February 2017

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As a technologically advanced Society we need to leverage the tools that are put in front of us, and what social media does is provides trade show vendors with the opportunity to maximize every moment that they are at the show to gain customers, and increase brand awareness.

Manny Mandrusiak

Manny Mandrusiak,
Executive Director, Q College
and Q Academy

Contributing Editor

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It is time again for the AHR Expo, and over 60,000 people are expected to attend and interact with over 2,000 exhibitors.  What that means for those looking to leverage social media to increase their sales, and brand awareness, is that it is time to get excited.

According to, the average Facebook user has around 338 friends (estimated).  That means if 60,000 people attend the expo then vendors leveraging social media have the potential to reach 20.28 million viewers of their products and services.  If that was not reason enough to come up with a social media strategy for the AHR Expo, then perhaps the following tips will:

Before the Expo

I have no doubt that vendors have already reached out to their clients to see who is attending, so what I like to do the morning of the event is check the event hashtags, and social media feeds, for interesting people or companies. 

Sometimes vendors will get the attendee list, and sometimes it is not until the end of the show.  What I prefer is to do is create my own list of potential people that I want to interact with, or gain as a customer.  What I do is look at the followers of the event on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, and look at what company that they work from and how many followers they have.  Then I’ll look at targeting them to either meet them somewhere on the event floor, connect with them on social media to talk about the event or bring them to my booth to get their opinion on one of my products.
What this does is increase traffic to your booth with people who you have converted to a warm lead (by warm lead I mean someone who I have already broken the ice with), and get these people looking at your social media feeds and site.

I used this technique at a trade show that I attended two years ago, when I was a new vendor.  I hit the social media feeds of the event and created a 20-person contact list, and I hit their profiles.  By doing that I managed to meet 18 of those people and make connections the next day.  Out of that, I sold services to nine of them, so I increased my brand awareness and made money.  Do not dismiss one minute of the AHR show as a minute where you can’t be engaging one of those 60,000 people attending.

During the Expo

If I could use two words to describe what should be done during the show, they are “engage people.”  We live in a society where mobile devices and social media make us people who want “instant gratification.”  We want to see engagement, and we want answers, now.  Facebook Live and Instagram provide vendors with the ability to stream live presentations from their booths to their followers on product demos, or customer reviews.  These video feeds are hugely popular, and people love to attend them.  By making your customers the stars of the event, they will be more than happy to show their brand loyalty by reposting your posts and raving about your products.

When customer’s visit your booth and they give you their names, connect with them on social media and LinkedIn.  This action humanizes your company by showing that as a person working the event, you are a person, and not part of the corporate machine.  By doing this, you let customers get to see your profile and identify with your posts, and builds trust because you remembered who they were.  The time that they spent with you talking about your latest product at the booth was memorable and really leverages a good level of digital customer service. 

Back in the day, I used to love to push out a press release about a new partnership, or product launch while at a trade show.  These days when you are not leveraging Facebook Live or Instagram, there is Snapchat.

Now Snapchat offers users the ability to pay for geofiltered campaigns where someone conducting a campaign draws a geofence around the targeted area.  For example, a trade show arena.  A vendor could produce a series of 10-second videos that are targeted to the specific trade show venue and then blast your message to everyone in the geofence area who has Snapchat with your message.  This is a very powerful way to leverage the fact that your target audience in grouped in a specific area and can receive a message that wants them to move to your booth for a specific reason.  Snapchat is just one of the newest tools that can be leveraged by vendors to create a larger lead generation funnel.

After the Show

contemporary After the show is just as important as during the show.  Everyone who went through your booth is a potential connection on social media and LinkedIn.  These people have already expressed interest in your company’s products and services, and now they need to remain connected to you as a sales rep / marketer. 

LinkedIn connects people on a business level and provides you with the ability to not only remain connected to the people that you met at the trade show but to also gain potential access to passing your messages to their network.  This is a long tail strategy that builds brand awareness and builds a warm client list.

Connecting on Facebook is a little more personal as friending people from a trade show lets them have a look at your profile and personal life.  It works well for long-term clients with whom you have a relationship with because it humanizes a salesperson and solidifies brand integrity.

Connecting on Twitter and Instagram after the show continues to expand a corporate footprint and build a cold customer base that is waiting for more information to become a warm lead.

In Conclusion

I simply love live events and trade shows.  I’m old school and always embrace the opportunity to get face-time with a potential client.  As a technologically advanced Society we need to leverage the tools that are put in front of us, and what social media does is provides trade show vendors with the opportunity to maximize every moment that they are at the show to gain customers, and increase brand awareness.  By leveraging these techniques you’ll be totally bagged by the time the show is over, but the entire point of investing in a trade show is to be able to perform closed loop marketing and equate a dollar value in sales to the investment in the show. 

Have a great show everyone!


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