What was once the new kid on the social media block, Instagram has moved its way up the ranks to become one of the most popular and widely used social networks around.
In fact, it's estimated that Instagram has 300 million active users per month and a whopping 75 million users each day. In case you're wondering, that's a heck-of-a-lot of people.
With stats like that, it's a no-brainer that you should be incorporating Instagram into your trade show marketing tactics immediately.
Here are five easy, fun, and effective ways to capitalize on Instagram for your next trade show.
1. Tell Your Story
Instead of posting an image of your finished trade show booth with some obvious caption like, "Hey, come visit our booth," try depicting your trade show journey from beginning to end by posting images that tell a story.
In other words, show your audience a sneak peak of all your swag items packed up and ready to go, then another image of the swag items all set out at the booth and invite people to come take their pick at a freebie of their choice.
Likewise, consider posting a picture of your team hard at work setting up your booth, then snap another photo of the finished product with your team members all decked out in their uniforms standing proudly in the booth.
Capture images that tell your story so that people feel like they're a part of the experience, rather than just a passer-by seeing your booth and moving on.
2. Hashtag it Up
When posting pictures to Instagram, be sure to include the event's hashtag, your company's name or unique hashtag, and a hashtag that includes the name of the city that the trade show is located.
Other options to consider could be a hashtag that includes your industry's name or keywords (e.g. #tech, #fashion, #electronics, etc.), or maybe even a trending hashtag that is applicable to the show and/or your industry.
The reason for including hashtags in your posts is because they are SEO-friendly, searchable and "trackable" (ROI purposes).
For example, if a user is skimming through their Instagram feed and clicks on the conference's hashtag, all photos containing that hashtag (i.e. your photos) will turn up in the search results as well.
In the end, it's a great way to optimize the photos you post, especially when you're at a trade show.
3. Be a Show-off
No one likes a show-off, unless they're showing off something of value that people care about.
We're going to go ahead and assume that your company offers something of value to customers, so why not show it off?
Isn't that why you're at the trade show in the first place? In order to maximize your efforts, we encourage you to be creative when posting images of your products/services and steer clear of turning your posts into blatant sales pitches.
For instance, people will be much more receptive to an image of trade show attendees trying out your products/services at your booth, rather than a photo of your products/services with a caption that is basically suggesting, "Come visit our booth and give us all your money."
Show off your products/services in a way that makes people want to be a part of the action, not avoid it like the plague.
4. Location, Location, Location
You know the saying, "Build it and they will come"? Well, you can build it, but they (potential customers) won't come unless you show them why they should come and how to get there.
With Instagram, not only can you show your audience why they should come visit your booth through your engaging photos, videos, and captions; but you can also show them how to get there with geo-tagging. Fancy, right?
When uploading a photo, you have the option of including your location. You can even get a little creative with the geo-tagging feature and set your location to be your booth number or some other clever location name that will capture people's attention.
5. Get Reel
The best part of Instagram is that you can post short 15-second videos or photo/video compilations (through third-party apps, like Flipgram) that can be much more engaging than posting a photo.
Going back to the bit about sharing your trade show journey with your audience that we mentioned above, why not post a compilation of your team setting up the booth to capture the hard work and dedication your team is putting into the trade show.
In doing so, your viewers will get to see some behind-the-scenes action that not many companies don't care or think to share, and it also puts a face to your brand and humanizes it, which is always a great way to connect with your audience.
Incorporating Instagram into your overall marketing strategy for your next trade show is as easy as it is fun.
Chances are, your team will be begging for ways to fill the mind-numbing, dull moments during the trade show, so maximize this time and have them get creative with Instagram.
Be sure to go over the do's and don'ts of social media posts with your team as to prevent potentially ill-fated posts from being broadcasted to the world that could damage your company's reputation.
When using Instagram during your next trade show, remember to be creative and, most importantly, have fun!