8 Best Ways to Implement Social Media Marketing at Tradeshows

Tradeshows are loud and eventful. Unless, of course, you’re attending the Mindfulness Expo or a show for monks. Highly stimulating events like ASI Orlando, PPAI Expo, ISS Long Beach and Northeast Expo present great opportunities for social media marketers since they are highly relevant, engaging, and visual.

One note of advice, don’t walk onto the show floor willy-nilly, snap a few photos, upload them to your Instagram Story and expect results. The most you’ll get in that scenario are a few likes. To really see an impact, align your social media messages with the rest of your business strategy. Understand your company’s intentions at a tradeshow and plan your campaign around those intentions.

Here are some social media ideas to inspire your upcoming tradeshow campaigns:

1. Hashtag Campaigns

Adding a hashtag before a relevant keyword or phrase on social media helps categorize your posts and boosts the chances of your posts showing up in a search. When running a hashtag campaign, establish the hashtag you want for your brand at the event ahead of time. Make sure the hashtag is on-brand, easy to remember, and shared with employees before the show. If your co-workers are aware of the hashtag campaign, they can assist with your social media efforts during the tradeshow. Use the event hashtag in tandem with your brand hashtag to get more people involved.

2. Tradeshow Social Media Contests

Nothing energizes a group of promo fans like the possibility of free swag. A social media contest is a great way to engage customers both at the show and online. See below for social media tradeshow contest ideas…

    • Engage to Win Contests
      • These contests call on show attendees to vote, comment or like a post in order to enter to win a prize. The post could be a photo of your booth, a new product launch, new services you’re offering, branding changes, etc.
    • Sweepstakes
      • These promotions are based on chance. Contestants enter a raffle and the sponsor picks a winner at random.
    • Photo and Video Contests
      • Show attendees submit a photo or video. The winning photo is chosen based on predetermined conditions that are clearly outlined for contestants to review. For instance, the winning posts can be top voted, receive the most number of shares, likes, or comments, can be chosen by a panel of judges, etc.

3. Tradeshow Social Media Photos

Activity on the show floor is rousing enough to stimulate all five senses. Take advantage of the visual appeal the show floor has to offer. Snap more photos than you think you’ll need. When you think you’ve taken all the pics your wireless network can handle, keep snapping. The more content you collect at the show, the more digital assets you’ll have once the show is over.

You might also want to consider renting a photo booth. Many booths now can connect to the internet, giving customers the ability to snap a photo and immediately upload those pictures to their social media profiles with minimal effort.

4. Capture Educational Moments

Class is in session! Sure people go to expos to make connections and promote new products, but another huge reason to go to a national tradeshow is to catch up on the latest trends and hone your expertise. Sharing newfound knowledge with your fellow followers on social media can position your brand as a trustworthy thought leader in the industry. Offer your customers actionable ideas through Instagram Stories, Live Tweets, and/or Twitter Chats. The immediate nature of all three social mediums makes them ideal for sharing insights.

5. Social Media Banners

These days, most tradeshow attendees carry a smartphone on their person in anticipation of an Instagramable moment. Give them a reason to whip out their cells and engage with your digital brand. Mount social media banners across your booth and make sure those banners have all your major handles prominently displayed so passersby can follow your pages right away.

6. Live Broadcasts

Here’s a social media power move to give your customers a sneak peek at new campaigns in store for 2020. Live is the best way to interact with viewers in real-time and answer any burning questions they may have about the show or new products. A booth tour, product demos, and live interviews with employees or other tradeshow attendees are compelling ways to engage your audience and position yourself as a prominent exhibitor at the show. Many social media platforms offer live capabilities now, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Find steps to getting professional results on your live streams here.

7. Social Media Influencers

If your company works with brand ambassadors and you know those ambassadors are going to be at an upcoming show, connect with them beforehand. Perhaps they could be in your live broadcasts or pose for a photo in front of your booth. Collaborate on a post with influencers and share it on social media during the tradeshow to generate more engagement.

8. Live Twitter Chats

Participate in a Twitter Chat to assert your brand’s role in the industry. The promotional products world has several active digital groups you can join to boost the effectiveness of your social media marketing strategy. #PromoChat, for instance, is a Twitter Chat made up of promotional products leaders. The group meets on PromoKitchen’s Twitter page every Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m. eastern standard time. Once a year at the PPAI Expo #PromoChat is held in-person. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals by engaging both in-person and on Twitter. #PromoChat gatherings are a great way to interact with your audience, boost brand awareness and stay on top of industry trends.

Tradeshows open the door for endless social media opportunities. Use the list above as the inspiration for your next social media initiative. Keep in mind, however, some ideas listed above might not be the right fit for your brand. Adapt and adjust your social media activity to match your brand and goals. If you have more tradeshow marketing ideas that aren’t listed above, share them with other social media enthusiasts in the comments section below.

Remember, alphabroder and Prime Line will be exhibiting throughout the tradeshow season. Visit our booths to check out all the new and favorite products, reconnect with your sales rep, enjoy complimentary cocktail hours and pick up catalogs and samples. Booth numbers are listed below. See you in January!

  • ASI Orlando: January 5 – 6, 2020
    • alphabroder booth #1401
    • Prime Line booth #1400
  • PPAI Expo: January 12 – 16, 2020
    • alphabroder booth #2212
    • Prime Line booth #5817 & 5820
  • ISS Long Beach: January 17 – 19, 2020
    • alphabroder booth #1024
  • Northeast Expo: January 30 – 31, 2020

Find more ways to get the most out of your tradeshow experience HERE.

2 thoughts on “8 Best Ways to Implement Social Media Marketing at Tradeshows”

  1. How are we suppose to compete with EPIC when they sell apparel to anyone cheaper then we buy from ALPHA.

  2. Hi Cari,
    A good article and to explain the importance of using social media to promote your event. Using hashtags is a great way to get discovered and watch as your posts gets seen my many more people!

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