Four Tips for a Successful Trade Show (Hint: Use Social Media)

Awesome Trade ShowIt is a social media world out there, but it’s also important to make connections IRL (In Real Life). For many, handshakes and eye contact are necessary for building trust and creating a strong client base. Trade Shows are one of the best ways to network and create relationships in person, and are still a critical part of a successful B2B or B2C marketing campaign. Trade shows give you the chance to market your products to the vendors and consumers who can truly make a difference to your bottom line. Trade shows that include a social media plan can spread that relationship building from real life to digital. If you’re planning to attend a trade show, here are four things to keep in mind.

Network

Most exhibitors focus on marketing to the attendees of a trade show, but don’t forget to network with the other vendors as well. Does the business owner in the booth next to you have shelf space in his shop that you can use at a discount? Does the person behind you have a complimentary product? Can you partner together for referrals? Arrive early, set up your booth quickly, and network with the other exhibitors before the crowds arrive.

Pay Attention to the Booth Experience

Forbes narrows down a successful performance at a trade show to one thing: the booth. You will be surrounded by booths that are full of interactive, multimedia equipment and expensive furnishings. However, you don’t need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to compete with these flashy displays. A portable banner stand displays your logo and a business description to anyone who walks by your booth. These stands are an effective and professional alternative to more expensive designs.

Entice attendees to cross the threshold with giveaways or fun activities in your booth. Once you have them, make sure that you keep them. You need your most articulate sales team on hand, as they are just as critical as having the right decorations. Your sales team needs to simultaneously convince every single person who enters your booth that they need your product while also appearing low key and not pushy.

Find the Right Show

Virtually anyone can put on a trade show. Before handing your hard earned money over to a random show producer, investigate the options. Is the show affiliated with a professional organization? What was last year’s attendance? How will the show benefit you? If the show producer can’t answer those questions satisfactorily, you shouldn’t buy a booth.

Use Social Media Strategically

Trade shows may be as old school as an ancient marketplace, but there’s no reason to ignore modern technology while you are there. Business marketing analyst Scott Monty explains that social media should be an integral part of your trade show plan. Use your social media accounts to build awareness and excitement around the show. Plug giveaways and convince your followers that they need to visit your booth. Before the show, find out if there is an official hashtag and begin participating. Also, create your own hashtag to promote your contest or your conversations and include it as well.

If you have a strong following on these networks, you may even be able to trade some marketing in exchange for a reduced booth fee or a complimentary sponsorship. Partnering with the show producer in mutually beneficial ways can be a critical part of trade show success.

What are your tips for a successful trade show? Let me know in the comments.

Contributed by Terrance Perez

Terrance is a motivational speaker and community activist. He loves to blog about local issues.

Facebook Celebrates 10 Years By Giving Users “A Look Back”

Photo courtesy of The Icing On Our Cake

Photo courtesy of The Icing On Our Cake

In celebration of it’s 10th birthday, Facebook has rolled out “A Look Back,” a personalized video of your timeline’s most shared moments.  It’s a lot like the “year in review” tool it offers at the end of each year, only it’s a compilation of your entire time on the platform.

Reflecting back on these 10 years, Facebook has changed the way we interact and has shaped our culture in ways none of us imagined.  With 1.2 billion monthly active users, the platform has helped us connect, reunited us with childhood friends, allowed us a place to grieve over lost loved ones, given rise to a new form of marketing, turned “friend” into a verb and given countless of us social media strategists a satisfying career.

What’s next for Facebook? In a post on Mark Zuckerberg’s Timeline he says:

Today, social networks are mostly about sharing moments. In the next decade, they’ll also help you answer questions and solve complex problems.”

Thanks Facebook – here’s to you! Get your personalized video at Facebook: A Look Back.

Grief and Social Media: Why Facebook is Not Going Away

Philip Seymour Hoffman tribute

Philip Seymour Hoffman tribute – Fairport High School hill

Yesterday the world lost an amazing actor, a Hollywood star and a talent beyond measure. We watched as reporters spread the news that yes, Philip Seymour Hoffman  succumbed to his addiction and died from a drug overdose in his New York City apartment. The world grieved. I didn’t learn about his death on the news though. I learned about it on Facebook.

Philip Seymour Hoffman Yearbook

Philip Seymour Hoffman 1967-2014

Almost immediately my newsfeed blew up – photos, articles, tributes, questions all pouring into the feed, overshadowing the Superbowl.  My feed was full of the official announcements on CNN, PBS, NPR, CBS like most everyone’s. But it wasn’t those articles dominating my feed.

It was my high school friends sharing the news.

See, Phil and I were classmates at Fairport High School. And it was Facebook that brought many of those classmates back into my life, most recently for our 25th class reunion, but even before that, back in 2007 when Facebook started opening up to high schools. It was then that many of us jumped in and reconnected. Hundreds of classmates, separated by time, distance and the business of our lives. It was Facebook that reconnected us.

And it was on Facebook yesterday where we shared our grief and our memories. Immediately, yearbook photos started to surface. Little league, wrestling, drama club, graduation, prom. His sister, also a classmate, requested we set up a tribute page for him to share memories and condolences. My friend did just that and the page Remembering Philip Seymour Hoffman now serves as a place where we can connect and remember. We all share memories of, not only our high school classmate, but of that feeling we had when we saw him on the big screen and said to ourselves “hey – I KNOW that guy!” Seeing someone you went to school with winning an Oscar, acting along side Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, well, for most of us – IS a mission impossible. And he did it. And we all felt like we were somehow a little part of it.

So we grieve and remember together on that Facebook page and in our own feeds. The world lost an award winning actor, and we lost a childhood friend.

Even as I write this, I can hear CNN reporting on his death. But I also hear the Facebook notifications coming in as my friends, my Facebook friends, continue to share their memories. I suspect we will continue to grieve there long after the news media has lost interest. This tragic event will bring us closer together.

It was this, his performance in our high school version of Death of a Salesman – that many of us remember the most. It is seared in my memory. It was like we all knew that day, as Phil portrayed Willy Loman, that something vastly larger than ourselves was there. We were mesmerized.

“I’m gonna show you and everybody else that Willy Loman did not die in vain. He had a good dream. It’s the only dream you can have – to come out number-one man. He fought it out here, and this is where I’m gonna win it for him.”  Arthur Miller – Death of a Salesman – Act 2

RIP Phil. Thanks for bringing us all closer to the stars.

death of a salesman yearbook

Death of a Salesman – Fairport High School 1985

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