Social Media Exhibitionists
No, this isn’t what it sounds like; social media exhibitionist are not shady characters lurking in backrooms with webcams streaming dubious images to the masses. Instead, social exhibitionist are a new breed of marketing professionals transforming trade shows and corporate marketing events into one of the most exciting segments of business networking today. As a social media management firm, the trend is clear; more and more business owners are turning to social media to maximize exposure at trade shows and marketing events both before, during and long after the initial event.
How Popular is Social Media Among Exhibitors?
Very popular! in fact, according to one of the nation’s largest exhibition related magazines, the use of social media for trade show events has increased 90% since 2010. Of course, this will come as no surprise to social media marketing companies; with 8 out of every 10 business owners now turning to social media for at least some portion of their marketing outreach, just under 60% list exhibit marketing as a primary concern with 36% citing event marketing. However, despite the impressive growth exhibited during the past two years, this means that nearly 2 of every 3 small business owners fail to use social media to market special events and a bit more than 4 out of 10 fail to use social media to market major events or trade shows….despite clear evidence that social media marketing provides impressive results for event and exhibit marketing.
Benefits of Social Media Exhibition
Trade shows, event marketing and other exhibits take a great deal of planning and preparation so it’s only natural to leverage the benefits as much as possible. Social media marketing has been found to do exactly that in a very cost effective manner; those small business owners which have used social media report increased brand awareness, enriched interaction and communication with clients and prospective new clients, dramatically increased booth and event attendance, increased coverage by the press/other media…and perhaps most important of all…increased sales!
Areas in Need of Attention
Despite the obvious benefits, a significant number of business owners haven’t yet made full use of the full features available via social media…why? As a social media management firm, the primary reasons include:
1. Lack of time. This observation is supported by a social media marketing survey (pending publication in June by Exhibitor magazine) that found the number one reason for failure to engage in social media for upcoming exhibits and events was lack of time. It’s a common problem but one easily resolved thanks to the availability of social media marketing firms. Many business owners are under a false impression that they must do it all on their own, hire expensive employees or create an entirely new marketing strategy. The reality is much less convoluted. Outsourcing social media marketing makes sense. It allows a company to utilize as much – or as little – outside help as required. Small business owners often find it cost effective to outsource nearly all social media efforts but mid-sized to larger entities also benefit from hiring help when needed. For example, when preparing for a major trade show or other exhibit, a social media marketing firm can help prepare for the eventual surge of interest and other details without the need to make a long term hiring commitment.
2. Lack of resources. Once again, the need to hire specialized services or talent to create a customized campaign is often out of the reach of many small to mid-sized business concerns. But even big business often outsources for exactly this reason; to get the very best talent and technology without long term commitment. Don’t allow lack of resources, skills or technology to hamper the outcome of your next big event; instead, plan ahead by working with a reputable full service social media marketing agency.
3. Lack of tracking and analysis. By far, this is one of the more serious concerns and to date, the social media marketing agencies are partially to blame. Failure to properly track and analyze data has led to the perception that social media sounds good but doesn’t provide sufficient statistics to support the actual claims. That is about to change. New tracking, analysis and data support measures are better equipped to provide more than ample information on the number of users, visitors, and sales both before, during and after the big event.
How to Get Started
If your business is interested in leveraging the power of social media marketing to help increase sales, generate new leads, enhance brand awareness and improve customer relations both before, during and after a big event then it’s time to schedule a talk with your social media management firm. You will need the following to get started…
1. A list of events. Every industry has a list of big events; some which you will probably attend and some that you may be marginally interested in….both can be useful! Select the ones in order of importance to both your specific business and the industry as a whole. Be sure to specify the type of event; trade show, virtual event, national or local etc…
2. Pertinent people, places and products. Next, you will want to highlight pertinent people, places or products that will be featured along with any promotional items or offers to be used. Be sure to specify any limitations that will be put into effect.
3. Specify a target audience. Will the event cater to consumers or professionals and peers? Will you need a PR kit or other add-on campaign created in advance? These are just a few examples of issues to be considered when speaking with your social media management agency about implementing an upcoming campaign.