Instagram has evolved beyond the casual, entertaining social media platform it once was to become a powerful business and marketing tool. The social network’s massive reach, estimated at more than 800 million users monthly, and visually based foundation make it a natural for tradeshow exhibit marketing.
Here’s how you can use Instagram as an exhibitor to drive more tradeshow booth traffic and sales from event participation.
Create Exhibit Interest and Anticipation
Before the show: Beginning a month or so before the tradeshow, upload exhibit and product-related images to your Instagram page. Then, add new photos every few days.
Post "sneak peak" pictures of any new products you will be introducing at the exhibition. Upload images of promotional giveaways that will be available, contests you will be staging in your display area (and the prizes), and pictures of other items that will help create excitement among prospects and current customers.
Add a location map that shows where the tradeshow will be held, along with area points of interest. You may also want to post photos of staff members and senior management who will be at your tradeshow booth.
The week before the show, post a layout of the tradeshow floor and where your exhibit will be located. Snap photos of staff business cards, which show cell phone numbers and other contact information, so people can easily get in touch with your booth team before, during and after the exhibition.
During the Tradeshow: Take a picture of your booth number and location in the exhibit hall to let people know where they can find you. Throughout each day, post new photos and short videos recorded on your Apple or Android device. Feature product demonstrations, photos with booth visitors, display signage and images, live streaming events, contest winners, and other activities in your exhibit to draw a crowd.
The key is to use images and videos that make people feel a part of the tradeshow and your exhibit. Through your imagery, make the visual experience look engaging, fun and benefit-oriented for prospects.
Consider all ways you can use Instagram to motivate people to come by your display area and learn about your offerings, meet your team, and be a part of the exhibit experience.
Create Context for Your Photos - Use Captions Effectively
For each photo and video you post, add a caption that will
resonate with potential buyers and clients. Keep descriptions brief and include helpful information that describes the post. Captions should be written in a
friendly tone. Refrain from using hard-selling, promotional copy. As
appropriate, provide a link or contact for more information in select captions.
Take advantage of Instagram’s geo-tag feature and
identify your location on each photo you post. For instance, you can indicate your
location as "Las Vegas Convention Center, Booth 37" or similar, if you choose.
Get Found on Instagram
In each of your captions, include hashtags so your posts can be
easily found and tracked. Always include the event hashtag (example: #widgetconference)
so your post will come up in all event-related Instagram searches. In addition,
include your company hashtag, industry hashtag and other appropriate hashtags that
will help people discover your posts on Instagram. For more information on how to use hashtags,
click here: Instagram Hashtags.
Additionally, network on Instagram and use relevant keywords to search for individuals, companies and industry organizations to "follow" – and who will often follow you in turn. Commenting on images posted by others can help grow your Instagram network of followers.
Target current customers and prospects by posting an Instagram invitation and link on your other social media platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Your organization's database of accounts and potential buyers represents another excellent source for Instagram engagement. Send a personalized email inviting these individuals to follow you on Instagram. You may also provide links to your other social media accounts, as well.
To further promote your Instagram presence, include your Instagram link and/or account information on your website, as well as on other digital properties and offline promotional materials so people you are engaged with can easily find you.
Other Imperatives to Success on Instagram
The quality of the pictures and videos you post is imperative. Pay attention to photo:
Resist using filters that alter or stylize your photos. Ensure that
all posts you use on Instagram for exhibit marketing reflect your brand image.
Remember that using Instagram for exhibit marketing should be just one component of an overall promotional strategy. A well-planned approach that integrates marketing methods – including website promotion, offline advertising, other social media engagement, and direct prospect contact – will help ensure you get the most from exhibiting.
For more on tradeshow marketing strategies, click here: Effective Exhibit Promotion.
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