The biggest trade show in the natural products world is almost here! Social media has become increasingly important over the past five years at Expo West. With over 80,000 attendees and 3,500+ exhibitors, this year is expected to be one of the biggest yet. It is in your best interest to cut through the noise and not only be active on the show floor, but also active online in the coming weeks and days before the show. The time to act is now!
1) Engage with influencers before the show
Are you looking to connect with social media influencers, press, freelancers, and podcasters on the show floor? The best way to do this is to start your outreach now. New Hope Network recently published their list of Top 100 Responsible Health & Wellness Influencers for 2020. This is a great place to start. If you see an influencer on this list who you think would be a good fit for your brand, send them a note and set up a time to meet at your booth.
These folks get booked up quickly, so the time to reach out is now. When you meet with influencers at the show, be prepared to share any new hot up and coming products with them. If you can take the time to introduce influencers to your founder or CEO, it can go a long way. Influencers often have many items to cart around at the show, so plan to give them a small takeaway during your meeting. Get their address and follow up by mailing product to them, after the show is over.
2) Follow and engage with the #ExpoWest hashtag
There is a lot of Expo West chatter happening on social media before the show. It’s time to be a part of the conversation! Check Twitter regularly for the #ExpoWest hashtag and #ExpoWest2020 hashtag. Influencers will also put the Expo West hashtag in their title or bio on Twitter so you can easily find them (see image below).
You can also monitor and follow these same hashtags on Instagram, too. When you post your own content on social media, make sure you are using these hashtags as well so your posts can be discoverable, too. It is also recommended to like and comment on other’s posts to actively engage in the chatter before, during, and after the show.
3) Display your social media handles prominently at your booth
Make sure your social media handles are displayed on your booth signage so they can easily be seen by all. If you are reading this and panicking because your social media handles were not incorporated into your booth design, take a deep breath.
You can also print a sign and put it in an acrylic holder or picture frame and display on your table. Instagram has a name tag feature that you can place on a flyer with relevant information and attendees can follow you right on the spot. If you can offer a giveaway for those who visit your booth that is always a great incentive as well.
4) Incorporate “Insta-worthy” content into your booth
We live in a day and age where we now need to think about visual aesthetics and Instagram when it comes to booth design. While it may be too late to do this for Expo West, it’s something to keep in mind for Expo East and next year. Take note of booths this year and how they design their backdrops to be “Insta-worthy.” Some great examples from last year include Zevia and their neon “Live Your Best” sign and This Saves Lives and their gorgeous floral wall next to a swing. The perfect photo backdrop!
5) Be friendly
Create Shareworthy Offers or Content. Everyone you meet at Expo West presents an opportunity. Make sure to scan everyone's badge who comes out to your booth and be on the lookout for anyone with a badge that says "Influencer," “Freelancer” or “Press.” These are the folks who may write about your brand, so give them something to talk about!
Encourage others visiting your booth to feature you in their Instagram feed post or story. Offer a prize or giveaway. An example of this would be having everyone who posts during the show enter a raffle to win a prize pack. Make the prize substantial so it is worth posting about. Tie in a social good component and donate to a charity.
You can also offer to take photos of folks as they visit your booth. This makes it much easier to share content, especially if someone is browsing the show floor solo. Last year, several brands teamed up to do a scavenger hunt at the show. This is also a creative and clever way to drive foot traffic to your booth and collaborate with other like-minded brands.
Social media can be a great way to drive traffic to your booth at the show when used properly. By taking a proactive approach before the show, you are allowing yourself the opportunity to meet as many people as you possibly can. During the show you can assign someone to “real-time” social media monitoring who can monitor the show chatter as it’s happening in real-time and drive traffic to your booth and quickly respond to photo tags and direct messages.
This is usually someone who is not onsite at Expo West, but able to dedicate his or her undivided attention to reaching out to as many people as possible during the show. It is an investment in time and resources, but one that can make a huge difference in your brand’s visibility during the show.
Lindsay Mauch is the Founder of LTM Digital, a Social Media and Digital Marketing agency focused on health, fitness, sports, and technology. Lindsay has more than fifteen years of online experience with a focus on digital marketing strategy, social media, and product development and has worked for top brands such as MySpace, Fabletics, YogaWorks, Cornerstone OnDemand, Bambo Nature and Transworld Media. She actively teaches courses and workshops on social media and digital marketing both online and offline and is a workshop instructor at General Assembly, a technology trade school with locations worldwide. She is a member of the Forbes Agency Council and Board of Directors for Social Media Club Los Angeles. In her free time, she enjoys surfing, snowboarding, being outdoors and writing about her health and fitness journey on her blog, Fit & Awesome. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, their two young daughters and a golden retriever.