REV UP Trade Shows with LinkedIn and Twitter
I have learned that the returns I get from my attendance at trade shows, often where Red Sage is an exhibitor, depend greatly on how much effort I put in before, during, and after each show. My top two “Go To” tools that have proven the most useful are LinkedIn and Twitter.
Here are the top six ways I increase my visibility and lead generation at these shows:
1. Research top prospects before the show using company websites and LinkedIn.
Anytime there is a pre-published list of registrants, I take time to research companies and people on the list in order to identify good potential prospects for Red Sage. I learn about a company first on its website, and then I look at the LinkedIn profiles of company contacts who will be at the show to learn more about them. This is helpful for putting a face with a name prior to the show, as well as potentially giving me ideas for conversation starters. For example, if they have won an award, know someone I know, or attended my college, I immediately have a topic I can use to strike up a conversation. If I don’t have access to a list of registrants, I follow the same steps to learn more about the companies that are sponsoring the conference.
2. Connect with prospects on LinkedIn before a conference.
Once I have identified prospects that may be a good fit for Red Sage services, I request to be added as a contact on LinkedIn. I never use the standard invitation text for these invitations. Instead, I create a custom message that tells them I will be at the upcoming conference and hope to have a chance to connect with them in person at that time. I typically also include an invitation to stop by my booth to say hello.
3. Connect with new leads on LinkedIn during the conference.
For any leads I generate at the conference that I did not previously connect to on LinkedIn, I promptly send a contact request within a few hours following our conversation. This helps ensure I stay top of mind, and gives me a way to connect with them in the future.
4. When speaking at conferences, post your presentations on LinkedIn.
I have created a SlideShare account where I post the majority of my presentations from speaking engagements. During a conference where I am speaking, the last slide in my presentation always includes a statement that my presentation can be viewed and downloaded on my LinkedIn page. This encourages people to connect with me, and provides another opportunity to showcase the expertise I shared during my presentation. To learn more about how to post your presentations to LinkedIn with SlideShare, read this great step-by-step article.
5. Actively use Twitter during conferences and include the #ConferenceHashtag.
Most conferences provide a #Hashtag created specifically for that conference. While listening to presentations, I actively tweet about what I am hearing, making sure to include the conference hashtag, as well as @RedSageAL to tag Red Sage. I monitor other tweets that use the hashtag, and try to connect with others who are using Twitter during the conference. This is a great way to start connecting with others and building relationships that can then be moved into direct personal conversations during the breaks and meals.
6. Conduct a creative Twitter campaign during the conference.
I have used Twitter in creative ways to build awareness and buzz around Red Sage while at conferences. One of our more creative product giveaways is a small red car that has our logo on it. In addition to giving away these cars at our booth, I have used Twitter to promote a campaign encouraging other conference attendees to take pictures of the car somewhere creative at the conference, and tweet their photos using #RedSageCar and @RedSageAL to be entered for a chance to win a gift card. This has been hugely popular with both existing customers and prospects, generating leads and laughs while continuing to build our fun and unexpected brand personality. I have seen other companies do similar campaigns with “photo booths” that encourage people to stop by the booth and take fun pictures with props and share their photos on Twitter.
How Do You Use LinkedIn and Twitter at Conferences?
These six steps I take before, during and after each conference I attend greatly increase our visibility as a company while generating more leads. What advice can you add to these suggestions to help others improve the results they get from conferences?