So you’re headed to a trade show, huh? In most industries, few things are really more valuable than face-to-face interactions. But while you may be on the front lines of your brand for those few days, you’ll have to make sure that someone is maintaining your social presence online.
Here are some tips for making sure you’re taking advantage of these tactics before, during, and after the event.
BEFORE: DO YOUR RESEARCH
Most trade shows have a specific hashtag, a place to check in, or even contests involving social actions. Do some digging before you head out to the event so that you’re well-prepared to have your content seen by the right audience.
Has the conference released a list of attendees? Or perhaps they’ve shared the most popular regions or segments from last year’s event? Make good use of that by interacting with those companies on your social platforms. But be careful, no one likes spammy copy/pasted statements online.
Find something unique about them that you can relate to, even if it’s as simple as your travel plans – e.g., “Got your bags all packed, @[COMPANY]? Can’t wait to see you at Booth #142 tomorrow!”
Reaching out like this is often reciprocated because, let’s face it, everyone loves getting recognized.
DURING: SHARE THE LOVE
It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of a trade show, but it’s crucial that you stay at least mildly attentive to your social platforms. Set yourself a reminder on your phone to check in every so often. Social media is best used in-the-moment, so you’ll want to take the extra couple of minutes to provide these live updates.
Tell the world what you’re up to. Did you attend a particular session that stood out to you? Was there a quotable line from the keynote address? Did you sit with a mutual industry partner during lunch? Does your booth have some fun keychains to give away? Tweet all of it! And don’t forget to use the conference hashtag.
Keep in mind, a strong percentage of your updates should pay homage to the other attendees. You don’t want to come across as overly self-promotional in the midst of an event that’s intended to bring people together for collaboration.
AFTER: FOLLOW UP
You probably shook a ton of hands and grabbed a ton of business cards throughout the trade show. When you get back to the office, do a little searching to follow up with those people. Add them on LinkedIn, follow them from your business’ page, and even send them a nice message. These tactics are the same as the traditional means of following up, but can make a much stronger, more viral impact on social media.
Share with your followers a recap of everything you learned from the event. This is an easy way to create some original content for your networks. Maybe it calls for a blog post – “7 Things We Learned from Attending [#CONFERENCE NAME]” or a series of tweets throughout the week. This is also a great exercise in justifying the expense and time involved in attending a trade show.
Most importantly – stay active, engaged, and up-to-date. Your followers are sure to tell the difference between a template approach, and someone who is fully immersed in the social angle of attending an industry event.
Michelle is a Social Media Strategist with Stream Companies, a Philadelphia area advertising agency.