According to a study on trade fair communication, social media hardly played a role in trade fair success until a few years ago. Today, Facebook channels of trade fairs like Heimtextil are clearly demonstrating that social networks have become indispensable service, advertising and communication platforms for networking with one’s community and make target groups aware of one’s trade fair presence.
For years, Messe Frankfurt has been continuously expanding the social media channels of its trade fairs. The Facebook community of the Heimtextil trade fair, which is one of the largest international trade fairs for home and property textiles with 69,000 visitors and close to 3.000 exhibitors, has over 40,000 fans, for example. The interaction rates are continuously on the rise. Dialogues start here between visitors and exhibitors, service requests are answered, and current topics related to travel and accommodations during the fair are discussed. Social media intensifies the exchange with visitors and represents an important service infrastructure for Messe Frankfurt. Exhibitors should take the opportunity to launch their own social media channels and participate in the interactions on the official Messe Frankfurt pages. Eight points are important in this regard:
1. Content is everything. Images and video clips that convey an impression of the events at the trade fair stand are predestined to be shared on social networks. But tweets or Facebook posts can also link to blogs or current texts.
2. Create a social media editing plan for the trade fair days ahead of time and define who is allowed to post which information. In doing so, you can already place emphasis on content that can be easily divided up – in the best-case scenario, using mobile devices that your employees are using on the trade fair grounds.
3. Synchronize your social media activities with all other marketing efforts, news on the website, newsletter mailing, etc.
4. If you have well networked employees, position them as experts in the social networks.
5. Don’t only use conventional social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, but also business networks like LinkedIn or XING to network with trade fair contacts.
6. Tweet using the official hashtag that Messe Frankfurt uses. In this way, you can reach everyone who is following this hashtag. The Automechanika Twitter channel, for example has over 5,000 followers – which every exhibitor can reach by using the official Automechanika hashtags.
7. Watch in advance who tweets and posts about the show and connect with these users. For example, you can follow the social media accounts of the organizer, other exhibitors, associations and industry experts and participate in ongoing discussions there.
8. Take advantage of the respective platform to create your own groups or events on Facebook, or use Facebook ads to reach those users currently at the trade fair. Only by way of active networking and targeted advertising within the social networks can the full potential of social media be tapped.
For more information about Digital Marketing & Trade Shows also read our articles Online on the hook: digital marketing for optimum trade fair preparation, Where virtual and real world merge: digital marketing at the trade fair stand and the interview Digital marketing at Messe Frankfurt: Personal contact digitally enriched.