By now, you know that social media is an important part of your pre-trade show marketing activities. Letting your followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram know that you’ll be exhibiting at an upcoming show and touting all of the great things you’ll be showing just makes sense.
However, where many marketing teams tend to fall down is in the post-show marketing. Once you’ve collected your leads, packed up the display and made your way home, if you’re like many marketing pros, you’re focus is on following up with leads, not rehashing the events of the show with people who couldn’t be there.
That’s a mistake. Even though the show is over, it can still provide plenty of fodder for social media posts and campaigns that will improve engagement and perhaps even entice people who didn’t see you at the show to reach out for more information. So before you pack away your displays and brochures and forget about the show until next year, spend some time doing the following on social media.
Acknowledge Attendees and Supporting Players
Trade shows are a lot of work, and it takes a team of dedicated professionals to make sure everything runs smoothly. Use your social media feeds to acknowledge those folks who made everything possible. For example, if you handed out promotional pens that were a hit among attendees, a quick post along the lines of “Thank you to www.thepenguy.com for our great giveaways!” improves your image and gives your community information they can use while also giving one of your favorite vendors a marketing boost.
Use your social media feeds to say thank you to staff, to praise anyone who went above and beyond and to thank those who stopped by your exhibit — not only will you spread goodwill, you’ll open the door to new conversations.
Share Your Knowledge
One of the primary purposes of trade shows is education, and even if you were an exhibitor, you undoubtedly learned more about your industry by attending.
Share your knowledge in a series of blog posts, and link them to your social media accounts. Try writing about trends you saw at the show, the most surprising things you saw at the show or the most common questions you heard at the show. Right up a post-show report about your experience to let your community know how it went, especially if you spent time marketing before the show.
Did you offer a giveaway or another special during the show? Use social media after the show to announce the winners.
If you introduced a new product or service for the first time at the show, follow up with social media announcements. Keep the momentum and excitement going after the show using your Facebook and Twitter feeds.
While you might make new contacts at the show, the nature of trade shows probably prevented you from having in-depth conversations and really getting to know your leads. When you get home, spend some time connecting on social media. LinkedIn in particular is a valuable and effective resource for learning more about your leads. Send requests to your new contacts via the networking site, being sure to write a personal message mentioning that you met at the trade show and referring back to your conversation there. Beyond LinkedIn, invite your leads to connect with your company on your social media feeds; just be sure that you are offering valuable content there to avoid wasting everyone’s time.
You can also use your social media accounts to conduct polls or ask for feedback on the trade show experience. The polls don’t have to necessarily be related to your business, either. Ask your followers to share the best restaurant they ate at during the show, or what they thought was the coolest new productat the show. You might not be able to use all of the information you learn for your own marketing, but you build community and engagement — both key aspects of successful social media marketing.
Posting on social media before and during a trade show is important, but don’t neglect your accounts post-show. If nothing else, sharing your own thoughts on the event and your experiences closes the loop and doesn’t leave your audience hanging. Managing your post show social media effectively might even gain you some new leads, or at least strengthen your prospects’ interest in what you have to offer.
About the Author: If you want to get your name in front of customers and prospects, Gary Austin, also known as “The Pen Guy,” is your guy. Gary has been providing organizations with custom promotional products for over 25 years with his company Gary Austin Advertising, which specializes in pens, koozies, lighters, umbrellas and almost any other promotional product you can think of.