While trade shows have predominantly relied on face-to-face interactions, in today’s digital world, it has become increasingly important to use social media to enhance your booth’s presence on the show floor. However, navigating the choppy waters of social media can be quite tricky.
The right moves could spell trade show success, while false one could completely ruin your trade show experience. This is precisely why it’s crucial to do a lot of research before you start a social media campaign to promote your Orlando exhibit rentals.
The first thing you will have to do is identify who your target audience is. Next, list out your goals for the campaign. If you need a little help with this, you can apply the SMART goal-setting strategy. Your goals should be:
Specific – Do not have vague goals like ‘generate more business’. Instead, have a goal that tells you exactly what is expected of this social media campaign.
Measurable – Ensure that the results of your social media plan can be measured. This way, you can quantify how much you have achieved or how much you missed your specific goal by.
Attainable – Your goals should always be attainable. A goal that is out of reach will set you up for failure, which can be demotivating to you and your entire team. It’s vital that you keep your goals practical.
Relevant – Your social media marketing goals need to be very specific and in conjunction with your overall marketing goal. These goals might be to increase website traffic, strengthen branding, or build an audience.
Timely – Always keep the event date in mind when you set your goals. Your mini-goals need to have their own deadlines.
Once you have your goals set, it’s time to put your plan in motion. Your social media marketing strategy should start before the show, to create awareness about your presence at the event.
It should continue all through the event, to drive traffic towards your Orlando exhibit rentals, and should still be active after the event, so you can stay connected with attendees and continue to build your relationship with them.
While planning your campaign, the most important thing that you need to do is pick the platform on which you want to engage with your audience.
Choosing the Right Channel
Depending on your brand persona and what you hope to achieve, you can make use of various social media channels to meet your goals. Let’s take a look at each of these channels and see how they can help.
Facebook allows both long, wordy posts, as well as short, crisp posts that are driven by images, gifs, and videos. If you publish too many long posts in quick succession, followers might think that you’re trying to spam their timeline, leading them to block or unfollow you. Ideally, this platform is best suited for long posts like daily re-caps or photo uploads at the end of the day.
With its character limit, Twitter is the best place to post short messages about events or competitions that you’re having before the event or at your booth. With the help of hashtags, you can reach out to a wider audience, and get more people involved in your campaign. Twitter is like a megaphone that you can use to amplify your brand’s message across the internet.
If you want your brand to be taken seriously, then you need to ensure that your LinkedIn page is up to date and provides customers with an attractive snapshot of your organization. You can use your company profile to highlight your products and services while educating customers on upcoming projects. A properly curated LinkedIn page could become a huge asset to you and your company.
If visual appeal is what you want, then Instagram is where you need to be. You can upload short videos of your booth, beautiful shots of your display, and even keep people updated through your stories. This platform also allows you to add a location map, so visitors will be able to easily find their way to the trade show.
Each platform has its own advantages and disadvantages, which is why the most effective social media campaigns make use of various platforms simultaneously.
Let’s now take a look at how you can use each platform before, during, and after the show for the best results.
Before the show, you need to let your audience know that you’re attending an event and post teasers about what people should expect from your.
On Facebook, you can create an event page and invite your customers to attend. You can post updates there to whet their appetite, and perhaps even run competitions.
On Twitter, you can create a unique hashtag that is short, related to the event and memorable. You can then engage with your audience regularly via the platform and with the help of the hashtag, you have created.
On Instagram, post behind the scenes images of your preparations as well as layouts of the venue. This will allow people to find your booth at the trade show easily. You can also use a hashtag with all your posts and encourage viewers to ‘follow’ it and stay updated on the event.
During the Show
Once the show starts, you need to ensure that you use your social media platforms to engage with your audience and receive instant feedback about your performance and your booth.
You can go live on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at the beginning of the day to provide your followers with an on-ground look of what it’s like to be at the venue. You can even take people through your booth online to give them a taste of what they’re missing out on if they haven’t made it to the show.
Through the day, you can check back for feedback and comments. If somebody’s endorsed you, make sure you share their post or retweet what they’ve said. You can also share images that visitors have shared from inside your booth, to give your pages a more authentic and honest feel.
On LinkedIn, you could share insights, notes, quotes and stats from any educational sessions or keynote speeches that happened during the event.
After the Show
Now that you’ve enjoyed a successful run at the event, it’s time to build your relationships with potential clients and business partners.
In the weeks after the show, you can reach out to the visitors who made it to your booth and thank them for coming. You can also ask them to provide you with a testimonial, which you can share on social media.
On LinkedIn, you can share post-show insights and data, or even release a whitepaper related to the event. You can connect with individuals who showed interest in your booth during the event and reach out to them to take things forward.
On Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, you can occasionally post images and videos from the event, as a throwback to a fun time. You can even encourage people to share similar posts with you, and then repost them on your social media pages.
Sharing third-party content is one of the best ways in which you can engage with more people, and also earn a few brownie points from potential customers.
Social media has completely changed the way we interact with the world and the people around us. Used correctly, it can be a powerful tool that enables us to further our business and achieve our goals. But, in the wrong hands, it could seriously damage our prospects.
During your trade show, it’s important that you keep your fingers on your social media pulse and have someone dedicated to updating the pages and replying to comments and queries as and when they come in.
It may seem like an additional expense, but once people realize that you care about your customers and what they have to say, it could lead to long-term capital gains for you and your brand.