Social media is used as a marketing tool

Monday, March 21, 2011
Social media is used as a marketing tool to establish a presence and build relationships online with potential customers and maintain existing relationships with customers in a timely and consistent manner. Social media has opened the door to social media marketing (what I like to refer to as interactive media marketing). Interactive media marketing is the method of using social media to draw traffic to your business or face-to-face event. Rather than pushing your message into a potential customer’s space (as traditional marketing does), social media marketing focuses on relationship building and development to attract your target market to learn more about you and your company. 

Social media can be a great tool to use when preparing to exhibit in a trade show for targeting potential customers to come visit you at the show. Before doing that, search both yourself and your company name and see if people are talking about you. Are they mentioning you in passing? It allows companies to get ahead of an angry blog, social media site, or e-mail and handle customer service issues. That little bit of communication can build a rapport online for others to see. It allows people to build personal relationships that may have nothing to do with a company, but that little bit of empathic communication can lead to more business referrals. 

After you have listened for awhile, now try getting involved in communication with groups and to the community you have already built in the social media space. Some great best practices that I would like to share with you: 

1. Offers - What are you offering at the show? Try posting a video online and start building a buzz and tweet about the video to build awareness about your show and educate people about the show. 

2. Tweeting - Be sure to send out tweets of what you are offering and send out “sound bites” of why they would want to visit you at the show. What is in it for them? 

3. Retweets - Post retweets to your Linked In and Facebook pages with driving overall traffic back to the landing page where our videos are. This can create attention for an offer you may have. 

4. Blogging - While at the show blog and use social media while live on the show floor. Ask exhibitors if you can interview them and post online how the show is going or attendees’ comments about your booth and activities. Always get permission first, but you would be surprised how many people love the camera interview. 

5. Facebook - Is your Business Fan Facebook page customized and do you have a tab to set appointments with you at the show? This is a great way to personalize your meetings at a local show or even at a regional or national show if you have your target audience list and can invite people to set appointments with you during the show floor online. 

6. Social Media Branding - Build your brand both on your website and in Facebook and customize your tabs to meet the needs of your audience and make it personal with your brand.  

7. Educational Tips - Do you post tips in your LinkedIn or Facebook pages and use Twitter as a billboard to create awareness for people to visit your tips pages? 

8. Scavenger Hunt - Try creating a Scavenger Hunt like we did here to list exhibitor tips and have visitors look for the hints and go to your website to learn more about you and develop interest. Be sure to have a prize at the end that is valuable for the viewers: http://www.facebook.com/TradeShowExperts?v=app_11007063052 

Are you posting valuable content for readers to be perceived as an expert? If so, they will want more information from you when at the show. 

Social media opens the door for communication with almost anyone. You can reach out to complete strangers, get advice, or even share your advice online to create a following. These conversations are often stored digitally and made available over time for others to read or participate in. Each of us has probably received or given advice but it may be forgotten after a week or so. Now you can connect with others online and save this information indefinitely. The switch to social media marketing allows us to communicate more effectively, efficiently and timely. 

Social media enables users to build relationships in an easier, faster manner. You can also use social media to draw people to face-to-face events such as conferences and trade shows. Many conference attendees “tweet” or mini blog about the event during the presentation, creating chatter and relationships that may be built upon long after the event is over. At EXHIB-IT! , we blog at events and shows and report how the event or trade show is going and work on delivering content that others may want to hear. You can upload a video, images at the show, or interview attendees and post the video and images online and blog about them. Just be sure you have their permission! 

Before you go into the social media environment and start blasting away with information about you, your business and start promoting your product or service, listen first. Get involved n groups and community areas so you can hear what is being said and respond to build your confidence.
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