How We Can Use Social Media to Create Valuable Connections
A business’s social media accounts aren’t just for advertising their products. With a strong social media presence, a business is capable of reaching customers they could have never been able to reach with traditional marketing tactics, and they’re able to develop personal connections with engaging online content.
Social media is also a tool that can be used before, during, and after trade shows. Social media is a great, low-cost way to reach audiences ahead of a show, enhance attendees’ experiences, and reinforce relationships after everyone has gone home. By executing a few simple moves–and utilizing good social media practices–trade shows can become even more lucrative.
Know Who You’re Talking To
As with creating all content for the public, you need to know who your target audience is. You can’t connect with potential leads, customers, followers and more without being able to communicate with them, and the first step in doing so is understanding their demographics. These include personal facts about your audience, such as their:
- Age, gender, location, income, etc.
- Pain Points
- Preferred social channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter…)
- Conversational style (casual vs. professional)
- Preferred content (long form vs. short form, video vs. graphic)
By understanding these traits of your audience, you’ll be better able to create content they relate to, and relatability is the bridge to long-term relationships.
Create a Content Calendar
Imagine this: it’s two days ahead of the trade show and you’ve just started posting about the event. The show passes and while posting throwbacks of your exhibit, your followers start leaving comments saying that they’re sad to have missed it, or they wish they could have known about the event earlier. Sound familiar?
A good rule of thumb for in-person events is to start posting content at least two months ahead of the actual event. By no means should you post every day, BUT some gentle reminders about your upcoming exhibit will help your clients know when to show up–it can even help you build a wider audience. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box with your event promotion either: engaging, entertaining content such as giveaways and teasers can help build momentum for your event–especially if prize winners are asked to collect their gift at your booth.
Finally, make sure that your content is strategically created for each of your social media channels (I.E., don’t post things made for Facebook to your Instagram), you post optimal times, and your channels present a cohesive brand.
Creating Your Content
Sometimes it can be tough to know exactly what to post. In creating your trade show social media promotions, you should consider how your trade show goals align with your audience and then utilize this angle to craft posts specifically designed to meet these goals, whatever they may be. These goals should also directly influence the calls to action you’ll be utilizing throughout your event, for example if you’re trying to gain new leads or followers, your CTA could be “follow” or “subscribe”. As the event draws nearer though, a good CTA to thread in would be one asking your followers to book a meeting at the exhibit, or otherwise RSVP to the event.
Lastly, consider creating a hashtag specifically for your event that’s short, simple, and catchy. A branded hashtag will make it easier for people to share and locate your event information via user-generated content (posts promoting your content or event that you didn’t sponsor).
Using Content from the Event
Photos, videos, and other captured media from your trade show can be used on the actual day of your trade show and then in the days, weeks, and maybe months after the event. On the day of your exhibit, you can Live-Tweet about your experiences, or even stream your booth (or main speaking event) live on Facebook or Instagram. These lives allow for people who couldn’t attend your event to virtually attend your event, broadening the amount of people who see your exhibit and potentially landing some new clients.
If you do live, or if you recorded certain events on the day of the trade show, you could post videos and reels in the days and weeks to continue enticing potential new clients. This has the same effect as the live streams: it allows people to access the events of the day–even if they missed the actual show–allowing your hard work to keep paying off.
Above All Stay Engaged
While content is king on social media, your direct interactions with your followers will lead to more conversions. Think about it–you’re swiping through Instagram stories or scrolling through your Facebook timeline, semi-mindlessly, when you come across a post asking a question about something you’re interested in. You glance through the comments, and you see that the poster is commenting back to the people who are engaging with them. Are you more or less likely to continue reading the conversation? What about posting a comment yourself and joining the discussion? Will you think about it later, maybe bring it up in conversation with your friends and family?
Engaging content is the type that creates a dynamic interaction. You can do this for your business accounts and trade show posts by:
- Reacting, responding, or simple liking posts that use your event’s hashtag
- Answering your follower’s questions promptly
- Address people in the same manner you would on the trade show first (Mr. so-and-so, first name, etc.)
- Mention something in their bio or about section in your responses
- Show them that you’re listening to what they’re saying, such as by referencing something they said online
While engagement is great for long-term business goals, utilizing it in the months leading up to a trade show can help you garner more visitors to your exhibit by showing them a sample of what they would experience IRL.
Social Media: The Unused Hero of Trade Shows
The flexibility of a tool like social media cannot be underestimated for businesses. Having an adaptable online persona keeps your audience engaged, ensuring a long-term relationship for future business. By following the above-described tips, you too can use social media to make your next trade show your most lucrative one yet.