Natural Products Expo West 2019 is around the corner. Brands out there attending: Do you have a social media strategy in place? TradeshowGuy Tim Patterson, who helps exhibitors create successful tradshow experiences, has a few tips for how you can use social media both before and during the show to maximize the reach, and consumer relationships, you go home with.
Perhaps the most important thing, for Patterson, is to have some kind of plan, whatever that may look like. “So much of it is kind of haphazard,” he said. “Knowing what you’re going to do when you go into it is probably one of the most critical things.”
Before the show
Tease new products, if you’ve got them. That doesn’t mean spilling everything, but building anticipation for product launches is important. And make sure people know your booth number. Include it in your messaging as much as possible.
Before and during the show
Find people who are not direct competitors to tag-team with. Promote their booth or a demo they’re doing; have them do the same.
Find the right hashtags. People really do use them. Twitter is probably most immediate, followed by Instagram.
Consider creating a landing page specifically for Expo. You can post your schedule for things like speakers and demos, you can get people to register on the site and figure out other ways to channel interest in the show. Patterson saw one company, Digimarc, do this particularly well, and the blog post he wrote about it is one of the more heavily visited pages on his blog.
Contests and giveaways are always good ways to draw people in. If you can put a unique twist on it, said Patterson, even better. Figure out if you have people on staff who are really creative or clever, and brainstorm innovative ways to engage people in the giveaway—and to get their information, for follow up later, whenever possible.
During the show
Track metrics as best you can, but metrics are “not the end-all-be-all." This stuff is all archived. If you use the right search terms and hashtags, etc., people will find it weeks and months after the fact.
Videos are another evergreen tool—and they can really be worth the effort because you can use them during the show and long after. Patterson’s advice: “Videos have to be fun and watchable, and they have to be short. And show that you’re having fun. Show the culture of your company. People like doing business with people they like.”
That brings us to Patterson’s last piece of advice: Have fun. “Experiment. If something works, great—figure out why it worked. If something didn’t work, try something else, keep experimenting and figure out why it didn’t work.”