Social media has become increasingly important over the past five years as an integral part of your overall trade show strategy.
Social media can be a great way to drive traffic to your booth at the show when used properly. It is in your best interest to cut through the noise and not only be active on the show floor, but also active online in the coming weeks and days before the show.
By taking a proactive approach before the show, you are allowing yourself the opportunity to meet as many people as you possibly can.
During the show, we suggest assigning someone to “real-time” social media monitoring. This person can monitor the show chatter as it’s happening, drive traffic to your booth and quickly respond to photo tags and direct messages. This is usually someone who is not onsite, but able to dedicate his or her undivided attention to reaching out to as many people as possible during the show. It is an investment in time and resources, but one that can make a huge difference in your brand’s visibility during the show.
Read on to learn five ways you can utilize social media to start spreading the word and drive foot traffic to your booth at the show before you’ve even set it up.
Engage with influencers before the show
Are you looking to connect with social media influencers, press, freelancers, and podcasters on the show floor? The best way to do this is to start your outreach now. Look through the conference hashtag to see if you spot any influencers talking about attending. Reach out to your favorite ones and ask if they're going.
These folks get booked up quickly, so the time to reach out is now.
When you meet with influencers at the show, be prepared to share any new, hot, up and coming products with them. If you can take the time to introduce influencers to your founder or CEO, it can go a long way. Face time is so much more impactful than an email.
Influencers often have many items to cart around at the show, so plan to give them a small takeaway during your meeting. Get their address and follow up by mailing a product to them after the show is over.
Follow and engage with the hashtag
There is a lot of chatter happening on social media before the show. It’s time to be a part of the conversation! Check regularly for the conference #hashtag. People may also put the hashtag in their title or bio on Twitter so you can easily find them.
You can also monitor and follow these same hashtags on Instagram, too. When you post your own content on social media, make sure you are using these hashtags as well so your posts can be discoverable, too. It is also recommended to like and comment on other’s posts to actively engage in the chatter before, during, and after the show.
Display your social media handles prominently at your booth
Make sure your social media handles are displayed on your booth signage so they can easily be seen by all. If you are reading this and panicking because your social media handles were not incorporated into your booth design, take a deep breath.
You can also print a sign and put it in an acrylic holder or picture frame to display on your table. Instagram has a name tag feature that you can place on a flyer with relevant information and attendees can follow you right on the spot. If you can offer a giveaway for those who visit your booth that is always a great incentive as well.
Incorporate “Insta-worthy” content into your booth
We live in a day and age where we now need to think about visual aesthetics and Instagram when it comes to booth design.
Take note of booths this year and how they design their backdrops to be “Insta-worthy.” Some great examples from TPIE this year include the “Plant Life” sign. The perfect photo backdrop!
Create Shareworthy Offers or Content. Everyone you meet at the conference presents an opportunity. Make sure to scan everyone's badge who comes to your booth and be on the lookout for anyone with a badge that says "Influencer," “Freelancer” or “Press.” These are the folks who may write about your brand, so give them something to talk about!
Encourage others visiting your booth to feature you in their Instagram feed, post or story. Offer a prize or giveaway. An example of this would be having everyone who posts during the show enter a raffle to win a prize pack. Make the prize substantial so it is worth posting about. Tie in a social-good component and donate to a charity.
You can also offer to take photos of folks as they visit your booth. This makes it much easier to share content, especially if someone is browsing the show floor solo. Team up with other brands to do a scavenger hunt at the show. This is also a creative and clever way to drive foot traffic to your booth and collaborate with other like-minded brands.