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An Experts Guide into Using Social Networking at Exhibitions

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It will certainly come as no shock to anyone that trade show events are an unbelievable marketing opportunity, so if you are currently not using the likes of Twitter and Facebook to highlight forthcoming exhibitions you are attending, start doing so immediately! There really is no time to waste as these; often high profile trade fairs can provide you with plenty of juicy content to feed your social media pages.

So there are three main ways social media can be used effectively at an exhibition:
• To increase footfall to your booth
• To improve activity on your social media platforms
• To help attract new follows

This article will highlight five ways to productively use social media at your event.

1. Writing Content for Different Platforms
Depending on what social media platform you are addressing, each one serves its own function and attracts a certain type of audience, so it is vital to take this into account and adapt your content accordingly.

For example, Twitter is extremely fast moving and you should use this social platform to focus on real-time events. It is also the perfect platform for connecting and interacting with others attendees at the EXPO. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is much slower in pace and is known for being the preferred professional network. So if you are a business to business organisation attending an event, this is an excellent stage for you to inform your online followers about what you are up to. Also LinkedIn updates tend to be business orientated, with more professional content such as industry news. No silly group photos please! Save this kind of content for Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

2. Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail.
Think about what would come in handy at your event. A decent camera which can take good quality photos of your display boards is perfect, as it is pointless posting an image of an out of focus display. In this day and age, most phones will take high resolution pictures good enough to post on social media.

Communication is also key, so make sure your expert team have all the tools they need and that they know how to use them. Consider who is responsible for posting on social media during the event. Don’t just leave it to chance otherwise important opportunities may be missed! Do they have all the correct logins and passwords to your company profiles? Are they clear about what they should be posting and how often? Poor content can be just as damaging. It is always best to discuss these points before the exhibition actually starts. Don’t leave anything to chance.

3. Hashtag Happy
The vast majority of events and shows have an associated hashtag and one of the simplest ways to find out what it is, is to look on their social media page. Remember to use the hashtag in all of your related Twitter updates. Why is it good to do that? Well it is a quick and easy way of capitalising on the “hype” surrounding a show. This will also give you access to all of the Twitter accounts that are interested in the event. Remember to reach out to these people, and join in discussions wherever possible.

4. What To Post?
So the big question is what exactly you should be posting at an exhibition. Here are some general examples of exhibition social media updates:
• Pictures of your winning team – Take some snap shots of your guys setting up your stand, interacting with potential clients, or catching up with existing business associates. Happy faces always work well on social media, and gives off a positive vibe.
• Why are you attending this particular show? – Are you introducing a new product to the market? Or entering a new market altogether? Whatever it is, tell the world about it on social media!
• Lights, Camera, Action! – Why not take people on a journey and give them a tour of the venue, or do live product demonstrations with audience participation. Keep it fun and interesting.
• Discounts and Deals of Day – Everybody loves a bargain so a special offer can work wonders for driving footfall to your booth. Post your promotional discounts, along with your stand location on Twitter and Facebook, and watch the crowd grow!

5. It’s all About Timing?
Before – Use all social media channels to shout about the fact you will be attending the show and research the official event hashtag and connect with other attendees/exhibitors.
During – Use the above tips to post live updates from your booth. If someone engages with you on social media at some stage during the event, always respond as quickly as possible! It can be difficult to juggle things but even a simple acknowledgement or thumbs up is better than nothing.
After – Tell everyone how you found the experience and maybe consider using Twitter polls to gather general feedback. You can even look at publishing a post-show review offering a more detailed insight.
To Finish – It’s imperative to remember that you are not only promoting your business to the people attending the event, but also to your online spectators: you’re all important social media following.