Nowadays, online and offline meetings are inseparable. Where exhibitions used to be the cornerstone of each and every network, a second cornerstone has emerged: social media. Together they form the ingredients for a successful business network.
Although social media has been around for quite some time, the exhibition industry has not absorbed it as well as other industries yet. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have great marketing tools, but there do not seem to be many exhibitors who have mastered these tools. We have identified the most common reasons what withholds exhibitors from social media integration.
From the exhibitors who do use social media, a frequently used argument is that it doesn't really work for them. In many cases they use social media to occasionally share a photo or video, but these actions are not related to their marketing objectives. The first step is therefore to formulate marketing objectives, and to see whether social media can contribute to achieving these objectives. From that moment on you'll be able to create a social media strategy. Example: If your company is market leader in a particular marketsegment, you can start sharing interesting articles or blogs that really benefit your customers and business relations. By doing this, you create a reliable status, involvement with your network and most importantly: you attract new customers. And to be honest: it isn't that hard.
Exhibitors are often very busy with organizing and planning upcoming events. When this happens, social media often tends to move to the background. However, a social media strategy requires a tight planning, just like any other strategy. Luckily, there are some handy tools to help you scheduling your social media content. Facebook has it's own content planning tool in which you can schedule your Facebook posts from weeks up ahead. If you're looking for a way to manage multiple social channels at the same time, tools like Hootsuite or Buffer are the solution. They allow you to manage all timelines in one overview. Make sure you have a solid basis including photos of the stand, the exhibition team or the preparations around the event. Add an informative description to provide depth into your posts. During the fair, you can add more simple content and shorter posts to keep your followers updated.
Many exhibitors do have their own profile on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, but find it difficult to give substance to a company page. It is true that managing a business page is different from managing a personal profile, but there are also many similarities. A common fallacy is that a business page should only share formal business information. Today, customer decision making is increasingly based on the likeabilty of a brand. With globalization and emerging of markets your product can be bought by plenty of other suppliers, after all. So if you really want to stand out, show the company's personality to the market. Be unique and dare to be different than your competitors. Make sure your customers get to know the people behind te brand by taking pictures of the stand crew, recording a little video with a partner during the exhibition and by writing a message about the biggest success of that particular day. But: start small. Use trial and error to find out what works for your business and what doesn't. Because practice makes perfect, after all.
Do you have any questions about social media during exhibition participations? Or looking for an exhibition social media strategy? Let us know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll take a look together to see how we can help you manage social media during upcoming exhibitions. So that not only your exhibition stand is unique, but also your social media reach.
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