Leveraging Social Media for Trade Show Success! – Part 1: Before the Event


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.

  • LinkedIn Groups:

    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.

    • Who’s Speaking?

      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.

2 responses to “Leveraging Social Media for Trade Show Success! – Part 1: Before the Event”

  1. I like the idea of breaking social media for trade shows down into before, during and after. But I still think that beyond figuring out who’s going to be there and what your goals are, the real opportunity of social media at trade shows and events happens during and after the show.

    A couple of shows like SXSW and Le Web have introduced social sign in on their websites using tools like Janrain and Gigya which essentially allow you to cross reference the registered attendee list against your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter contacts which is hugely useful, since it saves ton of time with respect to figuring out who you know that’s registered to attend.

    During the trade show is a great time to build your online contact base. Just monitor the trade show hashtag in tool like Hootsuite or Google Reader and put everyone who uses it during the show on a list. When you’re done you have an entirely self-identified list of your industry’s social media enthusiasts, and you can use that after the show to introduce timely news quicker by feeding to them first. Remember, these as your vocal, outspoken proponents. Give them the news first and they’re more likely to share it than if they hear about it when everyone else does.

    A lot of great content is shared and trade shows and conferences. And most of it never travels beyond the show floor. If you can record it, search optimize it and upload to the social web, you can extend its reach globally and build your profile as a thought leader at the same time. Tools like SlideShare and Scribd let you do that with PowerPoint decks, the de facto visual aid at all conferences. Yet once the presentation has been delivered, the PowerPoint lies dormant on thspeakers hard drive. Why not share THAT on the social web? PowerPoint if the B2B visual aid of choice. Dumb it down, upload it the social web wher eit can sell itself.

    You can also use share audio and video. You used to need to hire a crew. Now all you need is an iPhone. Free services like Ustream and SoundCloud let you record and share audio online from a smart phone for free. You can even add meta data to search optimize your shares and embed them on your destination website to drive traffic whe your best prepared to convert.

    I put together an online, self-paced training on social media for trade shows if you’re interested based on a one-day intensive I was hired to lead at the Event Marketer Smmit in Chicago last year. The course is all live action video with motiographics so you won’t fall asleep through it, like so many of the online trainings that are out there. As a courtesy, here’s a free pass (regularly $99) to sign up for it and take it for free anytime, anywhere, on any device.


    I you’re interested in discussing how we might work together in the future, I’m @ericschwartzman

    All the best!

    • Erica Braley says:

      Hi Eric,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read our post and provide your comments. All the tips you mentioned are incredibly helpful. We agree with the points you make, especially monitoring the show or conference’s hashtags and adding those tweeting about it to a list.

      Thanks again for your tips and suggestions.

      The TTG Team

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