LinkedIn, especially when combined with Twitter, offers a way to connect with people 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 for the event. Hopefully event organizers have had the foresight to designate a short and unique hashtag. Sometimes there will be multiple hashtags circulating around a single event. You can use Twitter Search to find these hashtags.
When you discover the hashtag for a show, you can start monitoring tweets which include the tag. Then you can also start following people who are using the hashtag. It’s surprising how many brands are engaged in social media but do not bother to reciprocate interest by following an individual who is following the company’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 brand. However, when you are targeting a specific event such as a trade show for the purpose of connecting with them at the show, when you find new people to follow, you should always take a moment to look at their Twitter bio. Limited to 160 characters, Twitter bios are short and sweet and can be read in a few seconds.
Using LinkedIn Events to find trade show prospects
Okay, so how does LinkedIn fit into this, you’re asking? Well, the same diligence and individual attention comes into play in maximizing your presence at a trade show through LinkedIn. One of the most efficient ways to use LinkedIn for trade shows is through the Events feature. Go to the “More” drop down menu, find Events. Then type in the event name or keywords and look for the particular event that corresponds to the date/name of the show you are interested in.