In Part 1, I covered the pre-game and preps, so if you didn’t read that yet, check it out and then come back here.
Once you’re in the belly of the beast, at the show, what’s next?
During the show
You made it a point to show up, now announce your presence. You’re now boots on the ground and ready to mingle and conduct business. Post something on your outlet of choice and let folks know you’re in the building. Whether it’s at a specific booth, landmark, food vendor or main entrance, be findable. They won’t set an appointment if they don’t know you’re there. Blast it. Tell peeps who you are and what you’re there for. You’ll get traction, I promise. Don’t be too “salesly;” it smacks of effort and bad vibes. People and businesses want to interact with humans, not sales bots. Read the room and gauge the audience, then make the personal connection with the soft touches. The business dynamic follows every time. Be personable, be human. Build and cultivate that genuine rapport, then transactions happen from a place of familiarity and trust.
But first, make your presence known and be easy to locate.
You did it. You did the stuff and spent the money. Kudos. Now reinforce that connection with a solid follow-through. If you shook a hand or snagged a business card, follow up! Reiterate that it was awesome meeting them at the show, include details specific to the interaction that again proves you’re not a robot, and ask questions or deliver the info you said you would. Don’t flake. There are 9,000 people in the room; if you don’t follow through, stand out and deliver on expectations, you shouldn’t bother coming. Remind them who you are and why they should be opening/reading that text, email, DM or answering that call. Yes, post a picture of you with them and tag them.
“Social content during and after the event enables you to build upon pre-show momentum. You can provide interactive content, reveal additional product details, and demonstrate how products operate in real time from the show floor.” -Crista Tekstra, CRL
What Not to Do
Don’t suitcase/hijack, meaning don’t insert your product or service in the comments on other competitor posts. It’s tacky and dangerous. It doesn’t look good and does damage to your brand. Create your own content or engage with others’ posts in authentic ways.
Don’t hate. Throwing shade on a public forum debases, discredits and delegitimizes you and your business, character and intention. People are adept and will know if they shouldn’t do business with you or them; the more attention you bring to it salts your game. You’re better than that.
Don’t plagiarize and don’t be hacky. You should try to establish your own voice. Authenticity is the key, but don’t get too hung up on building a personal brand. Many will disagree with that sentiment on personal brands, but if done sloppily it comes off as performative and disingenuous. Be yourself and don’t get shackled to a role you think you’re supposed to play all the time.
Similarly, don’t get hung up on trying to be an influencer. Be authentic and use your own voice to communicate clear messaging about the things you know. Be yourself and communicate your value and perspective genuinely. Sometimes it’s easy to try too hard to force an agenda or slap on a broader theme to basic, rote stuff. Not everything is mind-melting indicative of business trends, company values or cosmic universals. Don’t force it.
“I have a firm policy of never disparaging competitors. I also believe ‘you are your brand,’ so I always consider that what I post will reflect on me and potentially others.” – Syndi Sim, DFI
“Don’t take shots at your competition. Promote what good you are doing or what your event has in store, it’s about you and stay positive!” -Max Perilstein, Sole Source Consultants
“Don’t post promotional or salesy content every day. There are times and places to sell on social, but NO ONE logs on to be sold to.” -Benji Bolick, Assa Abloy Opening Solutions
“Definitely don’t spam the message box. Never start randomly shooting off unsolicited value propositions to potential clients you’ve never talked to before. Even if someone has the perfect solution I need, I immediately delete the message if I get blindsided with a copy/paste generic direct message without knowing them or have a track record of engagement. I want to build authentic, meaningful business relationships, not get blasted with random, tacky money grabs.” - Keith Daubmann, MY Shower Door
What You Should Do
Do share content that is relatable, informative and actionable. Ask yourself: “does this post benefit others, or is it stroking my ego and/or flexing?” People love seeing projects and processes they can relate to. Puppy and family pics are like catnip, but use them sparingly. People like seeing pictures of things they identify with and can relate to: could be a solution, a pain point, or just a project beauty pic. Just make sure you give context and that it’s relevant.
Do cite your sources and tag/attribute accordingly and selectively. Whether it’s a project scope or photography credit, give credit where it’s due. This clues people and companies into what you’re promoting in the best ways and gives proper nods to those involved. Proceed with caution though: too many tags or hashtags will stunt your performance in the algorithm/rankings (which determines who sees what and when). Too many posts, too many tags, too many hashtags will sabotage your game. Randomly tagging uninvolved people/companies is goofy and clunky, too, and will bury your post.
Do post quality over quantity. I see a lot of poor performers get married to the idea of frequency, posting bland content for the sake of posting daily, opposed to prioritizing quality content when it arrives organically. Don’t thin your own soup. Push the stuff that matters and is relatable.
“I believe in daily interaction with your followers and networking to share their content. Having a strategy or niche that allows you to create fresh content, differentiate yourself, and become a thought leader are great ways to utilize the benefits of social media.” -Syndi Sim, DFI
“Tag people wherever you can; that extends the reach. Give credit to your partners and share that spotlight!” -Max Perilstein, Sole Source Consultants
“Always remain disciplined at utilizing each platform for what it’s best at. Some platforms allow you to share detailed information about products and technology, others are better at attracting new talent to the company. Don’t try to fit a square peg into a round hole.” -Crista Tekstra, CRL
Rage on and use the tools available to you. It sounds trite, but social media is indeed a double-edge sword. It can do both good things and damaging things, depending on how you play the game and wield said sword. See you on the interwebs (and at GlassBuild)!