Using social media in the trade show industry is a great way to update prospects, who cannot attend shows, on what you have to offer. Social media can be used to interact with individuals by posting photos, or even chatting back and forth. Prospects are able to stay involved and see what your company has going on. Social media marketing can be very beneficial to companies if you know how to use them correctly. Many individuals may not have the time or money to personally come to events or a show, which makes social media is a great solution.
Facebook is a fairly new phenomenon that has over 100 million users who spend hours each day searching profiles, groups, and applications. Facebook is fast growing and shows no signs of slowing down. Users spend a lot of personal time messing around on Facebook, and somewhere within these users are business contacts. Yes...professionals mess around on Facebook too. This gives you the opportunity to connect with them on a personal level, by getting to know what their interests are. Another perk to using Facebook is that your profile is not only searchable within the Facebook network, but also within search engines, such as Google. Popping up on a Google search increases your profiles accessibility. If your company stays active on their account others will be able to see your recent activity and then click to view it. Facebook has live news feeds that appear on every user’s account, if you are “friends” with that user they will be able to see every move you make and then click on it to see what you have updated. You can post photos of your booth, or links to other sites on your Facebook page and they will pop up on a live news feed for other to see. Another advantage to this network is that you are actually able to buy advertising space that is placed on the side of each user’s Facebook page. These advertisements are targeted specifically to those individuals who may be interested in your trade show ad. This is a huge advantage because people willingly put their interests, activites, job description, etc. out for everyone to view, and advertisements are specifically targeted according to this information. So, if someone works in the trade show industry, or expresses their interest in the industry, your advertisement will pop up on their page.
Twitter is a way to “follow” fellow tweetee’s. Twitter does seem a bit stalkeresque since you do keep up with where, when, and what other people are doing. But, your company can actually benefit from this stalker method of social media, especially in the trade show industry. Individuals may not have the time or patience to go and look up a calendar or list of events, so twitter is a quick and easy solution because you are feeding them your list of events rather than them searching for it. You can instantaneously update any changes that have been made pertaining to your show. Your company can also invite people to link to your ongoing news. Regular tweeting (posting updates) leading up to an event creates a call to action. Updating how you are preparing for you trade show, where you are, how soon it is, all these factors add up to get people hyped about the show. You can share updates on the turnout of your event afterwards and begin sharing when your next event will be. If you stay active and update on all events you become approachable. This conveys to the prospect that you are willing and open for any questions and/or discussions they might have. Posting updates means you want to communicate important information about what you’re doing at your trade show and where you will be so that others can join you. Twitter puts a positive spin on your approachability.
Linkedin has over 12 million users and is networking geared towards business. So you don’t have to feel like you are raining on the social networking parade. This is what people go to Linkedin for, is to stay informed about your contacts and industry, and to find the people/knowledge you need to achieve business goals. On Linkedin you can invite anyone and everyone relevant to the trade show industry, then their connections are able to see you and hopefully connect, creating a ripple effect. Updating your profile page with new content is easy if you link it to new blog postings (tools are available for integrating these together automatically), allowing your profile page to include recent information from any other form of social media to help it stay fresh. Also when new people search their contact network for contacts in these areas your information and contact details will be at the forefront. Don’t miss an opportunity to brand your company logo. Upload your company logo, address, phone number, and tag line as one large image. Uploading this information will make you look more credible and professional to all of your contacts, and their contacts.
Another social media aimed at professionals is Plaxo. This network enables you to keep up with all of your business contacts in an organized and timely fashion. It is somewhat of an address book, you can keep a large number of contact information without losing them in the mix. If you are at a trade show you may be a large number of leads that you need to follow up on, and Plaxo is a great way to store that information. Plaxco also allows for unique personal information, such as birthdays. Plaxo will notify you of a contact’s birthday which can be a useful tool for keeping in touch. Plaxco is great for updating your own information so that others can keep in touch as well. If you change phone numbers, or relocate this information is automatically updated on all of your contact list’s information.
Promoting any of these profiles at your trade show encourages attendees to go out and visit your sites. You can set up a space in your trade show booth where individuals can go online and check out what your profile has going on and they can figure out what kind of work you have been doing previous to the show and what you plan on doing in the future. Some networks, such as Plaxco, can even be available for those visiting your booth to enter their contact information in if they are interested in your company.
Social media today allows everyone to have a personal relationship with your company. Social media also enables every single individual to have a face to face relationship whether they are at the event or looking online, they still get the interaction they want. All social media are a link between face to face interaction and technology.