Social Media for trade shows. Marketers stop thinking too soon.

Social media for tradeshows is a large topic, and this post does not cover everything! In order for you to understand benefiting from Social media with your exhibit I need to address what social media is first (it’s my interpretation) below and then walk you through the basics of social media at tradeshows

Please note with regards to the comments above on spam and mobile devices:

I am not recommending you spam people,(in fact don’t do it)  what I meant to say was that a PC with for example eset’s or Cyberoam’s net Genie has spam filters and many newsletters for businesses are blocked, Newsletters that you subscribe to can and are blocked by normal PC antiviras programs- however mobile devices especially the blackberry (which I have experience with) do not have very good antispam and therefore they are more likely to receive the email. In many cases when someone joins your database from your social media site using the bridge  they are using their home email address (thats not to say that they don’t use their business email address but in many cases they use their home email address). Yada yada yada don’t spam people!

To get followers
Call them what you want Fans, friends likers whatever the term is (I will use the word follower generically). you get people to follow you in essence subscribing to your information when someone subscribes or likes or comments this is shared to his or her friends and sometimes their friends join you and then their friends see the interaction so it spreads out like a network.

At this point this is where most social media marketing stops. (and we will continue in just a second)

Essential for business
In Business it is essential that you create a database of your customers- and not just their contact details- but their needs and wants, what products they are interested in and as much information as you can possibly get in order to segment them. WHY? because personlised marketing is more effective that generic marketing- sending out offers that target individual needs can be achieved via email marketing but harder to do via social media.

an example: lets say someone goes to McDonald’s and eats a quarter pounder and then likes McDonald Facebook page. McDonald then posts a generic offer on Facebook- buy fries and get free coke- this does not interest the new follower because he liked the quarter pounder- where as email marketing allows you to segment customers more accurately- Mcdonald’s could send out a buy a quarter pounder and get a free whatever via email and get better results.

If you didn’t know:
Facebook having montized their platform means that when you post a new topic it only goes to (at the time of publishing) 10% of your followers- in order to get the message to every follower- you need to pay money)

So how does Social media help grow your database?
You need to create a bridge between your social media and your website and get those people who are your followers to join your database of customers, and this needs to be repeated constantly in order to get your fresh followers to sign up as quickly as possible- the longer you wait for someone to join your database the less chance they will join.

The Database
Simply speaking this can be a web form customers fill out to join your email newsletter, or a survey to fill out to enter a competition, or whatever form will motivate your followers to join your email database (of course you could ask for mailing address and phone number it is up to you)

The problem with social media
The core problem with social media is the low quality of followers it generates- I had the unfortunate opportunity to see a 18 year old cousins facebook page “likes” and their are over 400 of them and she would never interact with any of them. People simply click a button to like something with no real care or thought to the topic- so it is important to separate the tire kicker followers from the real customer followers

Creating the bridge
There are many website form creators out there and many email newsletter services out there- You could use mailchimp which is free for up to 2000 subscribers (very good for small business) I myself use a program called interspire email marketer- which allows me full control over my database and I can send as many emails as I wish at no cost and create specific segmented databases of my customers, the database is online on a server  but a more secure server with back ups. So now that you have a system in place to create a database you need to move your followers over to your database, as mentioned before this could be a competition, or a discount or whatever would motivate your target market to fill out the form. There are some people on linkedin who automatically put their new connections onto their email database without permission- don’t do this!

The social media generic strategy
Now that you have subscribers coming into your social media- you have a promotion to get people to join your database and then you repeat days, weeks or months later to gather up the new followers. (time depends on how many people join you as a follower) during that time in between database gathering you continue to engage your followers (because they themselves continue to grow their own friends) and get them to comment and engage with your social media page in the hope that it grows your social media followers- you can also run other promotions to increase your followers other than the network. The above is a very brief over view of social media in a very generic way, but in order to benefit fully from social media for your exhibit you need a way to get followers to join your database

 

 

Using Social Media to help promote your trade show exhibit

Exhibiting at a tradeshow provides you with many possibilities including:

  • Promoting your participation at the show to followers, inviting them to come along
  • Getting your followers free access to the tradeshow by having a competition or promotion for them to fill out (doubling as topping up your database)
  • 1 time exhibit offers with a time delay- “fill out the short survey to gain an exclusive expo discount on services or whatever special offer you want to give”
  • Gets your followers engaged with your page hopefully gaining more followers in the process
  • (remember for Business to consumer shows there is a high probability that your followers have friends who are interested in the same thing- so by getting 1 follower to interact, this is good because chances are their friends are interested in your business as well)
  • Business to business shows are a bit harder, and some extreme niche B2B services don’t benefit as well (such as my services- how many social media friends do you have that are in a position to hire my tradeshow services? from my experience- Far less than B2C services.

Pre Show

 

During the show

 

When you take leads, you will also want to know what social media the customers is using, you will also want to update what is going on at the expo with photos and video and posts to keep the engagement going online and possibly pick up new followers

Remember important points:

  • Capture video and photo evidence of your first days of the show – show happy customers
  • Post to your own wall
  • post to the organisers wall as well with an offer
  • Thank the organisers for feel good relationship (even if the show is no good)- you are doing it to get the organisers to comment
  • Remember to create the bridge with your social media to increase your database

The more comments your articles and postings get the more importance people will will think of it- as they scan down the latest messages if 1 message has 16 comments and all others have 3, they will gravitate to the posting with the larger amount of comments

Post show

 

You now have new business leads, who are apart of your business database- it is essential that you get that database to become social media followers for the simple reason it expands your social media page to all their friends and followers

 

In closing

You have 2 lists that are constantly growing and receding

  1. Social media list
  2. Customer Business database (segmented to a variety of different sub lists)

Remember to

  • You need to convert social media followers into customer business databases for easier communication and marketing and selling
  • You need to convert your Customer business database to social media followers, so that your business spreads through all their friends/followers
  • You need to constantly create opportunities for social media followers to join your customer business database (depends on how many followers you get per day/week/month as to how many opportunities you wish to create
  • It is far easier to get satisfied customers to join your social media page

 What video to use in post show social media postings

 Small business help

Now that you have your database you will want to send emails to this database- By using mail chimp or Interspire you can set up a number of auto responders that send out emails periodically to your subscriber list without you having to do anything (other than the initial setting up of each email)

with interspire you can send emails also with dates in mind, so if you know their birthday you can send an email on their birthday or 2 weeks before a set date or 1 month)

 

In your emails you will also want to include your social media links, just in case you have customers that are not following you on your social media (so it spreads to their friends)

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