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A Guide to Using Social Media at Tradeshows

by David Llewellyn  |  
September 25, 2013

There are many good reasons to attend a tradeshow or exhibition, no matter how big or small your company may be, or whatever the length of time you have been in business.

I work for a tradeshow display company, and in recent years we've seen an increasing number of businesses embrace social media at tradeshows. Outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ can help make the most of the experience, hitting each of what should be your three main targets:

  • Promoting your brand
  • Meeting existing and prospective customers
  • Having fun

(That last point may seem trivial, but taking along your more sociable and outgoing team members will add value to the experience, as well as giving staff a change of scenery and a new and diverse set of challenges to meet.)

Much of the following advice could apply to social media in everyday business, but we find that tradeshows are where up-to-the-second media such as Twitter come into their own, helping make the physical event virtual, and bringing something very localized to a wider—and potentially global—audience.

1. Preparation

One of the key components of using social media at a tradeshow is preparation. Draw up a strategy beforehand, in the weeks building up to the show.

If your business doesn't have a Facebook page or Twitter account, set them up. Begin tweeting about the tradeshow well in advance, and if possible include the official Twitter name or hashtag for the event.

On the subject of hashtags, if possible find out what the official or most common hashtags applicable to the tradeshow will be. Essentially, you don't want to be the only company there using, for example, #NYCExpo, when everybody else is using #ExpoNYC.

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David Llewellyn writes about marketing and social media for Everything Displays tradeshow booths, and lives in Cardiff, in the UK.

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  • by Mike Thimmesch Wed Sep 25, 2013 via web

    Hello David,

    Some excellent tips here, several that are too often overlooked.

    One thing for trade show marketers to remember is that they don't have to start up all those social media accounts just to promote their trade shows. Chances are there is someone else at their company that is already doing social media for them. Those people are hungry for great content to share on their social media accounts, and few things are as newsworthy as that the company will be exhibiting at a show -- especially if they share what new products they will offer, what activities they will host in their booth, what discounts or gifts they will give away, and so on. So trade show marketers can find an internal ally.

    And there is always more to do with social media, and with the integration of your social media and trade shows. I wrote a blog post, The 7 Levels of Social Media for Trade Show Marketers, which outlines the full range of possibilities here: .


  • by Faye Oney Wed Sep 25, 2013 via web

    Great article, and timely for us! We are a B2B company, and attend media conferences and trade shows as an exhibitor. Preparation is key for us. I always look at the session schedule ahead of time and find out what the hashtag is for the conference. The schedule is important, as I try to post a relevant tweet right as attendees are coming out of each session. Our tweets (scheduled ahead of time) typically invite them to our booth to view a demo to show how we can solve their problem related to the topic of the session they just attended. I also use Vine and Instagram in many of the tweets to give prospects a peek at our product.

    Thanks for the tips!

  • by Sarah Bauer Wed Sep 25, 2013 via web

    Great tips! I would add that in those few weeks leading up to the trade show even, you can also prepare by rallying together other attendees on social media, which creates hype and lets you easily connect with these people off and online during the even itself.

  • by Gracious Store Mon Oct 14, 2013 via web

    Trade shows are where people are supposed to network in person with other, why should people in a trade show take to twitter and Facebook to connect with those in the same trade show?

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