Planning Trade Show Social Media Efforts

Photo courtesy of World of Concrete

Photo courtesy of World of Concrete

With several industry trade shows right around the corner, I’m sure you’re hard at work getting everything ready to go. From planning booth signage and figuring out what equipment will be at the show to creating a booth schedule and deciding what everyone is going to wear, trade shows can be stressful. So, let me add one more thing to your plate — you need to have a trade show social media plan if you want to maximize your booth traffic and exposure before, during and after the show.

Of course, planning your trade show social media effort only works if you’re active on social media. If not, check out our article about Social Media Basics for the Construction Industry.

Moving forward, I’m going to assume you’re active on social media, are using the right channels for your business and have delegated someone (or a team of people) to post engaging content on regular basis. And since you have that in place, your trade show efforts really only need to focus on the who, what, when and why specific to the event:  

  • Who are you trying to engage with?
  • What are you posting?
  • When are you posting it? 
  • And, why are you doing any of this in the first place. 

Pre-show Efforts

PHOTO COURTESY OF WORLD OF CONCRETE

PHOTO COURTESY OF WORLD OF CONCRETE

  • Who: Attendees are the primary focus here. You want to get them to your booth during the show. To a lesser extent you also want to appeal to your loyal customers that can’t make it to the show. 
  • What: What are you doing at the show that should make your booth a destination over your competition?
    • Are you introducing new equipment? Tell your friends, followers and fans about it. 
    • Do you have show specials? Promote them now.
    • Any special guests, contests or demonstrations happening at your booth during the show? Let them know.
    • Do you have experts at your booth that can solve a contractor’s problems? Let people know who going to be there and how they can help.
  • When: Your pre-show social efforts should start 2-3 weeks before the show and lead right up to when the show opens.
    • Why not sooner? Until trade show attendees are planning their trip to the show, it’s all just noise.
    • Why not later? You also don’t want to wait too long. Everyone will be posting photos of their booth hours before the show. You want your visitors to make a plan to stop by your booth before they get on the plane.
  • Why: A trade show booth gets lonely when you don’t have anyone stopping by, which is why it’s important to execute some type of pre-show marketing campaign.
PHOTO COURTESY OF WORLD OF CONCRETE

PHOTO COURTESY OF WORLD OF CONCRETE

At-Show Efforts

  • Who: During the show, your efforts need to focus on attendees walking the show floor and the at-home crowd.
    • Keep in mind, people walking the show floor likely won’t be engaged every minute of the day with Twitter or Facebook, so it’s worth repeating some things. 
    • For the people who couldn’t attend the show, you want to keep them up-to-date about what they are missing out on, as well as where they can go to get in on some of your trade show goodness (specials). 
  • What: Give them what they want — videos and photos
    • Perhaps before the show started, you had your graphic designer spend hours preparing graphics of show-only specials and equipment beauty shots. Well, no one wants to see those during the show. Instead, get out your smartphone and take some pictures of people jumping on equipment, having fun and enjoying their time at your booth. 
    • If you want to make an even bigger impact, shoot some video and get it posted quickly. No time for professional editing when you’re on the show floor!
    • And as always, write a quick and engaging comment or post to go along with your visuals. 
  • When: Morning, afternoon and night
    • As I mentioned earlier, during the show attendees are not as engaged with social media, so early morning, late afternoon and the evening will be the optimum time to get their attention.
  • Why: To let people know that you are the coolest exhibit at the show, and they are missing out if they don’t stop by.
    • Seriously, photos and video from the booth will peak attendees’ interest and help drive traffic.
    • Also, the at-home audience is likely fans of your brand, and this type of content gets shared a lot and will help you grow brand loyalty.

Post-Show Efforts 

PHOTO COURTESY OF WORLD OF CONCRETE

PHOTO COURTESY OF WORLD OF CONCRETE

  • Who: You are trying to engage with people that were at the show and potential customer who did not make it.
  • What: Content about the show, equipment and show specials
    • To maximize your post-show efforts, you need to capture shareable content at the show. 
      • Product walk-around videos with a representative from your company.
      • Customer testimonials — conduct interviews at the show.
      • Scenes from the booth.
      • Extend your show specials and let people know how they can take advantage of them.
      • Videos, photos and descriptions of new equipment introduced at the show.
  • When: Reference the show in your efforts for 1-2 weeks after a show, but be sure to use the content year round. 
  • Why: For almost every company, trade shows represent one of the only times marketing, engineering and sales members are in the same spot at the same time with equipment. It’s important to take advantage of those situations and capture as much content as possible. 

Hopefully, you now have a few ideas for your social media trade show efforts. If you have any questions, please let Amber or me know. We’re always happy to help.