A physical trade show presence and a virtual presence are not mutually exclusive. In fact, just the opposite. Ratcheting up your social media marketing, before, during, and after a trade show is proving one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your booth and cement the relationships you’ve come there to forge.

Drive Traffic, Build Awareness via Social Media:

  • Sending out tweets during the show, offering discounts on their products for those who come to their booth within a prescribed time (say, the next 30 minutes).
  • Posting to blogs several times a day before and during trade shows.
  • In the days and weeks leading up to the show, build buzz about the event.
  • During the show, marketers are posting “Special Reports,” updating show attendees from the trade show floor about upcoming presentations and special sessions, and, simultaneously, keeping their blog subscribers who were unable to attend the show in the loop as to what they’re missing—all while creating valuable, fresh content that boosts SEO and creates and sustains awareness.

Don’t Forget the Fundamentals

Social media can be an invaluable weapon in a marketer’s trade show arsenal. While the means and media to reach trade show attendees is evolving, the fundamentals of producing a successful trade show event remain largely unchanged.  The biggest mistake companies make when approaching their trade shows is not setting quantifiable goals for the show.  That applies to your booth marketing as much as it does your social media marketing.

If one of your objectives for the show is to gather leads—which is the goal for 70-80 percent of companies attending trade shows—quantify that goal.  It’s not enough to say, ‘We want lots of leads.’ If doing demos for prospects is part of the plan, determine ahead of time how many demos you’re targeting. Use your social media marketing and the analytics it provides to help you reach specific goals, such as, “We want to gather 300 leads, do 50 client demos, which, within six months, will lead to five sales worth a total of $10 million.”