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Using Social Media at a Trade Show: Before, During and After

iPad Exhibition Display Stand

The message is clear for businesses who are not currently using social media: get in the game, or get left behind. Those who are using social networks in order to promote their events and trade shows, as well as interact with consumers while they are exhibiting, and follow up with them afterwards, are reaping the rewards that often comes with technological innovation of this type.

Mark Thompson, Sales Director of Printdesigns, one of the country’s premier suppliers of banner stands and pop-up displays for exhibitions and trade shows, says, “Social media is now no longer a luxury for businesses; it is a necessity. Those who use social media as part of their events are seeing fantastic results in conversion and client retention rates, as well as seeing general interest in their business soar. It is important for all businesses to start to embrace the power of social media, and by implementing it into a trade show marketing strategy, they can truly see how much it will benefit them in the long run.”

Social media allows businesses to get the conversation started when it comes to promoting their business. Rather than handing out flyers and creating a one-way interaction with prospective clients, social media allows prospective attendees to become involved with the business, chatting with those in charge and engaging with the brand before they even set foot inside the event. Create an event on Facebook and invite all friends, use the forum to conduct surveys and interact with attendees, and create a contest for those who show up to the event. Also create a hashtag on Twitter and use it to raise awareness about the event and a business’ presence at the show.

During the event, social media really comes to the fore; it can be used to engage with visitors at the event and even those who couldn’t attend but are interested in the promotion taking place. Place a QR code on an exhibition stand and have it link to a homepage or a social network profile. Using Twitter or Facebook, companies can set competitions with their fans or followers; for example, posting that the first 10 people to arrive at the booth quoting ‘Facebook’ or their Twitter handle, will receive a prize or a discount. Google+ also allows for video links called ‘Hangouts’, which allows those who couldn’t attend the event to take part and be there virtually.

After the event, social media is all about tracking results and gaining feedback. Ask for comments or opinions on every social network; start a poll on Facebook, follow up with attendees on Twitter and for all those who signed up for a mailing list or registered their interest on the day, send them invites to social networking accounts to ensure they are fully connected with the business in the future.