Social Media & Trade Shows: 4 Easy Ways to Start Now
Posted by: Jonathan Branca
Tuesday, March 13th, 2012
Remember that one time a year or two ago when your boss said that social media was a fad and a huge waste of time? Pretty funny, huh. Good one, boss!
Now, most of us marketers are scrambling to figure out how it all fits. Not only is it here to stay, but is the catalyst behind the paradigm shift from traditional marketing practices.
One of the positives in all this is that social media has forced nameless, faceless corporations to become more personal. It has given them the opportunity to have unique voices. Albeit, mostly behind electronic devices.
The trade show remains one of the only other marketing channels that also allows your unique, social voice to be heard. Quite literally. It only makes sense that these two come together and have a beautiful relationship. But how?
Most of what we have seen so far is tactics surrounding the show itself. Twitter updates and promotions before and during the show. Facebook Pages with photo and video updates. But not much has been done to integrate social media into exhibits themselves. The furious growth of mobile is changing all that.
Here are a few ways to engage your social media savvy visitors:
1. CONTROLLED GIVEAWAYS
You know that awful, violating feeling you get when some checkout lady asks for your phone number or email address? That feeling doesn’t exist with social media. At a trade show, give aways and samples are common ploys to get your personal contact information via badge scans. But what becomes of those? Very few of those get properly followed up. Why not have your visitors earn their loot by getting them to opt into your social media messaging instead?
If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a photo album or gallery worth? Creating in-booth photo opportunities will once again take advantage of our need to become famous online. Might as well do it in front of your brand name or products for all of their friends to see. Encourage photos to be taken on their mobile devices to share on tagged on Facebook, Twitpic’d, Instagram’d, or whatever else is the next big photo sharing thing.
3. LIVE FEEDS
One of the biggest draws of social media is the power of recognition and acceptance. People on Twitter obsess over the number of their followers. Bloggers closely monitor site stats and comments. People really like to be seen (online). Displaying a live Twitter feed of a show related hashtag not only gives these attendees the recognition they crave, but also educates their followers on the happenings of your booth.
4. CHECKING IN
Who’s the Mayor of your booth? Sites like Four Square and Facebook now allow people to broadcast their every move. Prompting them to do so at your booth will not only promote your name, but it may remind other attendees to stop by as well, where they too can check in.
The goal of all this being to have your visitors opt into your brand and be able to continue the conversation at the trade show throughout the rest of the year.
What successful in-booth social media tools have you used or seen?
Jonathan Branca is the Director of Client Development at EDE Corporation, a Chicago exhibit company that specializes in the designing, engineering, building, installing, and managing of high quality trade show exhibits. Read more at his Trade Show Conversations blog, or start a conversation with Jonathan on Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, or in the comments below.