Social Media Can Maximize Trade Show Results

Social Media Can Maximize Trade Show Results

Trade show season is quickly approaching. As both lenders and vendors seek to maximize their return on investment from trade shows, they may want to turn to social media technology. Social media technology uses the Internet and Web-based tools to encourage and facilitate online communication and social interaction.

Many companies are unsure of how to effectively use social media, especially for their trade shows. It all begins with a strategic plan. What are the company’s objectives for the trades show? Is it to meet current customers, launch a new product or service, create brand or product awareness, lead generation, create media attention, and form strategic partnerships or some combination of all the items listed above?

Social media allows companies to build a community of followers. This community allows them to gain insight into their prospects’ wants and desires. It also can be used to proactively influence people and their decision making, act as a medium for advertising and a powerful tool to drive web traffic for their products and services.

Utilizing social media technology effectively requires strategy to be successful. Companies need to know what it is they want to achieve at the trade show (clearly defined goals and objectives). Companies need to have an in-depth knowledge of their target audience(s). This is critical because different social media technology appeals to different target markets. Once this has been clearly defined, companies must be able to clearly articulate their call to action. How do you want your target audience to respond? Is there anything that your competitors are doing that you can improve upon or leapfrog them with this social media strategy? Lastly, it is important to have a quantifiable way to determine if the social media efforts have been successful.

The social media technology tools that are most frequently used include: Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook to name a few. The key is using these tools in three distinctive phases, Pre-Show, During the Show, and Post Show activity.

Pre-Show activity should revolve around generating a buzz for the show and your booth. Companies can provide information about their booth, info and expertise of the staff attending and reasons that they chose to exhibit. For instance, tweets can be sent out prior to the show to build a personal connection between your company and trade show attendees. The sales staff can set up appointments with potential clients using LinkedIn and offer incentives or promotions to visit your booth via twitter. Your company can use Facebook to create excitement for the event.

During the show these tools can be used to update your community on the actual show and the key events as they are happening by using twitter to send out tweets. What are you seeing, hearing and doing at the show. Companies can post pictures of booth visitors to their Facebook page or use YouTube to deliver messages from the trade show floor.

Post-show activity should focus on the most memorable moments of the show. Don’t just focus and talk about your company’s products and services, instead discuss highlights of things that happened at the show that only people who attended the show would be aware of. Recap the show experience through tweets and Facebook updates, continue to engage potential clients and build your social community.

As you can see there are a number of ways to maximize your trade show results through the use of social media technology. Does your company currently engage in any social media activity? Do you plan to use social media for the upcoming trade showsl? If so, what tools do you plan to use? Share with us your thoughts on social media and if you think these tools can maximize trade show ROI.