Trade shows are limited in time. You only have a few days to show your product and make the biggest impact you can. In order to do this, you have to ensure you are not limiting yourself to the time the trade show lasts, but that you are already making an impact before it even begins.
These are some ways you can make your trade show a successful one by preparing your potential customers before they even step into it.
You want as many people as possible to know you will be there. Your booth shouldn’t be a pleasant surprise for those attending, but something they anticipate.
Preparing your target audience also helps you differentiate your brand. You want to make sure you’re not just another vendor, but the right vendor for them. Sharing information that makes your company special will attract not only those looking for a solution that your product will solve, but it will be especially relevant to those who need exactly what you are offering.
Finally, by sharing information about your company beforehand, you can use your time at the trade show more effectively. Now, when a potential customer comes to your booth, instead of explaining the basics of your company, you can focus on why yours is the right product for them.
Most vendors use social media to simply post information about themselves, but fail to see what others are saying. Keeping an eye open for what your competitors share will allow you to make your own posts more relevant. Instead of repeating what everybody else is saying, think outside of the box and share something original, something that will make your posts stand out.
Facebook allows you to join the trade show’s page, post information about your company, friend attendees, and be aware of any news, but it also allows you to easily see what others are saying. Make sure you are receiving notifications, so if something new happens on the trade show’s page, you will always be in the know.
It is also very important to have a Twitter presence. Most other vendors will be on Twitter, and they will be tweeting a lot, so you should also try to make your tweets stand out. Instead of writing whatever comes to mind, take the time to plan what you will post. Tweet interesting graphics with information about your company, share videos and interesting links to specific parts of your website, etc.
If in real estate the key is “location, location, location,” Twitter’s is “hashtag, hashtag, hashtag.” You need to use the trade show’s hashtag, so people looking for information about the trade show will see what you are posting. But, as marketing writer David Llewellyn recommends, you need to use the correct hashtag for the event. You don’t want to have the name backwards or spelled incorrectly! You can also hashtag customers, key words relevant to the show, and so on.
LinkedIn is another important tool you can use, since this is an online place where professionals gather to discuss important aspects of their business, share ideas, etc. Join those groups, follow their discussions and share relevant information as well.
There are several other social media tools you can use: Google+, blogs, Youtube, Pinterest, etc. By using many different tools, you can post fewer items in each one (you can basically copy and paste your posts) while at the same time maintain a strong online presence. As author Tracy Browne said,
Don’t be overwhelming with your posts and tweets. Instead, listen to your audience and respond to their inquiries. If somebody asks a question on twitter or Facebook, make sure you are one of the first ones to provide an answer. Let your audience know that you are not only trying to sell something, but that you care about them.
Another way to listen to your audience is to create Google Alerts. By using keywords relevant to the trade show, you can be at the forefront of the information and be the first to be aware of news, updates, etc.
Knowing your target market will allow you to be much more effective in your social media activities. You don’t want to reach only those who already know you, but you also need to find those who are not aware of your company yet.
Using social media can be both an art and a science, and at ExpoMarketing we specialize in both.
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