I recently finished reading The Social Trade Show by Traci Browne to share learnings with our client in our quarterly planning and review meeting. We have the opportunity to drive engagement with our client’s audiences via social media and onsite event management. A powerful combination! I enjoyed this book because it reinforced some notions I had about the synchronistic nature of these two marketing streams, and I also learned new strategies and tactics we can propose in Q4.
- A vast number of your current and prospect customers, and trade show attendees, are on social media. Utilize social media (multiple channels – not just Twitter) to start promoting your presence at an upcoming event when the event organizers begin their promotions. Go beyond self promotion. Post about exciting keynote sessions, lunch-and-learns, and industry partners who will participate. Call out specific individuals you’re excited to see onsite. Prime the pump to ensure your audiences come to your booth!
- Think about your booth as an event. Post an agenda on your website that includes what you are doing each day at your booth throughout the show and include the link in tweets. Amplify what you have going on at the show via social; don’t forget to include the event handle, hashtag and your booth number.
- Your goal at an event is almost always to generate leads, sales or sign contracts with customers. Optimize for quality of booth visitor over quantity. Draw qualifieds through hands-on demo products, hosting an industry expert for a Q&A session at your booth, and handing out exclusive content pieces only available at your booth.
- Remember: not all your qualified leads are onsite; some may be tuning in from a few hundred or thousand miles away. Engage these prospects using your social media channels – share relevant and valuable information in real time (tweet key points of the main stage keynote; blog a recap of a valuable lunch training) and make your collateral and content pieces easy for virtual attendees to view and download.
One of the most important tips to an effective and successful virtual trade show is to provide content – onsite and online – that is going to help your prospects learn something new about your product or service; teach them something they can use in their personal or business life; and open new networking opportunities. Make it fun and useful and you’ll win a customer and online follower for life.