Our perspective at VantagePoint

Social media and trade shows | 4 ways to paint your brand's picture

For many B2B companies, trade shows play a big role in their sales and marketing plans. An interested audience concentrated in one place and plied with giveaways, educational sessions and entertainment — what’s not to love?

But just showing up isn’t enough. Making the most of any trade show involves a lot of moving parts, from booth design to staffing, advertising, promotions, email marketing and — we come to the point of this post — social media.

Social media is a great tool for letting your followers know that you’ll be at a trade show, where to find you once they’re there, what products or services you’re featuring and more. By using hashtags or handles associated with the event, you can also broaden your reach to other audiences actively looking for content about the show.

As with almost anything in the social media realm today, images are often key to getting those messages to the broadest possible audience, and many companies create and share show-themed graphics in both pre- and at-show social media posts. And most of these fall into one of four categories, laid out below with examples from several recent industry trade shows.

Product-driven

Many images used in conjunction with trade shows are focused primarily on the exhibitor’s products, either as a whole or by focusing on one featured product. Graphics in this category should be straightforward but compelling, with punchy messages or vibrant graphics to catch the eye.

Including too much text, however, can lead to disengagement and a failure by viewers to digest the information.

Brand- or message-focused

Rather than picking out a specific product, these graphics tend to focus on the company’s overall brand or a specific message (like “sustainability”) that they want to convey to viewers.

The potential risk with this approach is that the message can get lost in the medium, and viewers may not realize what you do or who you are.

Location-focused

Some companies choose to focus on the location of the trade show, highlighting the destination city in order to emphasize their participation — or perhaps lure on-the-fence customers to join them there.

A well designed graphic of this style can be visually appealing, but be careful not to use this approach as an easy way out of not investing in good quality imagery for your company’s social media presence.

“I made this on Canva”

Canva and similar tools can be great resources for creating simple graphics, whether you don’t have the support of a professional graphic designer or there’s not enough capacity to support myriad trade show needs throughout the year. Professionally designed templates help your images look professional and still offer the opportunity to customize with your company logo or product image.

Even when taking the do-it-yourself route, maintain a professional brand image by using high-quality components.

If you want to create some social media graphics for your next trade show but aren’t sure which category is best, consider the following:

  • What is your message(s) for the show? Do you want to push a new product launch or tout a particular feature? Do you want to grow your brand recognition? Start with the message, and the medium quickly becomes clear.
  • What creative resources do you have? If you’ve got a team or even an individual with professional tools and capabilities, enlist them to help brainstorm the best approach and help create the final product.
  • What do your audiences tend to respond to? Review your social media history and see what kinds of things tend to catch the eye of your most valued audiences. Lots of words? Bright pictures? Try to meet your audiences where they’re at for the best possible engagement.

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