Recently I conducted a LinkedIn training for a client looking to educate their sales team and a request about leveraging LinkedIn for tradeshows came up. Tradeshows are a great opportunity to utilize LinkedIn, but combined with Twitter you have the perfect formula for the three-pronged approached for tradeshow success: before, during and after. Today we’ll focus on the pre-show preparations.
Before the Tradeshow or Conference
Here are the tips on what to do before you attend any tradeshow or conference and the tools to utilize.
Check to see If the show has a group on LinkedIn. Many shows are doing this to encourage meetings and networking before and after a show. This is a great opportunity to get an idea of what people are excited about seeing at the show and to make plans to meet up with people during the event.
Visit the Event Website:
What Companies are Attending?
Review the website for the show and lookup the companies attending that you’re interested in learning more about. Start to follow these businesses on LinkedIn and Twitter. This will give you an opportunity to see what the company is discussing and points on which you can connect. Knowing what people and firms are up to makes for great in-person conversation starters. Remember, Twitter offers you the opportunity to create lists, both public and private. Create a private list and add the companies attending the show to a stream to follow before the show. This strategy will help you stay focused and organized.
Review speakers you’re interested in and try to connect with them via LinkedIn before the show. Presenters and speakers are often overwhelmed after a show, so connecting before can set you apart. Be sure to send a custom message when you connect explaining who you are and why you are reaching out. In your message, make sure you mention the upcoming show. If the speakers have Twitter handles, then you should add them to your newly created twitter show list as well.
Twitter Show Hashtag:
Before heading to show, find out its designated hashtag (Ex: #nyexpo13). You can follow the stream up to and during the show with greater ease if you know the show tag.
Begin a Dialog:
Prior to an event it is ideal to begin a dialog with companies and presenters you hope to build stronger relationships with at the show. Retweet what is being shared by those you respect and from whom you value content. Provide viable insights of your own on trends and industry topics. And above all, use social media to make meetings and take the dialog offline for the event.
Using LinkedIn and Twitter can be a great way to organize and follow show information, companies, and content. Use it to your advantage prior to any event, but ultimately remember why people go to events – the face to face networking. Need to beef up your social media efforts to prepare for an upcoming tradeshow? Contact us for a free consultation to learn more social media tips and tricks that will lead to tradeshow success.