Using Digital and Social Media to Energize the Tired Trade Show
Integrate digital and social media practices into trade show routines to increase leads to drive profitable customer action.
The world became enchanted by the Koh-i-Noor diamond in 1851 when Queen Victoria opened the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in London. This first of its kind exhibition, sometimes called the world’s fair, served as a platform for countries around the globe to display their innovations and achievements. Throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries, these exhibitions routinely drew millions of people and connected the world in a way that hadn’t been done before.
While exhibitions continue into the present day, some critics argue that they are becoming irrelevant as a result of globalization and increasing interconnectedness. Proponents, however, are actively working to ensure modern day exhibitions reflect the changing nature in the way humans communicate and connect with one another.
In a similar way, modern trade shows serve the purpose of connecting industries and showcasing the best of a company’s product or service offerings. Indeed, trade shows remain a staple of many marketing budgets and practices. Offering unparalleled access to leads and face to face communication with prospects and customers, trade shows prove to be a successful marketing strategy for many companies. But is your company making the most of trade shows? Companies that integrate modern digital communication practices into tired trade show routines are likely to increase lead to customer conversion rates while shortening lead and sales cycles.
Promote enhanced and continued engagement with trade show contacts by formulating your trade show social media strategy using the following approaches.
In the weeks leading up to the trade show your company is scheduled to attend, publish Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn posts promoting your attendance and providing pertinent information to attendees. Set up a landing page with an accompanying call to action on your website where visitors can download a brochure or RSVP to speak with you at the show. Review the list of trade show attendees and perform prospect research using social media. In the days before the event, draft relevant and timely marketing and lead nurturing email templates to be sent during and after the show. Connect with high value prospect attendees on LinkedIn to arrange a time to meet up at the event. Use the trade show’s Twitter hashtag to tease display materials and connect with other attendees.
During the show, use social media to keep the conversation going with customers and prospects. Continue your use of the show’s hashtag to monitor conversions on social media and see what’s being said about your company. Connect with LinkedIn users you meet. Post pictures of your booth on Facebook and Twitter and videos of product demonstrations or customer testimonials on Youtube. Schedule and send the lead nurturing email templates you prepared weeks ago. Make note of recurring questions from attendees and industry trends being discussed.
Following the show, prepare your company’s blog editorial calendar for the next few months using your notes on customer questions and industry trends as a guide for developing post topics. Make event presentation or speaking materials part of your lead nurturing activities by sharing them with prospects using Slideshare and automated emails. Segment contacts for enhanced communication. Continue engagement with leads through Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Much like the way world exhibitions are being pressured to evolve in order to provide continued value to citizens of the world, trade shows should be viewed by companies as opportunities to leverage new technologies to grow prospecting opportunities and build alternative lead nurturing channels. Continuing engagement with customers and prospects through digital and social media enhances the nature of prospect follow up and customer communication, extending the value of the trade show far beyond location-specific activities.