• How to Make the Most of Twitter at Trade Shows

    The operative term in any discussion on social marketing is, “ROI.” How is this activity going to generate revenue for my business?  Despite social media’s continued rise in the public consciousness, questions such as these continue to be raised by skeptical executives.  The 2012 Zeno Digital Readiness Survey found that 43% of B2B companies, “never consider,” their social media reputation in decision-making.

    If this sort of resistance sounds all too familiar, you and your team may need to hit a first-swing home run to sell leadership on commitment to social marketing.  One of the best low-cost, high-reward ways to convince the C-Suite social marketing can drive results is to integrate Twitter into your company’s next trade show appearance.

    According to a recent study of Twitter activity at conferences, “nearly all of the face-to-face attendees used,” the microblogging service.  This is not a minority you want to find yourself in.  If you ignore social at heavily engaged shows, you are not only losing opportunities for connections, but could also damage your reputation as a forward-thinking organization. Let’s take a look at a few ways your marketing team can harness Twitter at an industry event to generate buzz and revenue.

    Pre-Show: It is important that your goals for the event are aligned with your social activities throughout the show.  A lack of synergy between what you are tweeting about and what successes you hope to achieve will limit your team’s effectiveness.

    Many trade shows create an event-specific hashtag well in advance of the event itself. In fact, the first-ever hashtag used on Twitter was for a BarCamp technology, “uconference.”  Searching for tweets with the tag included can be a great way to make first contact with other businesses and individuals attending the show.  For instance, “#CeBIT” has been a very active hashtag since late last year, despite the event not being held for a few more weeks.  The official @CeBIT account tweets hourly, including retweets from attendees promoting products, presentations, and networking engagements.

    During the Show: Once the show is underway, offering insightful, real-time reactions to booths, presentations, etc will be essential.  While tweets do have a 140-character limit, many experts advise a self-imposed 120-character ceiling (don’t forget to use the event hashtag as much as possible!).  This will allow other tweeters room to add their own comments, fostering higher engagement and extending your brand name’s reach.

    Visual content is also highly sharable and effective at trade shows.  Tweet out pictures of your team and booth to make both stick in the minds of your followership.  Don’t be afraid to get creative.  Tweet something along the lines of, “The first five people to find @TeamMemberX (including a photo) will get a free prize pack!” After all, nothing generates trade show buzz like a well-executed giveaway.

    Rob Wilber is a Sales and Marketing consultant at NNC Services. NNC offers marketing consulting services dedicated to B2B IT and services companies. We integrate marketing solutions to guarantee measurable results at sales and communication levels.

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