked with a marketing person from a large multi-national company recently, whose corporate leaders still insist on ‘no social media’ in their world. As if it didn’t exist. As if by ignoring social media, it will go away.

Trust me, it won’t. They will lose ground, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, but believe me; they will lose ground against their competitors who are moving into the world of social media. Ignoring the sea change will get you swamped.

As someone who swims in the social media sea on a daily basis, I have to occasional step back and realize that not everybody is doing the same I am. Companies still struggle with the changes. Even companies who appear to be happily involved in social media with Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, YouTube Channels and LinkedIn pages find themselves puzzled by what they’re doing – and what they SHOULD be doing.

It’s a challenge – and it should be. Significant changes to the status quo are often hard to take. But if you realize that everyone else is going through the same thing, that makes it easier.

To begin – if that’s where you’re at – take a few steps, measure the results and your ability to interact with those tools, and do it again. And again. And again. It’s just a matter to getting used to it.

At your next tradeshow, for instance, plan on tweeting out or posting on Facebook whenever the opportunity arises. Take photos of clients and post them (ask permission first). Tweet out any special deals you have. Ask for feedback on new products or services. Check the response, make any adjustments you feel should be made – and do it again.

Give yourself permission to screw up – nobody really gets this stuff 100% right, anyway, so don’t feel you have to do this perfectly. Just get in the social media water and start splashing.

Creative Commons License

 photo credit: Justin Ornellas

Why Hootsuite is so Good for Tradeshows and Events

Okay, this is gonna sound like an ad for Hootsuite. But it’s not. Well, it’s not intended that way!

But the more I play around with Hootsuite, the more I find it’s a terrific tool for managing your social media efforts at tradeshows and events.

First, everything is in one place.  And I mean everything! You can load up several accounts from Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, LinkedIn, and others. You’re able to set up several members of your team with access to the dashboard, making it easy for them to schedule tweets or posts ahead of time. This is a great tool when you consider the chaos of the tradeshow floor, and you know that you’ll want to be able to take care of people in the booth as well as mix in the occasional live tweet or Facebook posting with your scheduled tweets or posts.

Let’s say you’re planning a tradeshow appearance. You can schedule various activities in your booth, such as guest appearances, product promos, demonstrations, etc., and set up tweets and posts ahead of time. It takes some time to put it all into place, but once you’re at the show, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that all of those tweets and Facebook postings are going to show up at their scheduled time. And if something changes in mid-stream, such as guest getting caught in traffic and having to delay his appearance, it’s easy to log on to Hootsuite and make the changes in the scheduled posts.

When Hootsuite first came out, I grabbed a free account, and bounced back and forth between that and Tweetdeck (I wouldn’t count Tweetdeck out yet – I hear Twitter purchased the software and is working to add more capabilities to it). Then I drifted away. But now I’m back, and as I mentioned, the more I use it the better it gets. The coders behind Hootsuite keep adding more bells and whistles, making it more useful all the time. In fact, there’s so much there that I probably won’t ever use all of its capabilities.

As an event manager, your biggest social media advantage is the ability to get ahead of the curve on being able to set up pre-scheduled tweets and posts. This software is the best at doing that, and it’s web-based so you don’t have to download and install anything.

And don’t forget the mobile platform. There’s a Hootsuite app (which I rarely use because I prefer the web approach) that is also available if you prefer to do it from your smartphone.

Have I said enough? I could go on, but you might think I’m trying to suck up to the dudes at Hootsuite. Naah, it’s just a cool tool.

Hootsuite is available in both a free and premium version. The premium version, for just a few bucks a month, offers ore detailed analytics and deeper tools – well worth the modest monthly cost.

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