In a previous article, we identified three reasons why Twitter might not be producing the results you had desired for your trade show (to refresh your memory, here are the reasons: (1) you aren’t engaging enough, (2) you are “broadcasting” too much, and (3) you haven’t given it enough time).
Let’s say you signed up to exhibit and read somewhere that Twitter is a great way to promote your company’s trade show involvement; so you went ahead and signed up for a Twitter account (or looked up the username you created to use before your last event …and lost shortly after it concluded).
You log-in and tweet like crazy from then (two weeks before the event) until your trade show. However, when the show opens, you’re shocked and dismayed to find that there aren’t any “tweeps” (twitter people) lining up to meet you… Even worse, you can’t even fall back on “the numbers” to show your social media efforts have been a good investment (because you haven’t obtained thousands of followers, no one will reply to your messages, and the amount of mentions/retweets you’ve received is minimal at best).
So, you blame whatever you read for the “bad advice” and spend the rest of the show wondering what really happened, right?
If this sounds familiar, reason number three is a big issue for you… If you aren’t enjoying the exhibiting results you have been seeking, it may be because you haven’t given your Twitter efforts enough time to work.
In order to make Twitter work for your trade shows, you need to start using it well before your big event begins. Depending on how many trade shows you participate in each year, this may correspond with one of several time frames. As such, here are a few tactics (arranged by starting point) to help you build as much momentum as possible in the time leading up to your big event:
Just before another Event
- Follow the event’s twitter account and hashtag.
- Seek out professionals who will also travel to the convention city to follow and engage.
- Share updates as you prepare for the event.
- Promote your involvement and invite others to visit your booth as well as any receptions or other activities you will be hosting.
During another Event
- Continue following the event’s twitter account and hashtag.
- Seek out additional networking opportunities (evening receptions, informal gatherings) and participate in relevant discussions.
- Post interesting observations about the sessions, exhibit hall, and other event-sponsored activities.
- Share reminders with interested followers about your company’s involvement on-site.
- Keep contacts who haven’t traveled to the convention city in the loop with timely industry updates.
Note: Do not tweet from within your booth (focus on attendees in real life), but schedule what you can ahead of time and spontaneously post interesting information from elsewhere in the convention center/city.
Just after another Event
- Thank your new contacts for spending time with you during your trade show.
- Find and follow other professionals you met on-site.
- Remind your followers of show specials or other exciting opportunities (new products launched, etc.) they are still eligible for.
- Condense and share any specific content you obtained during the event that could be useful to your target audience.
- Use this transition time to wrap up your involvement in the previous event(s) and prepare for the future event(s).
- Find and follow the professionals who were/will be involved in these trade shows.
- Tweet about on-going preparations (what you’re getting excited about, a peek behind the scenes, special offerings).
- Reflect on post-show efforts (key takeaways, industry trends, company accomplishments).
- Mix in interesting educational content that is relevant to each industry and specific target audience.
- Incorporate visual aids wherever possible (ie. pictures, video, etc.).
During an “Off Season” (with no trade shows in sight)
- Think of Twitter as part of your “keep in touch” campaign.
- Continue engaging your audience:
- Share the more personal aspects of your company (like volunteer work/community involvement) to relate to your target audience.
- Answer questions to highlight your expertise and help other professionals.
- Comment on the latest industry news to maintain top of mind awareness.
- Feel free to mix in a few promotional tweets too (announcing new products, encouraging mailing list sign-ups, etc.).
Hopefully, you can take my word for it and won’t have to learn from personal experience that social media (and Twitter specifically) isn’t effective when it isn’t given enough time. Instead, simply utilize the tactics in this article so you can enjoy the results during your biggest trade shows that you earned by starting your social media involvement earlier in the year. Speaking of… are we connected on Twitter yet? If not, please follow me @Robyn_WINH.