Registering for an AV show, like the upcoming Integrated Systems Europe 2017, is one thing. Making tradeshow attendance worth your while is another. Gone are the days of simply setting up a booth and watching leads funnel into your database. In today’s tradeshow environment, you need marketing tactics as leading edge as the new audiovisual technology you are showcasing.
Social media is a low-cost, high-impact way to get the most out of your tradeshow experience. It also gives you a forum to provide your current and potential customers with information on the most up-to-date audio visual products and trends. According to event marketing firm SmartInsights, 19 percent of the total world population is on Facebook. Twitter has 288 million users and LinkedIn has 187 million. That’s millions of potential customers just waiting to connect with you. Here are some tips on using social media to maximize your AV tradeshow success.
- Know your target audience.
Decide in advance who you want to reach at the event itself. Are you targeting executives, vendors, or attendees? Purchasing managers or other marketers? Once you’ve narrowed your target audience, create a customer profile. This should include their most-used social media platform. For tradeshows or conferences, LinkedIn and Twitter are often the most effective, while Facebook is well-suited to interest groups and private parties. But the platform you use depends most on your audience and goals. Other channels to consider include video streaming, such as Periscope, SnapChat, Facebook Live, and Instagram. Test out a few different platforms before the event and see what has the biggest impact to help narrow your choices.
- Develop a pre-event strategy.
If potential customers don’t hear anything from you until the event begins, you’re already behind. Create an editorial calendar you can start implementing a few weeks before the event. Will you be introducing a new AV product? Start tweeting out teaser images. Create a personalized hashtag for your product or company, and start using the event-sponsored hashtag. (For Integrated Systems Europe the hashtag is #ISE2017.) Hashtags create buzz, allow you to meet other attendees, and let you keep your customer’s interest after the event. You can also use social media to create a visual countdown to the event. Use photos, infographics, or a pictorial timeline to remind followers the event is coming up and you hope to see them there. Remember, in social media a picture is worth a thousand words or a lot of ‘likes.’ In fact, Facebook posts with an image receive 53% more likes and 104% more comments, according to SmartInsights.
- Drive traffic.
Once you’re at the event, use your social media platforms to drive traffic to your booth. Will you be demonstrating a new product? Make sure people know when and where and hold a prize drawing for everyone who checked in virtually at your booth. Offer a discount or special promotion to those who use your custom hashtag. Offer exclusive access for streaming video of product unveilings or demonstrations to the first five people who respond to a tweet. You can also attract attention and good will by chronicling the event with your own photos and video, as well as following and sharing content from other attendees.
- Watch the clock.
While real-time content can help you reach people at the event itself, you can’t forget about your customers in a different time zones. Make sure you are scheduling posts, pictures, and video to go out at times they are most likely to see them. For instance, ISE 2017 will be in Amsterdam, which is nine hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time.
- Keep the conversation going.
Just because the event is over doesn’t mean the conversation has to end. Keep using your social media platforms and hashtags to distribute AV product news and invite followers to post AV product reviews. When customers mention you on social media, like their comments. When they post reviews, tag them and thank them. You can also tag customers who attended the event and thank them for visiting your booth or purchasing your product. Provide a recap or review of the event and repurpose content such as keynote speeches into blog posts or infographics. Collect email addresses of potential leads at the event and then follow up with a survey or special offer that can only be claimed after the event.
- Measure your success.
Now all that’s left is to see if your hard work paid off. Traditional tracking measures—such as new leads, sales and other direct actions—will tell part of the story, but your social media efforts can also help you track behavioral changes and social sentiment around your product or brand. Search for all the uses of your personalized hashtag—was the post positive or negative? Invite attendees to post reviews of your AV product after the event and track what they say. Use measurement tools such as Facebook Insights or Twitter Analytics, which come free with your account, to discover your reach, followers, likes, comments, page views, retweets, mentions, and engagement.
- Get ready to do it all again!
Social media is an interactive tool. The only way to succeed is to keep building on what you’ve already done. Continue to measure and improve. Don’t go radio silent between big events. Keep sharing AV industry news, trends, and products coming. Continue engaging regularly with your audience and they’ll already be there the next time you need them.
Have any tried and true social media tricks? Share them with us in the comments below.