7 Tips for Using Twitter at Trade Shows
We attend lots of trade shows — sometimes for ourselves, and other times on behalf of our clients. As we prepare to attend the National Restaurant Association (NRA) show in Chicago this coming weekend, we thought we’d share how easy it is to make Twitter work for you at any trade show or event.
Trade shows are tough.
You’re there for the very purpose of making connections, yet everyone is staring at their phones the whole time. It’s like they are tapped into some world you’re not a part of. If only you were one of those social media whizzes who just knew how to work this stuff.
But guess what? Twitter isn’t rocket science, even if you don’t consider yourself to be tech savvy, and it’s an amazing way for introverts to work a room.
Getting started is easy — all you have to do is download the Twitter app and make an account.
Here are 7 Twitter tips to help you get more out of your next event:
1. Remember: Twitter is your friend.
Not all social media channels are appropriate all the time, but using Twitter at trade shows and other events is a no-brainer — it’s quick, easy, and hashtag friendly. Twitter is the perfect platform for frequent posting in short bursts — “live tweeting” 15 times during a keynote speech? Totally acceptable. And you may have as rapt an audience as the speaker. You’ll be surprised.
Twitter is the best social media channel to use at events
2. Establish your point of view.
Think of Twitter as a party — there are all these conversations going and you can join any one of them. Your goal is to get others to listen to you, engage with you, and then encourage others to listen and engage with you.
You don’t do this by photographing your lunch (unless you’re Kanye). You get people interested in what you have to say by having a point of view. It doesn’t matter whether that means you always highlight the humor or you’re a thought leader on waffles, having a point of view helps people decide if they want to engage with you.
3. Use hashtags.
Why? Because #hashtags are what help you get found in the right conversation. If you type #WhatsaHashtag into Google, you get 8,920 results — and they are all the indexed conversations on social channels. (This is the part where you try and stop yourself from Googling random phrases preceded by the hash, or pound sign.)
A hashtag ensures your content is added to the right conversation
4. Follow hashtags.
If you’re at an event, type the event’s hashtag (#NRA2016) into your browser to see what people are saying. Ideally, you will have the Twitter app (Twitter is, generally speaking, the most used social channel at events because of the live, minute-to-minute nature of it) and follow the hashtag and all the conversations going on within it. By watching the conversation unfold, you can add your unique point of view.
Using hashtags helps you follow the conversation
5. Say something.
It can be really difficult to push that first Tweet. I got some great advice once from @meeterica, one of the biggest Twitter personalities in Minneapolis. She said, “I just think of it like I’m taking notes for myself.” And it works! Her tweets are always interesting — partly because she’s funny and excited about life, and also because she’s capturing the stuff that interests her. She’s authentic to herself, which gives her a great (and very versatile!) point of view.
If you don’t do something, nothing will happen
6. Think of others.
Don’t forget in all of this that you do have an audience, however small it may start out. Don’t paralyze yourself trying to please everyone, but do ensure that you’re putting out something that is entertaining, useful, or will help them do their jobs better.
If it’s not entertaining, useful, or helpful, reconsider
7. A picture is worth more than 140 characters.
Last but not least, including photos in your tweets will definitely make your content more interesting. But sometimes you can’t, particularly if you’re live-tweeting a speaker or other long event. If you’re tweeting as fast as you take notes, don’t slow yourself down with a picture. If not, consider a photo.
Photos help make your content more interesting
Jumping into the Twitter-sphere is only as difficult as installing the app on your smartphone.
Once you jump into using Twitter at trade shows and other events, you’re going to gain followers; you’re going to have a record of events and impressions; and you’re going to participate in conversations you couldn’t have offline.
Best of all, those benefits will carry forward well past the show.
About the Author: Tanya Korpi Macleod is the founder of Minneapolis-based Macleod & Co. After more than 25 years of marketing and advertising experience in the U.S. and Europe, Tanya noticed the chasm that often exists between an organization’s theoretical marketing “plan” and its realistic ability to execute it. This led her to pioneer in the concept of “holistic marketing,” which redefines marketing as the complete process of bringing a product, service or company from inception to maximum ongoing profitability. Her mission is to show organizational leaders that a holistic mindset not only promotes a healthier culture, but a more profitable business.