Much of the success of an exhibitor’s return on investment results from not only their presence at an event, but also the type of marketing they conduct both before and after a show. Virtually everyone uses an electronic device to check emails and connect online, and one of the most effective types of communication is through social media. Business contacts are constantly on the move, and many prefer to receive concise communication on their handheld devices than lengthy emails.
When used in conjunction with more traditional marketing methods, social media marketing can be powerful and cost-effective. Below are a few social media tactics that exhibitors can use to maximize their ROI before and after a show.
- Use Twitter announcements. Twitter can be used to send continuous pre- and post- show updates to an exhibitor’s followers. Exhibitors can also use Twitter during a show to send live updates for contests or product demos within their booths. Many events use event-specific hashtags, and these should be incorporated in company tweets to create brand buzz.
- Set up an event page on Facebook. Companies can set up an event page that revolves around a single upcoming event within their Facebook account and send invitations to potential customers to attend the show and visit their booth. They can post updates to the page Wall, and anyone who likes the page can receive updates in their general news feed.
- Use Vine to share real-time footage of events. If a potential customer is unable to attend a show, he or she can still view footage you create from the show and post to social media. Vine (for Twitter) allows users to create a 6-second video clip using the Vine application on their mobile device, then tweet it. Instagram offers the ability to create 15-second videos that can be shared within the native app and on Facebook. At a show with lots of activity, there are plenty of opportunities for short video stories. For example, exhibitors can share quick product demos or interviews with customers.
- Embed social media icons in email signatures. Once an exhibitor has established a social media account, making it visible to customers is crucial. Recognizable icons encourage email recipients to easily connect – and stay connected – to potential buyers, customers and contacts. Once a company follows a business contact on Twitter or LinkedIn, or likes a company’s page on Facebook, they continue receiving updates and communication long after the show closes.
At a show, attendees want to visit as many vendors as possible within a limited amount of time. A compelling way to make sure your company is seen and remembered among hundreds, sometimes thousands, of exhibitors is by using social media to connect with potential buyers and customers.
Yoshika Lin is a client services coordinator at NaylorCMG in Fairfax,VA.