Whether you’re exhibiting to release a new product onto the market, launch a business or just build your brand within your industry, in order to maintain a consistent brand presence in this day and age, you need to be utilising social media as part of your overall trade show plan.
You can use various social media platforms for different objectives; you can extend an invitation to the event using Facebook, promote giveaways and demonstrations, build conversation and excitement around the event using Twitter and Instagram and follow up on your leads afterwards with LinkedIN.
You’ll find a lot of the work is already done for you. Chances are your event planners will have started an online conversation around their event. All you need to do is jump in and join the conversation.
So why is social media so important?
1. It’s a numbers game
You can bet the majority of your customers are on social media. It’s popular……. extremely popular! These days everyone will interact with brands on-line in some way or another, so if you’re not speaking directly to your audience through platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIN, you’re missing out on a huge marketing opportunity!
2. It’s cost effective
It doesn’t cost anything to set up your business pages on social media. Even if you don’t have time to post frequently, you should still have your on-line profile set up and ready to go. When you do have something to communicate, you can make authentic connections, both B2B and to the public, without investing in expensive marketing collateral.
3. It’s a ‘friend thing’
Social media allows you to be more conversational and show a different side of your brand. The content that you publish on these channels and the manner in which you engage with others will contribute to your ‘brand personality’ and can also give your brand a voice. People use social media in their down-time so you can often reach people when they might be more receptive to new ideas or have a bit more time to engage.
4. It’s easy!
Different platforms offer up different opportunities and chances are the organisers of your event have already set up a specific show campaign ……so get involved, comment on any open forums which concern your industry and try and drum up some business. Use the show hashtags and relevant links so you can engage with an already highly targeted audience, and hopefully pique interest. Offer up an incentive on your own social media pages for people to visit your stand at the event.
5. It’s influential
It’s equivalent to the old ‘word-of-mouth”. People trust other people. If someone is commenting positively about your brand on-line, others will often respect that opinion and be positively influenced. People are more likely to take the word of a fellow customer than that of the salesman directly, so get people on side with open online discussion.
6. It’s great for customer service
Social media gives you the power to learn more about your audience and their interests …and collect feedback. You can ask your customers to share their thoughts, questions and ideas to get to know them better. You can find out what they want to see at an expo and adapt your plans accordingly. If people think you listen to your customers they will be far more likely to respect your brand. By monitoring social media for customer feedback and offering a response, you can drive real business results.
It may take a bit of practise to really get the ball rolling using social media as a marketing tool but, being a fluid media – that’s OK! Over time it will become clear what works best for your brand. Just follow the same guidelines as you would any marketing strategy; keep your message clear, concise and consistent.
The number of worldwide social media users in 2018 is estimated to be around 2.5 billion people. With so many consumers using social media every day, it presents an undeniable opportunity for small businesses who want to reach their online audience.