With trade show season quickly approaching, marketers are revisiting their show strategies, aiming to position their business as the must-see booth on the show floor. However, many companies still struggle to produce a significant ROI for their trade show investments. Those savvy at trade show marketing are leveraging social media and PR before and during a show to accelerate their success. Below are three strategies to consider:
Research, research, research. The first step in any good plan is research. Request a list of media attendees from the show organizer. Understand what their beat or primary area of focus is. Look at the articles they’ve written, find their social media accounts and follow them from your company’s page. Answer these critical questions:
What does s/he write about? Did s/he attend the show last year? What are his/her primary areas of interest?
Getting to know key media attendees allows you to pitch the most enticing angle for that reporter and effectively attract their interest. Do what you can to get featured ahead of the show, in show dailies, in online updates and in social media posts. Remember: attendees often take their cue from the press as they design their trade show game plans.
Talk the talk. Now that you’ve discovered a bit more about each reporter, it’s time to start talking. Reach out with a pre-show press kit and press release that provides them with key information ahead of the show. Follow up by phone, and begin participating in organic conversations with journalists in the social space. Offer an interview with a key company spokesperson to provide unique insights and perspectives, and always do what you can to make a reporter’s job easier. Remember: journalists want a story—not a coffee date—so if you’re going to make a pitch, give them a real reason to meet with you.Make your information work even harder by sharing it with attendees and your customer/prospect database ahead of the show. You can do this directly through e-communications and through your company social feeds. Stay top-of-mind so attendees and media alike will prioritize your booth as one they’ll want to visit
Keep the conversation going. Think your job is done once you’ve hit the show floor? Think again. It’s important to continue publishing valuable social content throughout the duration of the event. Leverage live video and stories to keep your brand front and center. Share secured media coverage to increase brand awareness and encourage media and show attendees to visit your booth. Remember: journalists and publications are also competing for mindshare. You’ll create loyalty by tagging the journalist and the publication in social posts and help build the publication’s brand as a go-to source of information.
By leveraging the above strategies, you can increase brand awareness, build valuable relationships and drive interest both before and during a trade show. But remember, it’s also critical to take action following the show. You’ve put in a lot of time and effort, so don’t leave those leads on the trade show floor!