In today’s social media conscious age, many business owners, whether small or large scale, have started to incorporate social networking sites strongly into their marketing plans. These include activities like exhibitions and trade show events. Social media is considered a powerful way to create the impression that your business is everywhere and create traffic both online and into the booth. So how can social media help in the live promotion of an event?
The primary business challenge:
At any exhibition you along with all your major competitors are all competing for foot traffic. You do that through correct positioning of your stand, having an inviting presence and so on. What if you were able to gain additional traffic through your own following you created via social media? What if they were coming specifically to visit your stand to talk to you because they trust your brand from what they have previously seen or had recommended to them on social media?
The Second business challenge:
How do you get people to visit your stand instead of your competitors at an exhibition? What if you were able to use technology that could push specific messages to anyone walking past your stand holding a smart phone? Maybe your message might be: come to my stand we have a show special for you, or mention this add for an extra 10% off if you purchase today. Your ad could even provide directions to your stand. You could even have these messages pop up when someone walks past your competitor depending on whether you can place the requisite technology in the right spot. Sneaky but possible! Technology like this is very affordable and with physical broadcasting ranges from less than a few meters to 100 meters upwards you can operate such a system in the largest exhibition halls anywhere in the country.
What about Before the Event?
Social media helps create awareness. Social media is a great tool for getting the attention of your patrons and informing them of your upcoming activity. Maybe hold a social promotion days before your trade show. You can engage customers in a fun and interesting way through a giveaway or a quirky contest.
Likewise, if your business is on Facebook today, sending messages inviting them to attend your upcoming event will not just get the person’s attention but also your follower’s friend’s attention if some of them adds a like to your event comment. Same goes for Twitter. You can create a hashtag regarding your trade show to keep your followers informed. If your business doesn’t have a Facebook or Twitter account, set them up now. Simply appearing in the feeds of your contacts and their contacts can significantly help extend your business reach.
In our business we also place an emphasis upon growing the exhibition/events community of followers prior to the event as it’s a key asset for allowing the promotion of the event itself. It is possible to grow a targeted following substantially with at least 3 to 4 months dedicated work ahead of the event and we would consider this an essential part of your marketing strategy.
During the Event
As either an exhibition organizer or exhibitor, one of the things you rely upon is building enough interest to bring people in through the turnstiles. Social media can play a significant role in developing a much greater sense of occasion and excitement to those who may be interested but not quite enough to want to attend. Announcing via social media that a specific demonstration or unveiling of a new product will be occurring, and inviting someone to come along as we have a spare seat with your name on it can be enough to turn apathy into action. Or if numbers are low, an exhibition could promote a special entrance spot prize to get more followers along. How else can you possibly communicate this affordably to the public unless it’s via social media? There is simply no other way.
Stand holders also greatly appreciate the live event social media coverage as an opportunity to showcase their wares and often to a social media audience many times the size of their own brand if it goes out via the exhibitor’s social media asset.
Taking photographs and recording videos of any events and posting them as quickly as possible is a great way to bring the experience to your audience. Much of your social media audience may well be in another city but will still be able to participate in the event.
Some exhibition organizers now take the opportunity to have live streaming of specific show events which might include key note speakers, demonstrations or floorshows. These sorts of things can be very popular and worth the price of admission alone. Live streaming via an exhibition “app” can also provide an opportunity for additional revenue for those viewing this way. Specific apps now make the attendance and billing process relatively seamless for the consumer and exhibition organizers. These types of apps integrate with social media and websites allowing a much richer experience overall for the consumer whether they are at the event or in another city.
After the Event
Packing away your product and stall does not necessarily mean that the trade show experience is over for your followers on social media. You can keep the momentum going by using your social media to stay in touch with potential clients you’ve met. Posting out photos from the show or even the pack down also has its element of interest for many followers. Successful utilization of social media can therefore even help you promote your business after the event and can keep your followers actively engaged with your brand. Social media and its ever broadening suite of online technologies as has been illustrated above, is becoming a staple amongst businesses involved in trade shows because it increases the exposure potential and at the same time creates a much richer experience with a greater sense of connection with the consumer.
These tools offer genuine assistance to physical events such as trade-shows and exhibitions so that they remain relevant and valued in a new age online world. Utilizing the preferred formats of interaction of this next generation of consumers will also greatly assist in encouraging them along to exhibitions and events in the future. If you would like to discuss any of these elements for your future exhibition or event please call Your Social Village. We specialize in events based promotion via social media and online technology.