It’s almost that time of year again – trade show season is upon us. With the end of summer comes the mad dash to get ready for upcoming trade shows. However, preparing for a conference doesn’t have to be a burden. Whether you’re launching a new product or simply exhibiting for your business, we’ve got you covered with five simple tips that will make the most of your trade show experience.
- Build a Promotional Runway
Your participation at the show should start before it begins. Finding ways to participate in the show will increase your company’s exposure and could lead to new business prospects, media coverage and more.
When you register for a show, see what kind of participation opportunities are available to exhibitors. Most trade shows offer opportunities from marketing and sponsorship to media relations, virtual press rooms and panels. These opportunities fill up fast though so it is important to reach out to show coordinators early!
- #Tweet It Out
Social media is one of the easiest ways to engage with conference attendees and coordinators. The best strategy for social media success is to share content on social channels before, during and after the show.
Having a strong social media presence is another tactic that will help your company stand out among other attendees at a trade show. Is there a unique handle or hashtag associated with the show? Use it to start posting about the show on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media channels a few weeks before it starts. Posting before the show provides the chance to schedule meetings, gives attendees information about where your booth is located and establishes you as a prepared and well-informed participant.
Contribute something of value to the social media conversation during the show. Tweet quotes from sessions and tag the speaker, take pictures of your team on the show floor, and engage with other show participants on social media via dedicated show hash tags and handles. After the show, post takeaways and significant lessons learned. This is also a good time to reconnect with leads and continue making new contacts for next year.
- Attend Sessions
Trade shows offer a variety of speakers and educational sessions, but there isn’t always enough time to attend all of them. Being mindful and planning ahead will enable you to maximize the amount of sessions that interest you.
Do your research about who will be speaking at the show. While you should strive to go to as many sessions as possible, keep in mind that you won’t be able to see every speaker and need to prioritize. During the sessions, take notes and capture important quotes and concepts that stand out to share them on social media! If the speaker says something particularly interesting that you’d like to learn more about, approach them after the session and start a dialogue about their presentation. Ultimately, these sessions are for the benefit of the audience, so do as much as you can to be engaged with the content.
- Network, network, network!
One of the most important aspects of a trade show is the networking. It’s all about strengthening current relationships and looking for opportunities to meet new people.
Networking starts as soon as you begin interacting with attendees on social media. Making these connections before the show will make it easier to continue networking once you’re at the show. During the show, make new contacts on the show floor and at educational sessions. Afternoon and evening social events are also fun networking opportunities in a more relaxed setting. Something as simple as a casual conversation can turn into a lucrative new business opportunity, so get those business cards ready for some impromptu networking!
- Share your knowledge
The learning shouldn’t stop just because the show is over. Take what you’ve learned and apply it.
The biggest mistake made after trade shows is forgetting the lessons learned during the conference. Luckily, there are several ways to keep the material relevant after the show:
- Start implementing new concepts around the office, or simply have a conversation with a colleague about your favorite part of the show.
- Review your notes every few weeks to make sure the great information you heard at the show does not get lost.
- Meet up with others who attended the show to talk about what you learned or to just catch up with them.
However you choose to keep the information alive, fully commit to using the content to enrich your life and your company’s productivity.
Trade shows can be overwhelming, but these five basic tips will help you enjoy the conference with no regrets. Have questions about what else you can do to get the most of your upcoming trade show? Drop us a line at email@example.com or tweet at us @silverlinecomms, and we’ll give you the insider scoop!