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


Tradeshow Social Media Video Guide

In case you hadn’t noticed social media video is exploding, driving traffic and eyeballs both on and offline. So it makes sense to strongly consider making video a part of your tradeshow strategy. Posting videos or going live from the show gives followers a sense of the show without actually being there, and if done correctly can help paint a picture of the people behind your brand.

If you’re going to put some videos together to promote your tradeshow appearance, it helps to color inside the lines as it were. Unless you’re a creative genius like Scorsese. So let’s take a look at some of those guidelines you might follow.

Facebook: Go Live from the show floor from your phone or laptop or tablet. Keep it short, but look to connect with viewers using short product demos, in-booth interviews with clients or visitors, interacting with booth staffers and more. Give your followers an intimate look at the people behind the products and services.

YouTube: Great for longer-form videos, but don’t overdo the length. You can go live, but it’s not a simple one-click from your page as it is with Facebook. Create videos that give information: product demonstrations, how-tos, and stories that build your brand.

Instagram: Now that you can combine stills and videos into short stories, capture several items and publish together as a single post. Aim for collections that demonstrate a lifestyle that relates to your brand. And of course, with a click you can go live on Instagram.

Twitter: Short videos are the rule on Twitter, as the stream is going so fast. One or two minutes is all you really need to capture someone’s attention. To the best of my knowledge, you can’t go live on Twitter (is Periscope still a thing?), so you’ll have to upload to YouTube or Vimeo or some other video platform and post a link.

Regardless of the platform you’re on, plan on posting multiple times during the day. If you’re going to do video from a tradeshow at all, make a full-on commitment so that your followers that are not at the show are able to anticipate your videos and join in the fun from a distance. Be sure to use show hashtags so that people outside of your company social media followers can find your video posts. And have fun – it’s just video! Everybody’s doing it! You’ll learn and get better as time goes on.

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.

Are You Using Twitter to Drive Traffic to Your Blog and Event?

Now that the first quarter of 2010 is officially in the books, I was curious how the viewership on this blog went. And since I can sometimes be a stats geek, I thought I’d post a few numbers.

With Google Analytics and a WordPress stats plug-in, I can access just about anything I want. But all I want to share is an insight (not a big one) that if a post link gets re-tweeted a few times, it’ll end up in my ‘top views.’

For starters, the two most re-tweeted posts came in as the most viewed (as you might expect):

23 Pre-Show Marketing Promotions, Tactics and Ideas and Twittering at #ExpoWest. They were each viewed around 100 times in the past three months. Maybe not much if you’re Google, but for a li’l ol’ niche-oriented B2B blog, I’m pretty happy with those numbers (the three listing above the two most-viewed posts are pages, not posts).

top posts on TradeshowGuy Blog first Q 2010

In the past seven days, two other highly re-tweeted posts have been moving up the viewership list:

27 Un-Boring Things to do At Your Next Tradeshow and How to Find the Right Tradeshow for Your Company. Both were posted this week and thanks to the Twitterverse re-tweeting them a number of times, the readership climbed quickly. I suspect the ‘list’ approach for the ’27’ post had a lot to do with getting the re-tweets; that the the subject of ‘un-boring’…both of which serve to create interest and draw listeners, both done by design.

top posts on TradeshowGuy Blog last 7 days

If you’re a blogger, you should be using these tools to drive traffic. After all, if you write a post, you want people to read it, don’t you?

One thing I do is use so that I can schedule tweets ahead of time; this gives me a chance to post the link 6 – 8 times. Each time it picks up another tweeter who re-tweets it, sending more readers to the post.

I think there is a limit to scheduling tweets though, and I’m not sure where to draw the line. I’ve seen people post links and have them scheduled to go out hourly for several days. Yeah, spammy, I know. But with what I feel is a good post I would like to maximize readership. And the great thing about Twitter is that your community will tell you what’s good – what hits their buttons – and what is not.

One more item: back in February I did an online webinar on ‘Using Social Media to Close More Biz at Tradeshows’ and used nothing but social media and e-mail to drive traffic to the sign-up page. When all was said and done I had a lot of support from the tradeshow community (see screenshot of a handful of re-tweets below), and over the nearly three weeks leading up to the webinar it was interesting to see the numbers:

  • 880 click-throughs to the sign-up page
  • 125 sign-ups for the free webinar
  • 58 attendees

Given that my budget was literally zero – just an investment of time and the ability to use the social media tools – I was more than pleased with the outcome.

Social Media-Tradeshow Webinar RT's

If I wanted to use traditional media to drive traffic (direct mail, postcards, radio, print, etc.) it would have been a huge undertaking and would have taken months to get everthing set up and implemented. And it would have cost thousands of dollars. With social media all it took was a YouTube and Twitter account, a Facebook page and the ability to create video promos and write posts about it….and the time to make it happen.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m sold on social media for its cost-effectiveness and ability to spread useful information to a lot of interested people quickly. And get them to take action.

Using Facebook at an Event: A Case Study

Need more sign-ups on your Facebook page? Take a tip from this case study of, an online study community aimed at high school and college students. Marketing Associate and blogger Carleigh McKenna contacted us after a HARO request for stories on how companies are using social media in conjunction with events.

Here’s how kick-started their Facebook page:

At a “Boston Back to School Party” last year, hosted a booth at CollegeFest crammed with several computer stations. They encouraged students to log in to their Facebook pages to check updates. While logged in, they asked the students to join their Facebook page.

To entice as many students as possible to sign up, they dangled a $1500 prize to be given to a member of the new Facebook page at random after the CollegeFest was complete. Since they had just created the page and went into the event with zero members, they explained the odds were pretty good.

As Carleigh put it: “Not only did we take a Fan Page from 0 members (it launched the day before CollegeFest) to almost 1,000—which has allowed us the credibility of an established page as we attract more members– we also got more information than a simple e-mail address alone will ever provide.”

Since CollegeFest, the Facebook Fan Page has continued to grow. As of last check they were at over 2000 fans.

Carleigh adds that students (and perhaps some parents) are active on the Facebook page; joining in a weekly brainteaser, checking out photos and posting status updates or questions.

Check out

Social Media Tradeshow Marketing Survey – Final Results

twitter logo vampire goth

Two dozen people responded to my short survey last month on how companies use Social Media in their tradeshow marketing. Admittedly, the results are not scientific. But I feel they are telling. Even with a couple dozen people you start to feel the pulse of how people are incorporating social media into their event marketing efforts.

Creative Commons License

photo credit: Catherinette Rings Steampunk

First we asked if your company is involved in Social Media, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or YouTube?

  • 95% said YES

Do you use Social Media to promote your tradeshow appearances?

  • 81% said YES

Does your company have an active blog (posting at least 5 – 10 times per month)?

  • 63% said YES

Does your company have a Facebook page?

  • 68% said YES

Does anyone at your company have a Twitter account that represents your company? (could be more than one person)

  • 81% said YES

Does your company have a YouTube channel?

  • 45% said YES

If you have a YouTube channel, how frequently do you post videos?

  • less than once a month – 81%
  • 2 – 3 times a month – 9%
  • twice a week of more – 9%

How important is it to your company to drive tradeshow sales using Social Media?

  • not important at all – 4%
  • we’re thinking about it, but uncommitted – 9%
  • looking at it closely and experimenting – 45%
  • we’re heavily involved and looking for more ways to use SM – 36%
  • none of the above – 4%

Are you interested in attending a webinar or teleseminar on using Social Media to clost more Biz at your Tradeshow?

  • 64% – YES
  • 36% – NO

If YES, what is the most important thing you’d like to have covered?

Comments included:

  • I would like content to go beyond the basics of what these social media platforms are and how to start an account and post, and focus specifically on fun, creative ways for the experiences user to drive traffic to the booth that will convice the company’s tradeshow manager of its value!
  • Case studies
  • Even though it’s really hard for me to do teleseminars/webinars since I’m on the road a lot, I’m always looking for ways to build show traffic and would do my best to participate. My main difficulty with using social media for shows, at the moment at least, is that my core client base is not even involved with social media. Many are on LinkedIn. But with that being a more stagnant social network, they set it and forget it. Some are on Facebook, but primarily for family, friends and to hook up with their high school buds. Twitter? Of my core “in person” network, I can name only 3 people — yes, 3 of my 230+ followers — that are even remotely active on Twitter and that’s not daily activity either. I don’t have a “blog” per se, but do have a weekly email newsletter that has an intensely loyal following of 50 or so from my in-person network. So that’s about as social as they get. What Twitter offers me is a new universe of social media aware people to network with. Many are in my home Chicago area, but it will be a while before we tweet up or start attending the same events. Always love your tweets. Thanks for being part of my social media network!
  • Real life case studies of how people are monetizing social media in events
  • Getting people to the booth
  • Facilitating inbound marketing using SM How will tools like foursquare affect 2010-11 event marketing? best practices in the showscape with SM?

The goal of the survey was to give me some food for thought and look to create a webinar that focuses on the needs of those who responded. Right now I’m working on the content and depending on the rest of my workload plan to roll out the webinar in late January or early February. If you’re subscribed to our newsletter you’ll be notified with plenty of time to sign up!

Is Your Company on Facebook?

More and more companies are realizing the value and power of having a presence on Facebook. While many people see it as a duplication of their online efforts, I believe that’s the wrong way to look at it. With 350 million worldwide Facebook users, a significant part of your market is spending time – in some cases, a lot of time – on Facebook.

Yes, it’s another way to ‘touch’ your market. But look it this way: you have a website, you’re on Twitter (hopefully) and wondering what to do with your Facebook page. Being on Facebook allows people to become fans, and encourages feedback. The more fans, the more feedback. The more feedback, the more that is shared throughout those peoples’ networks. And you keep adding fans.

But what about B2B? Yes, there are active Facebook company B2B pages. Here’s a brief slide show that shows 10 examples of Facebook B2B pages, and looks into why your company should have a presence on Facebook:

If your company is B2C, you should definitely have a page on Facebook. It’s a great way to reach more people and spread more information and gather more feedback.

One example, gDiapers (disclosure: a client of ours at Interpretive Exhibits) has a very active Facebook page. They’re also on YouTube and Twitter, too. But when I first noticed their Facebook page just two short months ago, or less, they had right around 2900 fans. When I just looked a few moments ago, they’re just a few shy of 4000 fans. Which means they’re picking up about 500 a month. The conversation on the blog revolves around customer issues, new products, the occasional free coupon, ecstatic users and more.

Face it, Facebook is a great place to build on your brand and strengthen customer connections.

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Tradeshow Guy Blog by Tim Patterson

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