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

Social Media

7 Ways to Create Social Media Buzz Before the Tradeshow

So you wanna create social media buzz before the tradeshow but aren’t sure exactly how to pull it off? Of course there are dozens of strategies and tactics that will raise your profile above the average company, but not all will work in all situations and of course nothing is guaranteed. Your tweets and Instagram posts could be swept away by an unforeseen event or distraction that swoops up the eyeballs you were hoping to grab!

Create Social Media Buzz
Bob Moore of Bob’s Red Mill marches into Expo West with a dixieland band.

One of the most memorable methods was one I saw years ago when Griffin refurbished an old VW bus and drove across the country for a couple of weeks, tweeting and posting photos and videos all the way. By the time they drove the bus onto the tradeshow floor, hundreds of people were waiting for them. So you might consider how to play up your travel to the event. It might grab attention if it’s different than the norm. Anyone want to bounce from SF to LA on a pogostick wearing a branded shirt? Hey, just a thought!

So here are some more thoughts and ideas on how to create a little social media buzz prior to the show:

  1. Know the show hashtag, so that everything you put out is trackable and findable by show followers, whether they follow your actual account or not.
  2. If you have new products or services, create a teaser video or three and get them out onto your social media platforms.
  3. Maybe you’re going to debut a new exhibit at the show. Work with your exhibit house to tease elements of the exhibit with photos prior to the show.
  4. Consider creating a special landing page on your website just for the show. Let people make appointments, view more videos, learn about new products, get invited to parties, sign up for email or text notifications, whatever.
  5. If you have a company CEO or other management member speaking at the show or being part of a panel, be sure to include that in any information you post. And if you’re sponsoring a specific event or area of the show, don’t forget that.
  6. Got a contest or something else to draw people to your booth? Start promoting the contest online a week or so prior to the show. Any sooner and it becomes old quickly. Wait too long and you won’t reach as many people.
  7. Create a special hashtag just for your company for just this show and invite people to post photos of themselves wearing your product using the hashtag. Draw several prize winners from among the photos during the show and give away a bunch of your products to both show attendees and those that weren’t able to attend.

By engaging with attendees prior to the show, you create social media buzz that increases the odds you’ll draw more people to your booth during the show. If you manage to come up with this year’s VW bus promotion that goes viral, you might even get a raise!

8 Ways to Use Instagram at a Tradeshow or Event

Planning on putting more focus on using Instagram at your next tradeshow or event? Congratulations. After all, it’s one of the most popular social media platforms out there with more than 400 million daily active users. But before you get started, do a little planning and it’ll be much easier to capture and post photos.

  1. Use the Event Hashtag. This way people at the show will find your posts much more easily.
  2. Go behind the scenes with photos. Show the exhibit set up, the show prep meeting, or the travel to the show. Build some excitement as you approach the show, and of course during and after.
  3. Don’t focus exclusively on your products or services. The most boring Instagram accounts are those that do nothing but promote, promote, promote their own stuff. Sure a product placement is cool, but make sure you have faces, preferably happy and smiling. Show off your exhibit and the people that visit.
  4. Use the Geotagging options. And don’t just stop there. Spend some time going through other photos from the same event and location: either comment or like those so you’re building engagement and followers.
  5. Promote the event before, during and after. Show what you’re going to do, show your team doing it, and then once it’s over, show more photos of what you’ve done.
  6. Promote a contest. Instagram contests do work – but be sure to post your rules for how it works, and how you choose a winner. And be sure to give away a relevant prize.
  7. Share to other platforms. Yeah, it’s easy, but be clear about how you’re doing it. If you just click the buttons, you’ll likely get a link to your Instagram post instead of the actual image. So either share the images separately, sign up for an IFTTT account, link your two accounts, and add this recipe that will “tweet your Instagrams as native photos on Twitter.”
  8. Share the event hashtag photos on a monitor in your booth. Yeah, you’ll probably need some smart nerdy tech guy to set this up, but it’s definitely doable.

Have a great time at the show – and share on Instagram!


Free report: What 7 Questions Do You Need to Ask Your Exhibit House?

Infographic: Online Event Talk

The good folks over at Eventbrite offered to share their findings and infographic in how online talk and chatter can impact events. By analyzing tweets from over 60 events, they took the data into a special shake-n-bake room and came up with some useful findings. For instance, did you know that 50% of all online chatter about an event takes place prior to the event? Or that during the event, over a third of the tweets included a quote or a photo from the event?

Check out the infographic. Grab the whole enchilada here: Fundraising Trends from the Twitterverse: How to turn your fundraising event into social media gold.

mktg_1581_socialmediafundraisingevents_final

Feel free to check the original post here.

14 Proven Steps to Tradeshow Success [Webinar Replay]

Last fall I put out the book “Tradeshow Success: 14 Proven Steps to Take Your Tradeshow Marketing to the Next Level.” I’ve done several promotions around it, given away a bunch of copies, and use it as my main calling card.

But I’ve never done a webinar on the book. Until now. Check it out:

You can pick up a digital copy of the book at TradeshowSuccessBook.com. Or get your own copy here.

5 Easy Ways to Engage Tradeshow Pre-Show Marketing Outreach

Prior to your next tradeshow, it behooves you to spend some time doing a little pre-show marketing reaching out to potential attendees and prospects. Even if a potential client is not going to the show doesn’t mean that you should not communicate with them. She could be interested in your products or services, but just can’t make this particular show.

Here, in no particular order, are several ways to reach out to prospect prior to the show:

Email: easy, cheap. All you have to do is sit down at your keyboard and tell people why you’re going to be at the show and what the benefits of coming by your booth might be.

Direct mail: sending a postcard or other direct mail piece is definitely a way that stands out. Or course, the cost is more than sending out a simple email. Costs for sending direct mail start at about a buck a person (printing plus postage) and go up depending on what you’re sending. And then there’s the cost of creating the direct mail piece, which will usually involve a small team crafting the message, the subject, the layout and the coordination of the production and delivery.

Telephone

Telephone call: ah! the personal touch. Nothing beats the personal touch. Much more time-consuming, but if you target a select group of potential and current clients to let them know what’s going on at the booth during the show, it can pay off dividends.

Social media: more of a general ‘spray and pray’ approach, but you can build a little buzz with clever and creative use of social media.

PR and Media: the use of public relations and media tends to get overlooked, but the act of sending a press release about your show appearance to industry media or pertinent local or regional media can help get your name out there.

What to include in your outreach?

The who, what, when, where, how and why of your appearance. The standard journalism approach: make sure people know where to find you, when and where the show takes place, your booth number, perhaps even a description and photo of your booth. Got a video from last year? It makes a great way to bring the show to life, especially if it’s a client testimonial. Share photos on social media and include them in a press release. Photos also are well-received in emails and direct pieces, and make them easier to read.

And finally, give them the reason WHY they should come to your booth. Perhaps its a new product launch, or a new facet of a current product. Or a way to get a sweet deal only at the show. Or a special time to meet the CEO or other company wag. In any event, pre-show marketing can take many forms – and it’s work, but it’s all part of the process of making your tradeshow a success!

So I searched #tradeshow on Twitter…

Twitter is a great source for a lot of things: breaking news, rants and raves, tracking of stories and trends. So nearly every day I’ll spend a few moments to see what’s being offered in the #tradeshow world.

It’s a mix of blatant self-promotion, informative articles and out-of-the-box posts that make ya just scratch your head.

Let’s take a look at a few that I found recently:

First, the good stuff. @CorporateFX posted a link to their daily Paper.li postings, and included a link to 35 Experts Predict the Events That Will Shape Your Future, courtesy of EventBrite. Future prognosticating? Great reading, even if it’s wrong. At this point, we just don’t know!

Next I came across @RobynDavis‘s great share of an infographic:

TPG Live Events offered a look why you might have scared that tradeshow buyer away:

I really liked this one from @BlueHiveInc (great meme for tradeshows!):

 

And then, without naming names, I came across blatant pitches to rent a monitor, buy a booth, check out designs and more. Nothing wrong with that, unless it’s all you do with your Twitter account. I wouldn’t name names because they know who they are. I’m sure I’ve done it, too. But that’s not all I do.

And as for those goofy off the wall posts? Naah, not so much. The #tradeshow world is not populated by too many goofy people. We all take this stuff seriously. Even me. Sometimes.

Check out the #tradeshow hashtag tracking on Twitter now and then. Along with #eventprofs. Another good one from the event world.

“Tradeshow Success” Book Released

This week is the launch of my new book “Tradeshow Success: 14 Proven Steps to Take Your Tradeshow Marketing to the Next Level.” I’m doing a lot of the normal launch things an author would do: sending copies to industry media and bloggers, along with industry colleagues. Creating a list of clients and potential clients that I’d like to get the book into. And much more!

Beyond that, I’ve created a series of 14 videos, with each one relating to one of the chapters in the book. Those videos are appearing, about one a day, at my YouTube Tradeshow Marketing channel. Check ’em out!

So what can you do? If you want to purchase the paperback, here’s the Amazon.com page. You can also buy the Kindle version for about half the list price of the paperback.

You can also read the book for free here at TradeshowSuccessBook.com. You’ll be asked to opt-in to a mailing list (which, if you gotta, you can always unsubscribe from).

Book cover 3DV3 325 pix

What do you get in the book? As mentioned in the subtitle, I’ve detailed 14 steps that are critical to tradeshow success. Not every successful tradeshow marketer uses all of these steps with utmost efficiency, but most of them make very good use of many of the steps.
So what are the steps?

Let’s take a look at the 14 Steps:

  • Step One: Going with or without a Map? Are you doing enough planning and organizing around your tradeshows?
  • Step Two: Dollars, Pounds, Euros: How Much Do You Really Need to Make This Work? A breakdown of the budgeting process for tradeshows and what it takes to budget for a new exhibit.
  • Step Three: Getting Ready for the Big Dance: Pre-show planning and marketing.
  • Step Four: Did You Come to the Right Dance? Just make sure that your target market is at the show you’re going to dump all of that money into.
  • Step Five: Home is Where the Booth Is: Booth design essentials, including function, traffic flow, graphics and more.
  • Step Six: Is Your Frontline Team Up to Snuff? Booth staff training!
  • Step Seven: What Do I Do With All of These People in the Booth? Now that you’ve drawn a crowd, what do you do with them?
  • Step Eight: Tweeting, Posting and Instagramming Like a King or Queen: Putting social media to work for you in a creative way.
  • Step Nine: Who’s Keeping Track of Those Damn Tweets? Someone needs to create videos, blog posts, tweets, etc. Here’s a great look at some online content ideas.
  • Step Ten: Got a Stack of Leads: Now What? Lead generation and follow up.
  • Step Eleven: Becoming the Zen Master of Stats and Records: Record-keeping is the secret sauce to tracking your success.
  • Step Twelve: Stirring the Public Relations and Media Pot: Working with industry media.
  • Step Thirteen: Do QR Codes Still Kill Kittens? And Other Tech Questions: A quick examination of technology in tradeshows.
  • Step Fourteen: Out Of Your Nest: Time to Fly! Your call to action!

Want to grab your own copy? Use the links above to own your own. Or if you want the digital version (PDF download), try this:

Click Here to Get Your Digital Copy of My New Book

Using Technology to Optimize Your Exhibit (Infographic)

Infographics do a great job on illustrating a concept or breaking down a complicated concept to an easily understandable set of images and text.

Like this one. I heard from a fellow tradeshow exhibit from the UK who offered to share this particular infographic.

By using technology, you can uncover many benefits, as indicated in the original article on the Nomadic Display site:

• Social media and other forms of digital communication can enable you to connect with potential leads before a trade show even commences. In this way you’ll have list of warm prospects who are keen to speak to you on the day of the show.

• Gathering leads is a key aspect of many trade show exhibitions and technology can make this easier too. Touch-technology, instant messaging and social networking all make it easier than ever before to gather contact details from exhibition attendees.

• Technology can help you to demonstrate even complex products, to show testimonials and case studies and otherwise engage an audience who otherwise might pass straight on by your booth.

• Staying “front of mind” helps you to ensure that your company is the first that your leads think of when they need a solution that you offer. Increasingly sophisticated tools make it easier to maintain contact with your prospects after a show without making them feel “claustrophobic” and ensures that your messages arrive at optimal times.

Optimizing Your Exhibition Stand with Technology

An infographic by the team at Nomadic Display

Thanks again to our colleagues across the Atlantic for sharing!

 

Tradeshow Marketing Analysis, Part 10: Social Media Engagement

This is number 10 (and the last) in a series. Check the previous articles here:

  1. Where to Start
  2. Budgeting
  3. Pre-Show Preparation
  4. Which Shows to Attend
  5. The Booth
  6. Booth Staff
  7. Lead Generation
  8. Post-Show Follow Up
  9. Record Keeping

Since I’ve written and blogged about using social media engagement at events, tradeshows and conferences for years at TradeshowguyBlog.com, I would be remiss if I were to not chime in on that broad topic before this tradeshow marketing email course ran its course!

But it’s much too big of a subject to cover in one email. So let’s establish a few things:

  • Social media is used by many, if not most, of your competitors
  • Lots of companies, however, don’t use social media properly, or get lost when trying to navigate the ins and outs and don’t get more than a few feet past the starting gate.
  • Your audience IS engaged in social media.

If you get nothing else from this lesson, remember that there is no one right way to engage in social media. Every company has a different level of knowledge and resources to throw at it. Which means that no matter where you are, your competitors will be doing both a better job and a worse job than you.

And if you’re NOT using social media, may I ask: why not?

52-580x435 CROP

Social media and the inherent connectivity and engagement has changed the world. Why would you NOT get involved in some way? And don’t say your industry is not involved. Every industry is. Don’t say you’re too old. Nope, that’s not the case – there are people older than you who are very adept at it (you’re lazy). And don’t say you don’t have enough time. That may be partly true, but there are people with less time than you that still find time to engage at least some.

To begin, you should have an OBJECTIVE. What do you want to gain out of social media engagement? If all you want are sales, it’s likely you’ll be disappointed, because sales are rarely a direct result of social media engagement.

If you are hoping to find new ways to engage with your market, find out their likes and dislikes, identify complaints, answer questions, solve problems…social media is designed just for you.

When it comes to using social media at events, some obvious ways to use it are to drive traffic to your booth, promote products and services and to make connections with fans, colleagues and your market. The key is FUN and to keep it light. Social media – for companies at least – is not a place to make heavy political statements or to slam competitors. Not that a little levity at your competitors’ expense doesn’t have a place, but it should be done thoughtfully.

Next, you must identify WHO is going to represent your company. Is it your marketing team? Or is it an outside agency, or a combination thereof?

Often, the combination works best. Your employees know your company culture, which is important in striking the right tone in posts and keeping important information at the forefront. An experienced agency, on the other hand, knows the pitfalls of tweeting inappropriately or responding to a sudden social media crisis.

Next, you will have to determine the best PLATFORMS to spend time and energy on. While there are several key platforms that come to mind – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc. – it often takes an experienced agency to help identify the most important platforms. You know, the ones where your audience and target market hangs out and engages the most. If you’re currently involved in a handful of platforms, you probably have an intuitive understanding of the platforms your audience spends time and responds best.

Finally, you have to create CONTENT, and it must be created continuously and consistently. How many Twitter or Facebook accounts have you seen that are dormant and whose last post was over a year ago? It happens all the time. This goes back to identifying the resources you have available, either in-house or whether you have the ability to hire an agency to do the work for you.

Content comes in many faces: tweets, blog posts, short Facebook posts, photos, videos and responding to comments and questions on your platforms. When you get involved in social media you must make a commitment, and that commitment extends beyond the next month or year.

Social media is a marketing initiative, but unlike other marketing initiatives, there is no end date. An advertising campaign has a stop and start date. Social media is ongoing and the commitment is ongoing, too.

Knowing that you must be committed before jumping in with both feet shouldn’t keep you from getting involved, though. If nothing else, pick a platform – Facebook is probably the obvious choice if you’re not there – and create an account and start.

That’s all it takes to begin. You can make adjustments and learn as you go. Like all of your competitors!

And when it comes to using social media at tradeshows, there’s a LOT more to discuss. Which is why I’m giving you a PDF copy of my latest book: Super Networking at Events and Tradeshows Using Social Media. Just click the hotlink to download your copy now!

 

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Tradeshow Guy Blog by Tim Patterson

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