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The Art of the Social Tradeshow Experience

Tradeshows have become more sophisticated than ever with well-designed booth graphics, strategic sales pieces and a plethora of company swag. From tradeshow apps to QR codes to Twitter and other social media platforms, the opportunities are endless.

Taking your booth, and ultimately your company, beyond the show floor to individuals everywhere is what we at The Cirlot Agency like to call the “social tradeshow experience.”

The Helicopter Association International (HAI) held its HELI-EXPO show and serves as a great example and case study. The show took place last week, Feb. 24th – 27th, in Anaheim, California. Announcing upcoming deadlines and event dates, raising awareness and support of charities, and detailing the benefits of attending are just a few ways that tradeshows like HELI-EXPO use social media to get the word out.

 Quick Facts:

  • The organization has its own Twitter page (@HELIEXPO) and created a hashtag for interested parties to follow conversation (#HAI_EXPO14).
  • They also created a show app that included detailed maps and routes around the show floor, exhibitor and session listings and updates from HAI.
  • On their website,, the show app may be downloaded using a QR Code.

With organizations providing companies more outlets than ever to get social, there is no excuse not to join the conversation. Here are a few helpful hints for creating your own social tradeshow experience.
 5 ways to leverage social media at a tradeshow:
1. Build pre-tradeshow buzz
Start talking … Virtually, of course! It’s really as simple as that. Create a social media strategy that starts a few weeks out and extends throughout the week of the show. Begin by encouraging booth attendance via educating your followers on the tradeshow, exciting announcements, things to be looking forward to, etc.
2. Use the tradeshow’s official Twitter handle and hashtag
This is essentially how you join the conversation. By qualifying your tweets with a hashtag, your company’s tweets will appear when the hashtag is searched. This makes your content easy to find and relevant.
3. Leverage media attending the tradeshow
This applies before, throughout and after the event. Find out what media will be attending. Make sure you are following them. Set up meetings. Follow up by thanking them for stopping by your booth. Retweet any media coverage.
Thales_Media4. Make followers aware of any announcements
A simple announcement will keep tradeshow attendees, as well as those at home, informed of important announcements. Companies should consider using multiple platforms for these announcements, such as Vine, YouTube, etc.Heli-Expo
5. Give followers a behind-the-scenes look into the tradeshow
Using photo-sharing social media platforms such as Twitter, Flickr or Instagram, offers individuals who are unable to attend the tradeshow a look into what’s going on around the show floor.
Using these simple tactics will allow your company to leverage social media at tradeshows, therefore expanding the company’s reach, the benefits it receives from being part of a tradeshow and the media interaction at the event. Maximize your company’s tradeshow experience by making it social.