Picture This: 8 Ways Instagram Works for Trade Show Marketing

March 29, 2013

Instagram, a mobile-based, image-sharing platform that allows users to make images more flattering through the use of various filters, is quickly gaining favor with many trade show marketers, exhibitors and attendees. In addition to the retro-ing of photos, the app provides capabilities to #hashtag images, follow other users and share to mainstream social networks such as Facebook, Foursquare, Flickr, Tumblr and Twitter.

Full photo streams can also be shared to the web via sites such as Webstagram or Followgram. How can your event use Instagram to leverage your current social media marketing and grow attendance?

Here are the eight ways I recommend you get started:

1. Make your profile:Choose a profile name that is obvious and as close to your event name as possible so that you are easy to find.

2. Take and filter your photo:Use images to build anticipation for and highlight special event features. Capture pictures of exhibitors setting up their booth, someone having a good laugh during a session or the sunrise on opening day. Try to go beyond traditional trade show photos and maintain the original mobile snapshot spirit of the app. Have fun with the filters and watermark effects to achieve the mood you’re after.

3. #Hashtag, Photo Map and share it up: Use #hashtags relevant to your event and industry in all photo descriptions. Also, create a #hashtag specific to your event that matches your Twitter event #hashtag and use it repeatedly. Include your most commonly used #hashtags in your profile. Instagram also has a new geo-tagging feature called, “Photo Map.” Onsite, you can geo-tag the location and name each spot: “Exhibit Hall Booth #5”, “Hotel Lobby”, “Day 1 Ribbon Cutting” etc. to create a virtual tour of your event.

4. Listen in: The explore button to the right of the home button is your eye to the rest of the Instagram world. Search both users and #hashtags by keywords. For example, if your show is in the pet store and pet products industry, watch “#tradeshow,” “#petindustry,” “#retailsales,” and “#petproducts.” Acknowledge exhibitors and attendees using your event #hashtag.

5. Build your network: Find your industry network through the Explore tab. Find potential exhibiting companies or industry enthusiasts (potential buyers or information aggregators) by searching for keywords within the user category.

6. Like the good stuff: The thought bubble to the right of the camera shows you news related to your photos. This is a great feature for an account managed by multiple people. The following tab shows which images people you follow have liked – a good way to listen to industry chatter and watch for trends.

7. Leverage your current efforts: You’re already doing the work! Use Instagram when taking photos via mobile and share to Twitter, Facebook, etc. from there.

8. Create photo ops:Attendees and exhibitors will take photos at your event. When developing your show look and event layout, try to incorporate an area where participants can take and share photos onsite (especially if photography is strictly forbidden on the show floor).

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Partner Voices

Until recently, the opportunity to have a celebrity attend an event, attach themselves to a name-brand or endorse a certain product or idea was untouchable. The thought of paying a person to promote a product was seen as something only Fortune 500 companies could afford. Social media has changed all that with brands and businesses utilizing celebrity influencers to connect directly with their demographics and increase sales and profits.