B2B marketers focus on social media as a way to connect online with prospects and customers, but social media offers a huge opportunity to enhance offline events like tradeshows and conferences. Trade shows still make up a large percentage of B2B companies’ marketing budgets, so the following ideas can help leverage those events and make them more successful. And more social.
1. Use Full URLs for Social Media Profiles
Every booth sign, business card and flyer includes logos for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Don’t make your prospects and customer search to find you on these platforms. Provide the full URL for your page. If you still have a long and unwieldy Facebook URL, go to facebook.com/username to select a custom URL.
2. Encourage Facebook Likes Via Text Message
Even though smartphones continue to grow, many customers and prospects who come to your booth may still use feature phones. Show them how they can set up their phones to use Facebook via text messages and how they can easily subscribe to your Facebook Page that way. Just text “like” and the Page’s username to 32665 or your specific country code. This way, booth visitors can like your page while they are standing in front of you and continue to get updates on whatever device they use for Facebook, including their computer.
3. Provide Latest Topics from Relevant Industry Groups
Prior to the trade show, review topics and industry issues that are being discussed in LinkedIn Groups, or other online industry gathering places. Provide these topics, along with talking points, to your sales reps and other booth personnel as conversation starters. Yes, prospects come to your booth to learn about your products and services, but relevant, industry conversations can help build a relationship.
4. Post Content on Slideshare
Slideshare is not just for public presentations, although you should definitely upload any slide decks that are associated with talks you or other company representatives give. Create a short, highly visual deck about new product launches, booth highlights or even an industry news update. Share this deck on your social media profiles for those attending the show, and even for those who can’t make it. A keyword-rich description will also help this information get found on Slideshare.
5. Live Blog Keynote Presentations or Education Sessions
Most shows have some keynote address or educational content, even if there is not a full-blown conference track. Pick the most interesting, relevant or controversial sessions and live blog them. You can live blog the event in real-time, where you continue to update a blog post and re-publish with each new piece of information, or you can write the summary throughout the presentation and publish at the end of the session. The key to live blogging is that you publish before you walk out of the room. If you write about the session in note form, and hope to get back to it, it is unlikely you will.
6. Run an In-Person Twitter Chat
Twitter chats continue to be popular for many industries and ideas. Conduct a live Twitter chat, either at your booth or in a separate space during the show. The moderator can ask questions both in person and on the chat, so people can follow along both online and off.
7. Build a Keyword-Based Trade Show Page on Your Website
Create a page on your website that features your presence at the upcoming show. Use your regular keywords on the page in conjunction with words that relate to the show you will be attending. This way, when prospects look for information about the show, your show page also comes up in search. And since social search plays a role, encourage attendees from your company to share the page on their social networks.
8. Connect with Show Organizers
Most tradeshows these days have their own social media profiles, and sometimes the organizers struggle with content or connections on those profiles. Connect with the organizers and offer to provide content they can share with other show attendees. Promote their content on your profiles as well. Talk with them about social media sponsorships, hashtags and informal events during the show. These may be new ideas in some industries and you can become a valuable resource.
9. Run a Booth Contest with Twitter Clues
Use Twitter to announce contests and giveaways at your booth that require winners to come to your booth. They might need to answer a question or share a photo. Make sure you check with your legal department before conducting any contests. You may need to post contest rules on your company website.
10. Conduct Video Interviews
The best thing about tradeshow video is that you can get physical access to lots of people in your industry that are not normally together. This is a great opportunity to interview multiple people about industry trends, or sit down with an industry influencer. You may want to use a camera that has a mic, or find a quiet spot to shoot your interviews. Tradeshow can be very noisy. And with these 10 ideas very social.
What are other ways that you have used social media to make your B2B tradshows social?