Even in an increasingly digitized marketing world, a well-executed trade show presence is an indispensable part of a solid marketing strategy for any B2B company. And just because trade shows are a more traditional way of getting the word out about your product or brand doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the benefits of real-time communication and instant exposure made possible through social media.
Social Media Plays a Key Role in B2B Marketing
According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 B2B report, 68% of B2B marketers incorporate trade shows and similar in-person events as part of their marketing plan—but just 36% report that their events are effective.
A well-executed social media campaign can dramatically change that.
When done with a bit of planning and creativity, social media can help maximize visibility and attendance at your next big event. As an added bonus, it offers a convenient platform for repurposing your content and leveraging your trade show investment long after the event wraps up.
Check out a few of our favorite tips on getting the most out of your trade show through social media:
Customize Twitter Hashtags, Livestream to Engage Event Attendees, and Follow Up with LinkedIn Connections
Depending on your level of participation in your trade show, you may have access to a list of contacts for partners, key speakers, and potential attendees. Leverage your contact list with these steps:
- Follow them on Twitter and add them to a Twitter List
- Create a company-specific hashtag and use it alongside the event’s official hashtag to tweet about your upcoming event
- Start tweeting early—even as early as a few months before the event—to build relationships with partners, key players, and attendees and to increase the visibility of your event.
During set-up and while the event is taking place, engage employees and booth visitors with photos and video—and then use your hashtags to get your content where you want it via live tweets.
If you think you’ll be too busy to manage social media at the event, consider using a social media management platform or hiring a social media partner to schedule bulk tweets beforehand. Then, add to those with live tweets as often as possible during the show.
Leverage Live Streaming: Offer Contests, Product Demos, and Giveaways to Engage Your Followers
Take some time to learn how livestream works in advance of the event. Whether you’re using Instagram Live, Facebook Live, or YouTube, do a few livestream trial runs beforehand: stream a production run, a project completion, or a customer testimonial to liven up your social feed on a regular workday.
By the time the event rolls around, livestreaming will be second nature!
At the Trade Show
Take advantage of the real-time opportunities for livestreaming during the event. Ask customers for testimonials, interview employees about their trade show activities, and engage partners in conversations about the benefits of your product and your company.
Livestreaming offers a great way to bring the trade show to those that couldn’t be there in person, and allows you to add some action and authenticity to your social presence.
After the Trade Show
Repurpose your livestream content to create a trade show recap that highlights your customers’ experience with your product and your company. Clip short snippets from the stream for future posts when you’re looking to show off your company’s personality.
LinkedIn for Long-Lasting Trade Show Connections
LinkedIn can be a bit cumbersome to use in real-time at the event, but it makes a great follow-up tool to reconnect with key players and potential clients long after the event shuts its doors.
If your contact is already a LinkedIn connection (and in limited cases even when they aren’t), you can use the “InMail” feature for direct messaging. Shoot your contacts a brief note thanking them for their time and interest, or simply to say that you’re glad you had a chance to talk and you’d like to keep in touch. You can also use the message as to segue way to offer access to a white paper or an invitation to an upcoming networking event.
If your contact is not yet a LinkedIn connection, go to their profile and click on the ellipsis at the top right. Click “Personalize Invitation” and write a brief message in the text box before sending your connection request.
Follow the above tips to integrate traditional in-person marketing strategies with the far-reaching capabilities of social media. If you need help designing and deploying your social media strategy, reach out to us for advice!