You have a great display, memorable show giveaways, well-designed fliers and business cards– topped off with shirts featuring the company logo for the booth staff (all from Tradeshows And Displays, of course). So, don’t tamper with perfection, right? Not so fast. You have a lot of competition; dozens upon dozens of other companies are vying for the attention of your prospects. You need a little something extra. One possibility is clever use of social media.
Prepare Your Booth Staffers
Even with all of today’s technology, the most important part of a tradeshow is the face-to-face connections. Many sales functions take place as staffers interact with potential customers. Booth staff should be aware of company goals for being there. They should participate in pre-show training, know the products on display, and be prepared to answer basic questions about them. Most importantly, they should practice behavior that makes attendees feel welcome in the booth at all times.
What is proper booth etiquette? That’s the subject of another blog. But what matters for our purposes here is the phone/tablet rule. It’s sickeningly common for people to check their phone in the midst of a business conversation for new emails or text messages. On the show floor, this behavior is irritating and unacceptable… unless it ties in with the expo activities.
Managing Social Media at Tradeshows
For many companies, social media is a major part of the strategy in bringing people to the booth. One of your staffers can be on the floor or in the booth tweeting, posting information on Facebook or sending out an Instagram picture of items in the booth. Capturing the moment is important in this context, but how will an attendee know if someone in the booth is chatting or texting with a friend or conducting business?
Simply put, it is difficult for prospects to distinguish. If on-floor social media is to be an important part of your tradeshow presence, you must take steps to make sure you’re not sending the wrong signal or pushing your attendees away.
- Having enough people to staff your booth is crucial. When traffic is slower, this may seem like a waste of personnel. However, slow times are good for breaks from the booth. Enough staffers also allows for a designated social media person.
- Make the social media posting an obvious part of your in-booth marketing. Designate a special part of the booth as a social media center. Pose with customers and prospects and ask them if you can post the picture online. Ask customers their opinions about your company’s products and post favorable comments they make. If you’re doing a demo of a product, as people what they think and use those comments as short testimonials. If you feel it would help you even more, post a video of your live demo and comment with people’s reactions. You might even want to have a sign or lighted banner with your Facebook page, your twitter handle, and any other social media outlets you’re using.
- The social media posts that come from the show should be in line with your marketing strategy. Your designated social media person should be prepared with some basic material to post that incorporates the official hashtags for the show. Even if you try to present your company as approachable, everything that is posted should be businesslike and correctly spelled. You can be both personable and professional in your social media posts.
- By all means, post about your exhibit itself. Post your booth number, what’s happening in the booth, and get people to stop by for a visit.
Personal cell phones and other electronic devices should not be used while in the booth, but strategic planning can make them a perfect fit for on-site social media integration. (Staffers can check their personal devices and accounts on their designated breaks from the show floor.)
What are YOUR thoughts on all this? We’d like to hear your comments!
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