What’s your plan for promoting your next business event? Do you have one? Most businesses don’t know what to do, and that leads them down a dangerous path. Guessing your way through marketing is expensive. Here’s how to create trade show success the social media way.

Using Facebook To Set Up Your Event:

If most of your prospects are local, then a Facebook event is an excellent idea. Set up the event, and invite all of your fans to it. While you’re at it, go ahead and invite your personal connections to the event. The more people (and subsequently the more buzz) you can generate before the event, the better.

Since a lot of people spend a significant portion of their day on Facebook, it’s an excellent medium for advertising the fact that you’ll be at the trade show.

Using Facebook Ads:

Facebook ads let you target specific demographics which means that you can attract more people to your Facebook event for a small chunk of change. If you’re marketing to consumers, this will be a major advertising method for you.

Blog About The Show:

If you don’t have an active blog, create one and start blogging about your trade show event. Tell people about your booth, what you’ll be offering, any specials at the show, demos, free offers or samples and any other reason why people should show up to see you.

For example, if you’re an ice cream shop, and you’re giving away free ice cream, consider using this ice cream packaging so that people will walk around with your ice cream brand, effectively advertising your company. Yeah, it’s a free sample, and you should advertise that, but you’ll also be effectively recruiting people to show off your product.

Use LinkedIn:

LinkedIn can be a powerful lead generation tool, but only if you’re already plugged into a community. LinkedIn’s groups are usually full of business owners and entrepreneurs who are interested in discussing ideas. If you’re already in with a community, you could advertise your trade show, and ask people to stop by and bring a friend.

How To Tweet Your Event:

While you’re at the event, consider live tweets so that you can entice people to show up who may be at the show, but haven’t heard of you or seen you there yet. You might even be able to convince people to come to the event if your booth has become really popular – it’s called “social proof.”

Create Case Studies Out Of Your Experiences:

When the event is over, most businesses consider it the end of the event. Wrong. The event experience can be a case study in how to (or how not to) do trade shows. Blog about your experience after the fact, what you saw working, what you saw not working, and metrics you can pass along to other people inside and outside your industry.

This is an excellent opportunity to learn something for your next trade show too.