By Lucy Hunt

Using social media to get the most out of trade shows is much more than just using Facebook or Twitter to tell people where you’re going to be and when. Guest blogger Lucy Hunt tells us how to get creative! 

There are three phases to a trade show – the run up, the event and the follow up. Make sure you make yourself visible to other businesses by blogging about the expo in the run up – and provide links to the organiser’s website. Follow other relevant accounts on Twitter – if you’re a wholesale furniture company, find other wholesale furniture companies, the stores who buy from you, the event organiser and so on. Make sure you follow their followers too! Set up an events page on Facebook and use it to generate interest for your appearance. Use the #eventname hashtag on Twitter to connect with attendees and let them know what you’re doing. You could even use QR codes so that people can connect to your site and find out more.

During the event upload photographs to sites like Flickr and Tumblr to show people what’s going on at your booth, and keep this going throughout the show. Use your Youtube channel to upload video of your view of the event. Help attendees by making your booth a Foursquare check-in location so that they can easily find each other – and you! You could also have closed loop wi-fi at your booth to encourage visitors to stay a while.

Afterwards, make sure you follow up with people you’ve connected with at the show. This is such an important step, miss it at your peril! If you don’t keep up with the people you’ve met you won’t have gained much – if anything – from all your hard work. Use their tweets or Facebook posts to you about the event in your post-show blog entries – let people know you’ve been listening to them! Set up a Facebook page to recap the events of the show – ask people their thoughts, impressions.

A couple of points to finish with – using all these tools is great, but make sure the quality of your conversation with businesses and clients is of a high standard. It’s no good connecting with people if you have nothing to say! Lastly, make sure all your company social networks are integrated so those who follow you on one can easily connect with you on another.

Written by Lucy Hunt a keen business and technology blogger writing on behalf of Hill Interiors, wholesale furniture & gift suppliers.