After investing thousands of dollars in your exhibiting program, it’s crucial to drive traffic to your booth. Otherwise, you risk low turnout — kind of like buying food and beverages and hiring entertainment for a big party and having no one show up.
One of the tools you can use to drive exhibit traffic is Twitter. Twitter can help you entice an audience that is interested in your products to engage with you in a face-to-face conversation.
Like all your other pre-, at- and post-show communications, Twitter can help you reach trade show attendees. Many communication tactics are the same whether you’re talking about direct mail, email or Twitter. But the immediacy of Twitter sets it apart from most other channels in that you can speak to your audience in real-time. That’s why Twitter has emerged as the “in-the-moment” social platform for sales and marketing teams.
Most trade shows have a show hashtag, which provides you with a demographically correct contact list. Using the hashtag will enable you to reach the people who are attending (or interested in) the tradeshow and engaged with Twitter. Pretty perfect.
Every pre-show communication should include the Twitter hashtag you’ll be using at the show, whether it’s a hashtag you’re creating specifically for this trade show or one you use routinely. If you’re creating a new hashtag, check to be sure it isn’t already in use. Dual users of the same hashtag confuse their followers, and in some cases the overlap can damage your brand.
It’s good practice to insert multiple hashtags in your tweet, to help target a wider audience. Again, use caution in applying this tactic. Even though #veterinarians is longer than #vets, it is more explicit and means you’re talking to animal doctors and not ex-soldiers. And don’t go overboard. #Everyone #hates #tweets #like #this.
Here are a few Twitter strategies that will help you drive exhibit traffic at your next trade show:
Use Twitter to announce a show special. A time limit creates a sense of urgency and delivers self-selected best prospects.
Example: Come to booth 1234 for 15% off any copier order before 3pm today. XYZ Company #showhashtag
Twitter sweepstakes have been used successfully for years to increase brand awareness or generate buzz around a new product announcement. You can pick winners at random from all the Twitter users who either re-tweet your branded message or who start following you. It’s an easy, hands-off approach.
But if you want to drive traffic to your booth, require that winners receive their prizes in person. Adding a request for a business problem to the entry helps start the sales conversation and drives a more targeted audience to respond. Be ready with a second place prize or a small gift for all participants –- you don’t want potential customers who made the effort to participate to feel annoyed or disappointed that they didn’t win.
Example: First person to tell us their top cloud data problem wins $25 Amazon gift card – XYZ Company Booth 1234 #showhashtag
Special booth activities
Let trade show attendees know about a product demonstration, a new product unveiling event or a celebrity appearance in your booth via Twitter countdown. Use the Twitter handle of your product or celebrity to reach a wider audience. Repeat slightly different versions of these tweets as the event draws near and keep them under 120 characters since you want your tweets to be retweeted. By scheduling a series of tweets prior to the trade show via a social media management system such as Hootsuite, you know they’ll go out no matter how busy you get at the show.
Example: Just four hours until Denzel Washington appears live at booth 1234 XYZ Company #showhashtag @DenzelWN