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It’s no secret that exhibitions and trade shows can be fantastic marketing opportunities. It wouldn’t be a surprise to hear that many that many experience overwhelm when it comes to promoting their attendance. 

I’m not suggesting trade show prep is a walk in the park. There’s a lot to do in the lead-up to an expo and pre-show promotion is one of the things that either gets struck off the list because you run out of time or it’s casually avoided because you just aren’t sure how best to tackle the task. 

Integrating social media into your exhibition and event marketing is a powerful way to promote and enhance your company’s presence at a show. It’s just another string to your bow and helps humanise your brand.

Being active on social media expands your audience reach, generates buzz online, helps with your business branding, allows you to get more out of the exhibition experience because you’re reaching people who might not have attended the show. So with that in mind, here are our top tips on how to utilise social media for your exhibition show…

Have a plan

Just like you should have an exhibit strategy mapped out, regardless of which social media platform you are using for promoting your exhibition, create a content plan that details what you plan to post and when.

It’s no good posting intermittently as it will no doubt pass people by. It also takes 10x** the amount of brain power to stop-start then it does to map out your approach in one go.

Build awareness and interest before the show by letting people know that you’ll be there, what they can expect from you and why they should come to your booth.
** Disclaimer. This is a totally made up statistic, but I’m sure it’s fairly accurate.

Utilise Hashtags

Find out if there is an event hashtag and use it in every message related to the show to generate traffic. Join in the pre-show buzz and conversations.

You can target people who have shown an interest in the exhibition to narrow down your audience and reach the right people.

Consider creating your own company hashtag for the event to promote your presence at the event and also get people attending the expo to engage with your social media. Make sure that you advertise this hashtag on your marketing collateral around the exhibition to maximise engagement.

Offer an incentive 

Use social media to help create a ‘must see’ vibe before the your company is even at the trade show. Our top ideas would be:

  • Offer freebies for those who stop by (not my favourite option, but depending on the giveaway, it can work pretty well).
  • Allow people to pre-book appointments via social media channels to encourage people to come and talk to your staff. 
  • If you are promoting a new product or service at the show then make sure that you create buzz with a promo video that can be pushed out across all platforms. 
  • Why not have a brand ambassador at the show to hold a meet or greet on the stand? Publicising this beforehand can really help create a buzz and desire to come visit your stand. 
  • Do a competition. People love prizes and there are lots of ways that this can be done. Ask attendees to share a photo of your stand or of themselves doing an activity on your stand using the show hashtag and your social media handle to be in with a chance of winning. Not only does this provide an extra layer of publicity at the show but also is a great way of driving traffic to your stand and helps build a list of attendees to follow up with after the event.

Network before the show

Social media is an incredibly powerful way to connect with others. Use your platforms to connect with those that you know will be attending the exhibition – not just customers but people who are working there, industry journalists and influencers. Make sure you add them on the relevant social channels and then invite them to your stand and tell them what you’ll be exhibiting. 

This isn’t a numbers game so don’t think about it in terms of getting followers up! Really use this as a great opportunity to connect and develop relationships with new people. Keep updated with what they are posting and make sure you comment, favourite and re-post to show your support. 

Another great idea is to create a specific LinkedIn group for the event and invite clients and new contacts to join so that they can find all relevant and related information in the one group. Use this group to engage with topics relevant to the show and show yourself to be a leading voice in the industry. 

Keep your social media updated throughout the day

An exhibition is an absolute goldmine of content for your marketing! It’s an opportunity for people to get to know the people behind the brand so don’t shy away from getting behind the scenes shots. 

Make the effort to take photos for use on social media. Make sure that you capture as much as you can so you can pick and choose the best content! (even better if you can livestream some of it). You might have other things on your mind, but it will really go a long way. Here are a few ideas to get you started: 

  • Setting up
  • Your beautiful stand design
  • Team selfies
  • Product demonstrations
  • Welcoming your first visitor to your stand
  • Attending your first keynote talk or breakout session
  • Over lunch 
  • When you’re networking 
  • Visiting other attractions at the show
  • When the day is winding down and you’re packing up 
  • Selfie with a delegate who loves your product/service and then share a testimonial

Don’t forget that as well as using social media to drive visitors to your stand, sharing everything that you get up to also brings the event to people who couldn’t be there, making them feel like they are right there with you. 

Finally make sure that you are responding to comments, likes and questions as quickly as possible to ensure that you drive levels of engagement through the roof!

Keep the Momentum Post-Event

Remember that just because you’ve packed away and gone back home to a well deserved glass of red, it doesn’t mean that the exhibition is all done and dusted. Make sure that you create a follow-up action plan for those who engaged with your brand at the event. 

LinkedIn is a great place to connect with new contacts and ask if they got everything from you that they were looking for. Perhaps there is an opportunity to arrange a face to face meeting? Don’t just send out a generic message but take the time to craft a personal note or comment so that you stand out from the usual hordes of ‘networkers’. 

And last but not least, don’t forget to say ‘thank you’ to your team, participants who engaged, the organisers and any other support staff or businesses. Use the show hashtag to ensure that you get the  most from any post show awareness. 

If you want to speak to our team about how we can help you align your social media strategy with your exhibition goals, get in touch today and one of our team will be happy to discuss your exhibition design needs!