You’re most likely already using LinkedIn to connect with business professionals. But if you’re not leveraging the rapidly growing site to promote your upcoming trade shows, you’re missing out on a powerful piece of the marketing puzzle. Here are 10 ways you should be using LinkedIn to promote your next trade show exhibit.
1. Update Your Company Profile. You should be doing this throughout the year, but leading up to a trade show it as good of time as any. Update your images, add additional information about product and services in your exhibit booth and post any job openings you may have.
2. Build Your Contact List. New people are joining LinkedIn every day. Search for colleagues, clients, and prospects who are on LinkedIn that you may not have connected with yet.
3. Join the Trade Show’s LinkedIn Group. But don’t stop there.Participate in conversations, post links to helpful information and even pose questions of your own to start additional conversations. This is an effective way to showcase yourself and your company as a thought leader in the industry.
4. Join or Create a LinkedIn Event. RSVP to the trade show if it has been listed in LinkedIn Events. Connect with others who have RSVP’d and develop relationships by following them on Twitter and visiting their websites or blogs. You can also create you own LinkedIn Event to highlight your exhibit and invite your connections to attend.
5. View Expected Attendee Profiles. This is a great way to become familiar with guests prior to the trade show and may even help you break the ice when you do meet them. You may have a connection in common or maybe they posted an achievement you can congratulate them on.
6. Send Customized Messages. You don’t have to wait until the day of the trade show to get the conversation started. Send customized messages to let them know you will be attending the trade show and hope you have the chance to meet them in person. Make sure to personally invite them to stop by your exhibit booth and say hello.
7. Set Up Meetings. In addition to just sending a message orasking attendees to stop by your exhibit booth, you can also use LinkedIn to set up meetings with them before, during or after the trade show.
8. Join Industry Related Groups. Expand your contacts beyond your circle by joining industry-related groups on LinkedIn. Again, be more than just an observer. Take part in the conversation to make the most out of these groups and you’ll make better connections.
9. Link to Your Other Social Media Channels. Unlike Twitter and other social media outlets, most people don’t compulsively check their LinkedIn messages. So make sure to use your LinkedIn page to link to your other social media profiles. Invite your connections to follow you on Twitter, “friend” you on Facebook etc.
10. Follow-up After the Show. Make sure to follow up with existing connections and add new connections you met after the trade show is over. Post photos of the event and thank those who stopped by your booth.
The upcoming Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, coming up May 4-7, is a great time to get started with these tips! But don’t let your LinkedIn momentum slow down when the trade show is over. Share links to helpful industry information, links to new product information and/or your blog.
If you post updates regularly and continue to participate in the conversation, you’re more likely to keep your company “top of mind” throughout the year.