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Using LinkedIn To Connect With B2B Buyers At Trade Shows
Ann Shea / Skyline Trade Show Tips / October 1, 2013
LinkedIn, especially when combined with Twitter and Google+, offers show presenters and attendees a way to connect with others before, during and after trade shows.
When you plan to attend or exhibit at a trade show, one of the first things you can do is determine whether there is a Twitter hashtag (denoted by a one-word keyword + the pound or # sign prior to the word) for the event. Hopefully event organizers have had the foresight to designate a short and unique hashtag. As an example, one of the largest trades shows every year is the Consumer Electronics Show or CES. The hashtag for recurring annual events is usually some abbreviated version of the event name, plus the year, like this one: #CES2014. Sometimes there will be multiple hashtags circulating around a single event. You can use Twitter Search to find these hashtags. Hashtags have now gone beyond just Twitter. People are using hashtags to label posts in Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Google+.
When you discover the hashtag for a trade show, you can start monitoring tweets and other social media mentions which include the tag. Then you can also start engaging with people who are using the hashtag. It’s often surprising how many companies are engaged in social media but do not bother to reciprocate interest by following an individual who is following the brand’s Twitter stream. There are several free Twitter tools that will allow you to set up your Twitter account to auto-follow people who follow your Twitter account.
Your Company Profile and LinkedIn
To maximize their return on investing in a trade show, most companies communicate a few particulars about their presence at the show through press releases, email campaigns, etc. These digital communiqués are a great place for the company to reference not only the show hashtag, which can get the content discovered, but also to include a link to your company’s LinkedIn page. And on that topic, be sure someone is maintaining your company’s LinkedIn page with frequent updates which add value and include the particulars about event. Check whether your company website’s home page has a link to their LinkedIn company page, as well whether your website features LinkedIn sharing icons. LinkedIn sharing icons can be especially helpful if the company spends time doing content marketing and has a blog. Look for more information on LinkedIn these icons on LinkedIn’s own information for developers under the topic “Share Plugin” and “Build a Company Profile plugin”.
Editor’s note: This is an update to an earlier article Ann Shea wrote in 2011 about using LinkedIn for trade show promotions. LinkedIn has evolved considerably since then, so Ann has found several new ways to leverage the amazing growth and power of LinkedIn.