Whether you are a seasoned marketer or a newbie who is yet to send their first tweet, record their first YouTube video or write your first blog post, social media has a place in your exhibition promotions.
Here is a list of steps you can follow to expand your influence, relationships and results.
The first thing you can do on social media is to listen to what your target market is saying and doing on popular social media sites. Find out what people are talking about — their issues, what they like and what they don’t like. Search the names of the exhibitions and find out what attendees are saying about the show. Search your show’s Facebook page and Twitter account as a shortcut, and learn Twitter hashtags for your main shows to find more messages people are sharing about the shows.
Begin to share good content you’ve found with your target audience. Only share content you think they will value, such as content that will help them with their jobs, and content which will entertain and connect. Most importantly, share content that aligns with your viewpoint, and add your opinion to messages as you send them. You will need to create accounts in Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Sharing content means you'll be able to take part in great conversations going on throughout social media, and begin to develop relationships with people online.
Sharing content as exhibition marketer can be as easy as retweeting interesting Tweets regarding your main show, or liking on Facebook about new products being introduced at your upcoming exhibition, or sharing blog posts and YouTube videos produced to spotlight what will be new and interesting at the show.
Now it’s time to create your own content to share on social media sites. You must be committed, because once you begin, you will need to sustain your pace of content. Create a blog, create videos for YouTube, and have regular ideas from your own perspective too. Content that gets shared by your readers should be useful, entertaining, funny, and newsworthy. This step means you are even more actively building your reputation with the millions online.
Content you create as an exhibition marketer may be a pre-show or post-show video you post on YouTube and Facebook, pre-show posts about all the fantastic things you are giving out within your exhibition displays, or perhaps an article post-show recapping the latest product you introduced at the show.
Start networking in the hubs of the network. Engage with the influencers throughout your niche on social networking sites. These are generally the connectors who can help share your information with a much wider audience, and help you build relationships with other influencers within your industry. They might also be among the best friends you'll make online, as they are as passionate and insightful about your industry as you would like be. Follow them, retweet their best tweets with a comment, and get a conversation going over time. Touch upon their blog posts, and like their content using your Facebook account.
Exhibition marketers can engage with influencers by searching on the show’s hashtag on Twitter, and then determine which Tweets are receiving the most retweeting. Search on Google blog search using the names of your top shows, and discover which bloggers write articles on your show, then comment on their blog posts, and even invite them to your exhibition exhibit to see what’s new.
The ‘Cool’ Factor
Invest creative energy and cash into making events that are so awesome, everybody who sees it or participates in it will whip out their smartphones, take pictures, and share what they’re seeing with their social media contacts. Brands that do this are seen as cooler and a lot more fun.
You could try creating an activity within your exhibition area that excites your audience so much, that they will stop walking down the exhibition aisle, watch, participate, and share. Create moments in your booth where attendees will want to have their photo taken, and design a backdrop that repeatedly includes your logo on it, so that your brand is seen whenever the share the photo (or even video) across their social networking accounts.
Why not launch your own special community on social media, whether it is your own group on LinkedIn or Facebook that you administer, or a Tweet Chat (a frequently scheduled chat on Twitter) which you host. The amount of effort is bigger, but if you take a leadership role you boost your reputation, gain relationships with the same people your organisation serves which will give you valuable feedback about their needs and their problems.
For exhibition marketers, making a community specific to a show probably will not be necessary, due to the reason that the show owner most probably already has started one that you can interact with. In the event you have already set up your own community, you can guide discussions about what will be happening at the upcoming industry shows, and be certain to mention what your company will be offering there, and reach out to the members who say they will attending the show.
Wherever you happen to be in your exhibition marketing program, there is always room for improvement. I hope this information inspires you to the next level.