Social media is a blessing and a curse. There is so much to do and so many people to follow that we can waste so much time posting and following.  However, in regards to getting the most out of trade shows and conventions, social media continues to change the we we collaborate, communicate and educate and it could add value to your next conference or trade show. 

So whether your company has an exhibit or booth at the event or you are simply walking the trade show floor, depending on what you want to get out of event, here are a few tips for using social media:

Pre-Show

  • Set Goals - Why are you attending this event?  For example to learn or network, build a social media following or just experiment with social media
  • Become a Follower/Twitter - Follow the major media outlets and show organizers to get the latest information on the event and to see what is trending and who is commenting.
  • Start pre show teasers for your campaign
  • Develop an on site and post show plan
  • Work to become relevant to the conversation
  • Retweet often to get noticed by the conference influencers
  • Tweet using the official hashtag leading up to the event
  • Follow other firms, industry organizations and others that will exhibit or speak at the event.
  • Link-In before you leave - Use LinkedIn Updates to find out who's talking about the event.
  • Update your status to reflect your plans at the event.
  • Use Linked In to connect with potential venders, partners, clients and peers a the show.
  • Schedule meetings through LinkedIn. 
  • Download the mobile app

DURING THE SHOW

  • Stay connected to the action of the show using the official (and unofficial) hashtags
  • Share your experience through your blog, Facebook and Twiter, 
  • Use Instagram to capture and share show photos
  • Explore new social media such as Meerekat and Periscope, even Snapchat -- these events are great ways to explore and get comfortable with social media. 
  • Retweet posts from other influencers

After the Show

  • Connect to those that you met via LinkedIn and Twitter
  • Send thank you's to those that you connected with (I still like to write personal handwritten notes, in addition to email/LinkedIn messages)
  • Stay connected and continue the conversation even when your return to your office. 

In regards to media relations, you should also familiarize yourself with the trade media covering these events and work several months in advance to place your products and projects in their publications or work with them to place other content in the materials that will be distributed on the trade show floor. This may include sponsoring content and you should prepare a marketing budget to further assist you in reaching your goals while attending the event. 

 

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