For many industries exhibitions are an opportunity to reach out to new consumers and showcase what they have to offer face to face. Through the use of social media you can greatly improve your exhibition presence, generate more leads and pre-schedule appointments with little to no cost. If your company is a regular exhibitor or even a first-timer, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be taking advantage of social media’s power.
Social Media is more than just telling your followers you’ll be at the exhibition, everything from running competitions to filming an “exhibition advert” and posting it to your social channels – if you’re feeling creative that is.
If you’re still not convinced here are some statistics on the top free social networking sites out there – Facebook has 1 billion active users and 2.5 billion pieces of content are shared each day, Twitter has 560 million active users and 5700 tweets are sent every second. If you can convince even a tiny amount of these users to visit you at your next exhibition, your ROI will increase exponentially.
Create a Hashtag (#)
First and foremost, create a hashtag that you will use for everything you post to do with the exhibition. Keep it short and sweet, Twitter has a 140 character limit to posts so the longer the hashtag you create the less room you will have for your actual post.
Facebook has adopted the use of hashtags recently as well as Google+, YouTube, Tumblr and some of the small social networks. This means you should also use a hashtag on any of these networks that you use, it is recommended to keep your hashtag the same over all the platforms as followers coming from different social media sites can then keep track of you without having to figure out and remember a different hashtag for every network you use.
Don’t stop using your hashtag just because it’s exhibition day, keep people in the loop who couldn’t attend and maybe you’ll gain more leads through social media alone. Posting on the day also helps to keep people attending the exhibition updated on what you’re doing, for example are you running a competition at 1pm? Let everyone know through social media!
Run a Competition
Speaking of running competitions, social media can be a great way to run online competitions which encourage engagement on your social platforms as well as improve your exhibition presence. Make sure you don’t announce winners via social media however, this is because ultimately you want people to visit your exhibition stand - tell people you are announcing the winner at a set time at your stand, entrants will make sure they come to your stand just in case they win.
Promote even more social engagement by offering a second entry to people who post or blog about the competition you are running, this is a win-win for both you and the attendee. If you’re struggling for competition ideas, here are some Great Competitions to Engage Your Exhibition Stand Visitors.
Don’t feel like you are limited to just posting about your exhibition presence, bring social media to your attendees with iPad stands and monitors attached to your stand. Visitors to your stand will enjoy the interactivity you are providing and may just stay that few seconds longer you need to secure them as a new business lead.
An example of how you can use monitors to your advantage would be to have a live stream of your twitter feed, this is another place where your hashtag comes in. Allow visitors to tweet using your hashtag to have their post come up on the big screen, people will jump at the chance to have their name up for everyone to see. With an iPad stand you can use these as an alternative way for people to enter into the competition you holding, hopefully people will be queuing up to get a chance at your prize.
Start a Group
Finally, the best social network for those in the B2B Sector is LinkedIn. Using their group feature you can create a place for exhibitors, suppliers, and attendees to join and converse with one and other freely. Getting to know who you’ll be sharing the floor with is crucial as it allows you to discover potential leads before the exhibition has even started. Think you’ve identified a lead? Then approach them to set up a specific meeting time, show them that you’re interested in them and their business.
Groups can also be created on Facebook and, although less effective compared to LinkedIn, they are not something to dismiss straight away. Groups are a good way for people to learn more about the event and for you to encourage attendance, just keep your posts informative and professional.
At XL Displays we are experts in exhibition stands and portable display equipment. For advice and more information on how we can help you prepare for your next event please Contact Us or call us on 01733 511030