Guest post by Reno Macri.
Trade show or event marketing offers an excellent opportunity for businesses and marketers to gain valuable face-to-face time with potential clients, customers and business partners. However, digital technology, and social networking sites in particular, have fundamentally altered the way events are experienced.
Through social media platforms, attendees and businesses can share content and experiences from the event. They can also interact with others who are in attendance, or those who have an interest, but are unable to attend. In this article, we take a look at why engagement on your social media platforms is so important.
Providing Important Information
One of the most important reasons to aim for enhanced engagement on your social media platforms for your next trade show is so that you can use those platforms to deliver key pieces of information. Ideally, this means you should try to encourage as much engagement with your social media platforms as possible, before the event even begins.
Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram to advertise your upcoming trade show appearances. Setting up individual Facebook event pages can be a good way of facilitating engagement before, during and after the event, and can help you to gain at least some idea of how many people are likely to visit your exhibition stand.
It would be a good idea to utilize a scheduling tool like Sendible. Sendible allows you to schedule posts to all key social media networks, monitor what’s being said about your brand and engage with your users on Twitter. By scheduling your posts, you can ensure your content is varied, relevant and sent at appropriate times to ensure maximum reach.
Instagram is an under-utilised platform for providing pure information. Through it, you can showcase your exhibition stand, so that attendees know what to look for. You can also geo-tag your posts, so that users can pinpoint precisely where you are. As a bonus, geo-tagged posts receive 79 percent more engagement.
By encouraging social media engagement before during and after your trade show, you can ensure that important updates, changes in your plans, and basic location information are all seen by a wide audience, enhancing your chances of attracting visitors to your stand on the day and having your post-event content seen.
Another reason engagement with social platforms is important is because it provides people with a place to have conversations about the trade show event, but also about your exhibition stand or booth. This can be important for helping to form deeper, more meaningful relationships with attendees and other potential customers.
Once again, an event page on Facebook can be useful for this. However, in many cases, conversational engagement is better facilitated through Twitter. In order to maximise this kind of engagement and keep conversation in one easily accessible place, it’s essential to make good use of hashtags.
Generally speaking, most trade shows will have their own hashtag, which can be used by exhibiting companies. Yet it also makes sense to come up with your own individual hashtag and to promote this as much as possible, so that conversation specifically related to your business can be tracked and monitored, and integrated with your other event-related data through your event management platform.
The very best custom exhibition stands also include built-in social media elements, which allow users to post to social media from the booth. Many of these can also be configured to automatically add your hashtag to the posts.
Expanding Reach Beyond the Event
Finally, perhaps the most important reason of all for trying to encourage social media engagement is the potential it offers to expand the reach of the event itself. Traditionally, event marketing was intended to reach those in attendance, but through social platforms, you can now reach relevant people all around the world.
Custom or bespoke exhibition stands make it easy to include social media screens or walls, which can encourage people to Tweet or share content about the event on social media. This content then becomes visible to their friends or followers. Moreover, your business can publish event content on its own social media pages.
“Get video footage of the event,” says Timothy Carter, writing for Marketing Land. “Whether it’s a short clip of someone participating in a contest, winning a giveaway, giving a presentation…capturing and sharing moments from the trade show floor gives people who aren’t attending a way to experience what’s happening at the show.”
The reason video is preferable is because, according to Hubspot, most marketers agree it is the type of content that generates the best ROI, while video content also ranked as the type of content consumers most want to see more of from marketers. With that said, pictures and written content shared to social media can be useful too.
The Final Word
Social networking sites have fundamentally altered the way people experience events in their lives and they also provide people with the ability to share moments and memories with a global audience. Moreover, they offer businesses an ideal platform to communicate with customers and build deeper relationships with them.
These qualities make social media platforms an essential component of modern-day exhibitions or trade shows. In order to get the most from them, businesses need to facilitate engagement with those platforms and this can be achieved by promoting hashtags, and providing facilities to share posts.
Reno Macri is a founder and director of a leading exhibition and event company Enigma Visual Solutions, specialising in exhibition services, event branding, event production, modular exhibition stands, and much more. He enjoys sharing his thoughts on upcoming marketing ideas and design trends. Feel free to follow him on Twitter.