Part 1: Getting Started
Going to GlassBuild? Whoot, whoot! (If you’re not, a spoonful of the FOMO sugar helps the medicine go down.) But whether you’re going to GlassBuild (and you should be), or another trade show, take my hand to explore the interwebs and find ways to make it rain as both attendee and exhibitor on the magical mystery tour of social media!
Let’s first call a spade a spade… trade shows are expensive. It’s a sizeable investment to exhibit and a hammer to the piggy bank to attend when accounting for flights, hotels, and time away from the shop or jobsite. But when you factor in the opportunities presented, it’s Mastercard priceless in terms of value to your company and individual career. So, how can we leverage and capitalize on said investment? If we know we’re going, what other juice can we squeeze outta that lemon?
Let’s get social!
First and foremost, take a look at the free tools that exist to compound and maximize the commitment we’ve already made. We can do this through the avenues you’re already scrolling and trolling through (LinkedIn) and disseminate across other channels you or your marketing team are already dabbling in: Twitter (X), YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, etc. While I’ve found success in engagement and prospecting, I decided to open the topic up to others in the industry who have found similar wins in buying/selling/networking on social platforms. Check out what they had to say and take their lead to find your own success.
“Social media has been vital in my networking and strategic sales efforts. If you are consistent, produce engaging content, and are professional, social media is one of the most effective ways to brand yourself, stay relevant, and engage with your industry.” - Syndi Sim, Diamon Fusion International (DFI)
“Social platforms have allowed me (and by extension, my clients) to reach people that I normally wouldn’t be able to connect with. LinkedIn specifically has opened the door for me to get to know people in our industry and develop the network.” – Max Perilstein, Sole Source Communications
“We view social media as a marketplace of ideas. Across all social platforms, we’re able to provide valuable information that supports our broader, lead-generation initiatives. Social media does not live in a vacuum but when used strategically, social content will bring new leads to your door.” - Crista Tekstra, CRL
If you’re reading this, you likely sell to and buy from across North America and beyond. It makes a ton of sense to let people know ahead of time that you’ll be under the same roof, in the same city/state for a few days. This is your chance to meet people face-to-face and you should tell them you’ll be there and what your intentions are. Sometimes that looks like a corporate email blast with a free promo code, other times it’s a direct outreach/ping just to let people know you’ll be in the vicinity for coffee, cocktails or comradery.
If you have product to show, even better! Blast it on social media to let people know you’re going and what solution you have to offer or are seeking. You’ll either connect with people already planning to be there more efficiently when you’re there, or you might sway folks that weren’t planning to be there to show up. Give them a reason and set appointments! Be intentional. Here’s what my friends had to say about it:
“It’s a good idea to get a lay of the land and the players before the event. Review the schedule and note which content you want to capture. Follow the event's official social media accounts and hashtags, speakers, sponsors, and attendees. Engage with their posts to start building connections and familiarity so you can hit the ground running. Spending time with your face in your phone when you are on the conference floor or in a session takes away precious time. You need your wits about you to absorb info and make meaningful connections.” - Lindsey Rowe Parker, Rowe Fenestration
"Start promoting your GlassBuild presence today. Choose one or two key innovations or new products to highlight, and provide a sneak peek before the show. Let your customers know why they need to stop by to see you in Atlanta." – Katy Devlin, Glass Magazine
“Before attending GlassBuild or visiting a booth, let people know who you are. With anything I do to seek out a better or new relationship… first, I must give. Start lubricating the conversation ahead of time, I’ll produce a piece of comment tailored to them and post it to win them over, triggering a reciprocity dynamic. Give something before you start asking for something so your face and name are already known. They’ll sense the sincerity, and the message will land extremely well.” - Keith Daubmann, My Shower Door
“LinkedIn is a powerful connecting tool to do your networking research before an event. I use LinkedIn to create mini dossiers for potential people I’d like to meet up with in real life.” - Benji Bolick, Assa Abloy Opening Solutions
In my next entry I’ll take you through the next steps, when you are at the show and best practices to follow to make the most of all of your efforts.