LinkedIn is the top social media site for professionals.  It has over 690 million users worldwide, and many of those are executives and decision-makers.  Business professionals use it to find relevant content and network with others.  92% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn as part of their marketing strategy so you should be using it to promote your trade show attendance.

Utilising LinkedIn as part of your trade show marketing strategy can bring many benefits.  It will allow you to link up with other businesses and prospects also attending the trade show.  You can create conversations around the show and use it to nurture leads.  You may even get people visiting your stand who have heard about your attendance on LinkedIn.

Using LinkedIn

If you do not yet have a presence on LinkedIn visit www.linkedin.com and set up a business and personal profile.  The website has easy to follow instructions.  Include a professional photo ideally as these are proven to get more clicks.

Now begin to build your contact list by searching for colleagues, clients and prospects who are also on the site, click ‘connect’ when you find them.  This will provide you with a group of people to target with news of your trade show attendance.  To expand your reach further, join industry-related groups, and the group for the trade show if there is one.

Before the Trade Show

Check to see if the trade show is listed under events on LinkedIn.  If it is, RSVP to it and check to see who else has RSVP’d.  Aim to connect with anyone of interest who is also attending – follow them on other social media sites and make contact to see if you can set up meetings at the trade show.  If it isn’t listed you can create an event for it and invite others to attend.

If there is a group for the trade show, join it and participate in discussions.  If there isn’t a group you can ask the trade show organiser to create one.

Check the exhibitor list which you can get from the trade show organiser.  Follow them on LinkedIn and try to connect with directors and marketing personnel.  LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to network virtually with others who may help your business.  Try to arrange meetings at the trade show with those who are of interest.

Promote your participation in the trade show on LinkedIn in the days and weeks leading up to the event.  Tell your contacts what you will be doing at the show, whether you are launching a new product or service, and inform them of any special offers at the show.  Let them know your stand number and roughly where it is.

During the Trade Show

Share images and videos of your stand and the exhibition hall.  Let your contacts know how it is going, what products are proving popular and if you have a special offer, how many people are taking it up.  You can talk about the presentations and seminars at the show and what you found interesting.  Mention what others are launching or offering and any industry developments or innovations that people might find interesting.

After the Trade Show

You will hopefully gather a lot of leads at the trade show.  It’s important to load these onto a CRM system so that you can follow them up.  But as part of your LinkedIn strategy you can also connect with them and follow them on the social media platform.  Share more images of your stand to remind people who you are and where you were at the show.

Posting regular status updates will nurture them and keep you in their minds.  LinkedIn will allow you to easily let all your new contacts what you are up to, any product developments or new offers.  It should help to turn prospects into customers.

Conclusion

LinkedIn is the biggest professional network and is used by executives and decision-makers who look for interesting content and industry developments.  For this reason it should form part of your trade show marketing strategy.  You can connect with others exhibiting or attending the trade show, post information about the show, join in with conversations and show photos and videos of the show.  Afterwards, LinkedIn will help you nurture leads from the show, hopefully turning them into customers.