Using Tradeshow Twitter Hashtags More Effectively
After hashtags first appeared in 2007, it didn’t take long for hashtags related to specific tradeshows and events to come into widespread use (e.g., #exhibitorlive) particularly on Twitter. These hashtags allow all kinds of random show-related chatter to be shared between exhibitors, show management, attendees, as well as people interested, but unable to attend. But it wasn’t until about two years ago that exhibitors and event managers saw the potential of these Twitter hashtag feeds as a way – not just to say “pop by our booth,” or announce an upcoming event – but to deliver powerful brand messages and stories too. If you are one of these people, and want some ideas for using these feeds more effectively, here are some ideas we’ve collected at Art Guild.
First, there’s a misconception that if you tweet you have to tweet a lot. The result is sometimes too much focus on presence rather than on message effectiveness. So a lot of what you see in a show feed is of questionable value to its viewers. This makes people tune out future messages – or worse yet, think less of the company that shared them. So a good rule of thumb is this. Hold tweets to the same standards that you hold messages you put in ads or on your website. If you wouldn’t put the message in either of them, don’t put it in a tweet.
Second, brand relevance is critical. If you are a design company, tweet about design, invite people to see your designs. If you are a digital marketing company, share facts about digital marketing and your products, show examples of your work. Don’t tweet about the beer selection in the hotel bar, don’t send out “Happy St. Patty’s Day” messages (unless your company is Irish), or post photos of Austin Power look-a-likes.
Three, make sure what you tweet is truly interesting and Twitter appropriate. People are on Twitter for “snackable”, timely, useful, fascinating or fun information. Plus, remember you are competing with everyone else out there for the same eyeballs. So before tweeting it, put yourself in your audience’s place and ask yourself, would you want to see your tweet? For instance, do you care if an exhibitor’s booth is “almost set up?” Or do you want to see photos of random people mugging in someone’s booth? Probably not.
Fourth. How do you create tweets that meet all of these requirements on the spur of the moment in the middle of a busy event? You don’t have to. You can pre-plan tweets – like an ad campaign – before the show, and then release them on a preset schedule, mixing in live, spontaneous tweets as you go. As thought starters, here are examples of four different categories of pre-planned Tweets.
The Thought Leader Tweet – Share some weird, surprising factoid about your industry that shows your industry expertise – like this one from an aviation services company.
The Big Brand Story Tweet – Share a powerful fact about your company’s business – ideally something that might surprise people. Like this tweet talking about the same aviation company’s presence worldwide. Note: You might not think much of this particular message, but its dead-on for the show’s audience.
The Cool Invite Tweet – Invite people to see or do something brand related that is unusual and interesting – not just an invitation to stop by. Here’s a sample from a resort management company.
The Brand Relevant Trivia Tweet – People love learning (and sharing) cool pieces of trivia. So find something cool and interesting related to your company or business. Its not hard once you start looking. Then share it. Here’s an example from the same resort management company talking about one of the islands in their portfolio.
So in the end, its about painting a positive portrait of your company, communicating key messages – and doing so in a way that is both brand relevant and medium appropriate. Oh, and one last tip. Use relevant images whenever you can. Happy tweeting.