Social Media & Trade Shows: Get The Timing Right

Social Media & Trade Shows: Get The Timing Right

trade show ideas for social media

November winds up another trade-show season leaving your staff a few minutes to breathe and enjoy the holidays before they hit the road again for the Spring season. For many companies, trade shows are in integral and profitable part of their B2B advertising plans. In the last several years, however, trade shows have suffered the same fate as many other traditional marketing avenues: lower ROI.

You may already have implemented some online efforts to bolster your trade show marketing, but what are you doing DURING the event? You know, when your top prospects are sitting just a few yards away in an education session and you’re perched on a stool in your booth?

As an inbound marketing agency, we’re helping B2B companies make the most of their trade show experiences–that includes those precious moments during the show when you have your buyers all to yourself.

The key to taking advantage of this time is knowing as much as possible about your buyer and about the show you are attending. Download the schedule well in advance of the event. Study the way events are scheduled. When are people most likely to be bored and studying their phones (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, and Email)? When are they most likely to be engaged with other people (i.e. networking or eating)?

Schedule your social media posts during the times you know people will be checking their phones. Not really sure when that is? Sit in on some general sessions or break out sessions. Pay attention to when people start to pull out their phones. Is it at the beginning of the session or fifteen minutes in? This may differ according to the show you are attending and the audience. We call this grassroots market research. When you know when your audience is most likely to tune into social media, you can schedule your posts to go out at those exact times.

While you’re scheduling your social posts at these specific times, don’t just schedule anything and everything. Know your audience. On an ordinary day, you may want to connect with multiple target markets, however, during a trade show be hyper-focused on the market sitting just a few rooms away from you. You have just a few days to capture their attention, don’t waste that time on a shotgun approach to all your markets.

Ask yourself these questions before the show:

  • What is the major pain/problem of this one target market that I can solve?
  • What topics are being covered in break out sessions and how can I speak to those topics as well?
  • What do I want this specific target market to know about my industry?

The goal isn’t to sell, but to use this unique opportunity to teach and educate this audience on your industry, not the features of your services or products.

Take the answers to the above questions and craft 3-5 blog posts specific for this target market. Schedule them to post on your B2B website the week of the event at some very strategic times. Include posts with links to these articles on social media throughout the week during the times you’ve already identified as when the attendees are checking out their phones.

Don’t just stop by posting a few blog links. Make sure you broadcast your booth number and and an enticing reason for the attendees to stop by and visit you. (Check out our post on trade show ideas for a few suggestions!)

If you have customers who are attending the show, you can ask them to retweet your posts throughout the event. This will increase the number of people who see your information.

Finally, before you post, make sure you include the hashtag for the event. This increases the chances your post will be found and retweet by people involved in the event and it makes the post especially relevant for this target market you’re trying to reach.

So as a recap, here’s your steps:

  1. Study the event schedule
  2. Decide on the best & worst times to post to social media
  3. Write blog posts/content aimed specifically at the people attending the event
  4. Post to social media, using the event hashtag, with links to your articles and reasons to visit your booth.

All of these steps can be completed before you ever pack your bags for the show. Be sure to keep an eye on your social media during the event and respond promptly to any comments or questions.

Need to make sure your bases are covered? Download our Social Media Checklist. It’s like a cheat-sheet for social media posting.

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