I am writing this from the Rosen Center hotel lobby (thank you for free wifi!), after an exhausting but productive week at the American International Motorcycle Expo at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. The agency I work for was tasked with managing Social Media for the event, which meant I was the de facto social media correspondent, content creator and digital engagement point person.
The week went by like a blur, the show was a success and the stack of business cards and stickers I have in my luggage stand testament to the awesome networking that went on at the show. I learned a few things which can be applied to trade/expo shows in general, particularly for people in charge of social media.
Here are 5 TIPS FOR SOCIAL MEDIA CORRESPONDENTS, covering massive trade and expo-type events. Whether it’s AIMExpo, the Natural Food Expo, or Comic Con, here are some practical pieces of advice:
1. Wear comfortable shoes! With about 400,000 square feet to cover, people to meet, presentations to watch and places to be, expect to WALK A LOT! Take breaks too. Your feet will thank you.
2. Use the official event hashtag before the event to promote it, stoke interest and create buzz before, during and after the event.
*This shows a tweet by a magazine editor using the one of two official hashtags. His tweet shows a picture of our Social Media Wall (using TintUp we created a wall that collected posts across various social media.
— Matthew Miles (@CW1Miles) October 17, 2014
3. Bring a Mophie, extra battery or charger. Even better, have a back up camera or device. So much content can be generated over several days. I had to run to Walgreens to buy a charging cable when my iPhone 5 cable broke. (I also located the charging stations and electric outlets on the show floor.)
4. Get Social IRL. Smile and talk to exhibitors, vendors and attendees at the show. Use your social conversations as an opportunity to meet people you’ve engaged with online. Connect with people in real life.
This selfie is a photo of me and two writers I had worked with but hadn’t met in real life until recently!
5. Last but not least, keep the social love going even after the show. Tweet and mention people you met at the show, tag photos, write a follow-up email. Write a recap post about the event and share your post.