7 Ways to Use Social Media for your Pre-show Marketing

7 Ways to Use Social Media for your Pre-show Marketing

Social media has been in the news always for many different reasons, none very admiring. And while some among us continue to be barefaced fans, others have begun to feel that social media is a bane pervading every aspect of our private lives.

If you want to ensure that your exhibition is successful then you need to maximise your efforts when it comes to your pre-show marketing. Like any marketing strategy, successful exhibiting comes down to one thing – being seen.

The problem is, with so many businesses competing for the same audience it is easy for you to get lost in the crowd. There are loads of different ways you can avoid this. Having the most eye-catching exhibition stand or the best sales team on the ground will help. So will running competitions or giveaways during the show. But we’re pretty sure we’ve found the best strategy.

The best way to drum up enthusiasm about your upcoming exhibition, and guarantee maximum footfall, is to utilise social media. Your pre-show marketing is as important as the show itself. Social media is rocket fuel when it comes to raising awareness of your presence at a trade show.  

The following are seven social media strategies you can use to drive footfall and raise awareness of your presence at your upcoming exhibition.

1.     Host VIP Events

First and foremost, you should create an event on Facebook. This could be an open event or an invitation-only select group depending on how boujee you’re feeling. The event can be something as simple as *your brand name* @ *exhibition name*, and be to let people know about the show’s opening times and your stand number.

Another effective social media event tactic is to host a networking event or drinks reception for other exhibitors at a local venue. You don’t necessarily have to do anything bar deciding the date, time and location but people will make an effort to connect with you as the event organisers.

By creating an event you can see who is interested in attending. This will give you a good idea of the type of people you will be connecting with at the expo. Once you have this information you can ensure you are correctly targeting your social media marketing strategy.

2.     Connect with Visitors

B2B marketing is all about making connections and building relationships. A strong social media strategy is your chance to do just that by connecting with decision-makers and fellow exhibitors.

Using LinkedIn, you can find industry experts and people that are interested in the event. By connecting with them or following them on Twitter you have already started building rapport. You are already one step closer to achieving results at your exhibition.

3.     Build a Landing Page

Create a dedicated landing page on your website that has all of the information about the expo. You should include details about the show such as the venue and a guide on how to get there as well as highlighting your presence.

This encourages people who are looking for information about the event to visit your site. Share the page and place the URL in your social media bio and about pages to encourage a new audience that are interested in your industry.

By building a landing page and monitoring the flow of traffic that the page receives, you can monitor the success of your pre-show marketing. You can look at the acquisition data to gain insight into where this audience is coming from and tell your team to concentrate on certain platforms or types of content. This is as much of a marketing tool as a way of monitoring your success.

4.     Announce your Presence

The number one mistake that exhibitors make is not announcing their presence at an upcoming event. How are people supposed to know your presence? The minute you book your space at an exhibition you should be talking about it on your social media channels.

You can announce your presence as many times as you like depending on the platform. Any social media marketer knows how to effectively use sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to interact and engage with your audience. Don’t worry if you don’t, these social media tools do it all for you. 

You can start drip-feeding information as early as you like, then announce your giveaways and run a countdown to the event in the last few days before the show.

Tag other businesses that you know are involved in the show to generate more exposure including event organisers, your exhibition stand designers and complementary businesses that are exhibiting.

5. Arrange Meetings, Lunches and Dinners

Instead of waiting for potential leads to come to you, use social media to go after them. Talk to industry professionals and people attending the event and arrange a time for them to visit your booth. By announcing your presence and connecting with visitors you are halfway to completing this step.

Not only does this guarantee your exhibition stand gets footfall, but you can target the people who you think would benefit most from face to face interaction. Exhibitions are fantastic opportunities to meet the people who show a genuine interest in what you do.

They offer the most heavily targeted audience, and social media gives you a chance to exploit (for want of a better word) that. Make the most of this opportunity and get meetings, lunches and evening socials pencilled in the diary before you get there.

6. Create an Event Hashtag

With a catchy hashtag and enough time to spread the word, you could be on to a winner with your pre-show marketing. Start the conversation and you could see a huge ROI from your exhibition, particularly as 48% of millennials attend events so they have something to share on social channels.

Use this hashtag as many times as you can across all of your social channels. If your exhibition aims and objectives include raising brand awareness, this should be a core part of your overall strategy. Creating a custom event hashtag, as Mark Hill has done pictured above, can encourage user-generated content.

User-generated content is free media coverage for your brand. When people tweet or post a photo on Instagram using your hashtag they become brand ambassadors and micro influencers. Creating a hashtag encourages this behaviour and can earn you a ton of free publicity. 

7.     Promote your Competition

As your show gets closer you can begin dropping hints about any competitions or giveaways you are planning to run on your booth. Competitions are a great way of getting people over to your stand – but not if people don’t know about them.

Let people know what sort of events you are running on your stand. Tell them exactly when and where they can find you and get people buzzing about the best prizes, giveaways and competitions at the expo.

Again, this is an opportunity to use your custom event hashtag and drive people to your newly created landing page. Updating your profile with teasers of prizes and giveaways is enough to make someone say ‘that’s a stand worth visiting’.

Keep the competition simple, but the prize must be great. Everyone is giving out bottles of prosecco so try and think outside of the box and choose prizes that experts of your industry will enjoy.

Summing Up

Following these steps can lead to your most successful event yet. Promoting your presence at an expo, connecting with relevant delegates and creating a social buzz about your stand will drive footfall on the day.

Hosting events and arranging meetings will generate an increased number of leads. And utilizing all of these methods will encourage user-generated content and position you as an industry expert. Put these top tips into practice and enjoy the achievement.

Natalka is a content writer for exhibition stand design agency, Quadrant2Design. Her passion for marketing developed following the growth of her blog and during her academic experiences.

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