Registrants can become your greatest asset for tradeshow promotion
There are several new solutions available that allow attendees and exhibitors to spread the word and become the advocate of your event and market it to their peers. This is often referred to as crowdsourcing and it is a fantastic approach to create awareness – spreading the word to the attendees’ own social media communities. Through a very simple exhibitor invite system, tradeshow management is able extend an invitation to the contacts that your exhibitors would like to show up on the floor. With some very simple API hooks into the social media platforms, events are now able to extend the invitation to register for an event beyond the the typical catch-all B2B email marketing methods. Now the invitation is from either a peer or a trusted business connection.
Teach Your Community how to Participate in Social Media
You already know that social media grabs attention in the community. Allow Forward Vision Marketing to provide a Social Media session or provide a social media lab in a booth so that members can walk up and initiate a social connection with your company and join your organization’s community online.
Create a Series of Community Interaction Messages
The social media strategy needs to extend beyond recruiting for the show. The community manager will think of ways to stimulate conversations based on show topics and buzz in the community. The community will respond and you can continue the conversation to help the community solve those important issues.
Establish and Defend Your HashTag
One of the most popular social tradeshow promotion techniques is to establish and claim the event hashtag. Make sure to publish it everywhere and keep your community apprised. You’ll want to encourage all registrants to include your event hash tag when they tweet. Be careful not to choose a hashtag already in use; instead, create your own and work to keep it yours. Unfortunately, Twitter has not done a great job to help protect hashtags from spam messages, but it is a problem that they recognize.
Establish Pre-Event and Onsite Networking for Registered Attendees
Your community is still interested in the social component of an event – they made a commitment to a face-to-face event over staying at home at their computers. People attend events for networking and you must support the desire to meet, connect and interact with others – whether they want to discuss business goals or just increase their network of industry peers. Unfortunately, most events are black holes until one arrives at the event, and even then the ability to connect with other community members becomes challenging. I have attended events where I spent the entire time hoping – but failing – to run into a person I wanted to connect with. Even more frustrating is to learn that a key contact was at the same event and I had no idea until I returned home. Event social networking tools are getting better, and matching people based on business interests, content or desired relationships are becoming the new design of some of the best events. Pre-event connections are becoming easier, despite the challenges, as audience tend to register much closer to the event dates. Mobile devices now carry connectivity to the show floor as attendees are starting to utilize solutions that extend relationship building to their cell phones.
Let Everyone Become a Relationship Expert
We all have opinions about our connections and the value they provide. Let your community categorize their connections by encouraging the use of Twitter List. This new Twitter feature changes the way people can find each other. If one of my trusted Twitter connections has created a Twitter List with social media experts, I will be very interested in following them.
Encourage a Tweet-Up
Twitter users want to connect. Give them a chance to meet in person and connect a real live person with the tweets they have been following. Try launching a Tweet-up. It doesn’t really require much planning – a bar or restaurant with free Wi-Fi close to the event that allows people to gather.
With the recent announcement by LinkedIn on providing API access, it is only a matter of time before someone will build a software from Twitter List pages to LinkedIn, so that event attendees can integrate LinkedIn connections directly into the Twitter List.
New Ways to Allow Exhibitors to Connect with Your Audience
Some pretty innovative ideas are coming in 2013 that will blur the lines of social networking, content delivery and attendee experiences on the show floor. Several suppliers have launched into RFID/text message connectivity, which provides the attendee with the ability to see content or product information and request it from the floor.
Go beyond the hype and try one of these simple suggestions to launch a social media initiative for your organization’s tradeshow promotion efforts. B2B social media firms like Forward Vision Marketing can help you get started with any of these tradeshow promotion strategies.