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7 Ways to Boost Your Social Media Impact at the National Restaurant Association Show

If you’re planning on exhibiting at the 2019 National Restaurant Association (NRA) show in Chicago, Illinois, chances are you know social media needs to be a part of your booth strategy — everyone else is so you probably should, too, right?

Yes, most of us will ramp up our social media presence at the show, but if you’re doing so with no plan or understanding of how to make your postings more impactful, you might as well tack a flyer to the neighborhood bulletin board along with the thousands of leftover high school mowing services and guitar lesson adverts.

Here are seven tips that will lead to more views, engagement — and perhaps even visitors at your booth.

  1. Collaborate with other booths: What’s bigger than one channel’s total number of viewers? TWO channels’ total number of viewers. Seek out a partner also exhibiting at the show and see if you can create some cross promotional content. Doing so and tagging each company in the post, while your partner does the same on their social channels, will mean you’ve added an entirely new audience to your impression count.
  2. Live stream from your booth: Never tried going live? What better time to give it a try? Grab an expert or two from your booth, put some questions together for them and go live on anyone of the social channels that allow it. Try doing this around lunch time or mid-afternoon when visitors might be taking a break from walking around and are checking their phones.
  3. Use the right @s and hashtags: Yes, the hashtag that you thought of to promote your business or product is great and really creative. Unfortunately, if no one knows your hashtag or isn’t familiar with your business, they’ll have a hard time finding you through your tag, unless you’re a major sponsor and have plastered your hashtag all over show promotional material. Instead (or in addition to), be sure to use the tags that are popular with the show. This year you’ll want to use:
    • @NatlRestShow
    • #100YearsofWow
    • #KIAwards
    • #NRAShow19
  4. Write a pre-NRA show blog: Much like this pre-NRA blog, you’ll want a way to prep your audience prior to the show. Use this opportunity to inform your readers how they can find you, what hashtags they should follow and how they can contact you on social media during the show.
  5. Identify your booth reps in posts: Let your audience know who is at the booth. Get pictures of your sales people, corporate chefs, or anyone else of importance at the show and make sure you point them out so show-goers who are also following along on social media know who to look for.
  6. Show your audience your booth: Show off your booth and your products with images. Let your audience know what to look for in order to find you. Get a shot of the banner above your booth or a prominent tower — anything that stands out and says, “We’re over here!” You could also do a video of a booth walk through. This way, if they don’t make it to you, they got to experience what you had to offer at the show anyway.
  7. Post more: How many times were you planning to post to social media while at the show? Once a day? Twice maybe? Whatever you were planning, double it. There is so much being posted during the show that your one or two Twitter posts will be lost so quickly in the mess of NRA hashtags that they’ll never be seen. You stand a better chance of earning engagements on top of impressions if you get a couple more posts out there — two per day at a minimum, but three would be great. Following the show, go back to your regularly scheduled posting.

Knowing that social media is a must during the NRA show is one thing, knowing how to use social media at the NRA show can be a total game changer. Looking for more advice on how to make your trip to Chicago more successful? Check out these 4-last minute tradeshow tips.

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