Marketing professionals are steadily improving their ability to use social media to create exciting and engaging exhibits. However, they are not the only ones who can benefit from using Twitter, LinkedIn and other digital marketing tools. Trade show managers, conference directors and event coordinators can also use social media to secure sponsors and exhibitors, as well as increase attendance.
Don't just announce, launch
The effort to build a successful trade show starts the minute a date and venue are selected. Managers shouldn't just announce the event, they need to launch a campaign designed to make it the most successful trade show ever. This includes using Twitter to generate positive buzz within the industry and start discussions about potential topics, panelists, exhibits and more.
Create a blog or Twitter feed to share news
In today's fast-paced world, old news is quickly forgotten. With this in mind, event coordinators should regularly update interested parties about relevant developments via a blog or Twitter. The goal should be to provide all the information that an attendee would want to know, including details about the show itself and how to find good deals on local hotel rooms. Covering a mix of topics can keep people interested and excited for the upcoming event.
Dedicate time to social promotion
The social media campaign surrounding an industry event is a significant part of the marketing effort for the show, which makes it important to dedicate the appropriate level of time to this form of outreach. MarketingProfs recommends focusing on the value of each tweet or post, bearing in mind that keeping messages on-topic helps make them relevant to the target audience. The source noted that it is important to remember social media accounts are a representation of your show, so make sure that grammar and spelling are accurate.
Use pictures and video
A significant advantage of social media over traditional advertising channels is the variety of options that you have to choose from. It is very easy to embed a picture into a blog or retweet a video from an exhibitor. These actions keep the audience engaged and provide additional color to an event that may still be months away. When making announcements, it is important to consider the best ways to share the news. Some photos of mock displays or a promotional video highlighting last year's success could help attract new exhibitors.
Build a robust network
Small Business Trends stated that companies should focus on building extensive networks to reach as many people as possible with social media campaigns. This strategy can be very effective for trade show events as well. Exhibitors have a vested interest in making sure there are plenty of attendees, and they may be willing to retweet or share news, helping you to reach the broader audiences. The goal should be to become a marketplace for discussion and ideas, so be sure to provide opportunities for partners to comment.
Keep momentum going
Even after a trade show kicks off, managers still need to utilize social media marketing. During the show, take the opportunity to drum up interest in next year's event. Running a contest or retweeting fun comments from attendees can enhance everyone's experience and make the event truly memorable, and be sure to keep conversations going after the fact to collect feedback and suggestions for improving the next show.