Maximize Your Event’s Success Using Social Media for B2B Trade Shows!
Trade Shows require a significant investment of time and money. It’s not uncommon for B2B companies to allocate 30% of their marketing budget to trade shows. Social media can help you get the most bang for the buck during this year’s show season.
We learn pretty quickly how to develop and stick to the trade show timeline; when to place booth deposits, order electricity and booth accessories, reserve lead generation units, submit insurance certificates, arrange shipping, run advertising, etc.
But can we do more to make our show successful?
You can easily boost your trade show success with a three phase social media campaign!
Phase One: Pre Show Activities
Your pre show activities should begin two months prior to the show.
1. Start with blog posts that connect the theme of the show, the needs of the market, and what your company offers. Be sure to link to the show’s official page.
2. Send weekly tweets regarding the upcoming show, but only mention your own company once in every three tweets. Include a link to the show site, an influential speaker at the event, or news about the city where the event is held.
3. Post once a week on Facebook about the event and why your company will be there. Link to your blog articles, and other web pages and articles about the event. Reminisce about last year’s event!
4. Email your A list customers and prospects and invite them to your booth for a special promotion. Make sure all emails are personal; do not use an automated system that delivers the same generic email to everyone. If they are A list, treat them as such!
5. Send postcard invitations to all existing customers. If possible, get free passes and send those too. A cheap rubber stamp puts your booth number and twitter handle on the pass so you can encourage people to visit your booth and follow you for pre-show freebies.
6. Post to Facebook daily for the three days leading up to the event. Describe the set up and the move in. You would be surprised how many people would find that interesting. Use these days to build excitement and anticipation. Remind people to follow your tweets during the show for special deals.
7. Pin photos of what the show floor looks like during set-up on Pintrest. You can also do a great before and after piece with these!
Phase Two: During Show Activities
Your activities during the show begin before the exhibition floor opens to the public and continues until you begin packing up your booth. The lull before the storm is a great time to reach out to fellow exhibitors. You have already downloaded the full exhibitor list so you know exactly who you want to reach, but you also know they are as busy as you are. Run a Twitter campaign that offers a special deal to fellow exhibitors who follow or retweet your promo tweets. Take photos with people to use on social media (be sure to get signed consent from everyone!)
You should also tweet:
1. Amusing (yet professional) comments or observations.
2. Promotions for complimentary businesses.
3. Shoutouts for businesses that have taken the time to speak with you.
4. Special giveaways.
At the end of each day send a personal email to everyone that filled out a lead form or let you scan their badge. Thank them for stopping by, include a link to webpage with information that is relevant to the product or service they’re interested in, and provide direct contact information for the salesperson that will follow up with them.
Phase Three: Post Show Activities
Post show activities begin as soon as you are on the plane, in your hotel room, or have just gotten home. Striking while the iron is hot may just give you the competitive advantage you need to close a deal!
1. Post to Facebook while your memories are still vivid.
2. Connect to your leads on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
During the week after the show you should:
1. Pin those great photos you took.
2. Follow up on giveaways or promotions. If they did not walk away with their “prize” make sure they have it within the week.
3. Log all leads and track metrics for measurable ROI.
4. Write a blog post summarizing the event and encouraging folks to come visit you again at next year’s event.
Following these simple steps will help increase your presence, and conversions, at your next B2B trade show. You can find more event marketing ideas in these free marketing resources from Pardot.
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Category: Social Media Marketing 201