Trade shows offer an incredible number of benefits for today’s businesses. While online marketing and networking are convenient, there is no substitute for good old fashioned face-to-face interaction. When done right, trade shows create lasting impressions between your brand and others. However, things have quickly changed. We are now facing the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in the postponement or cancellation of hundreds of trade shows and networking events around the world.
While the trade show industry will pick back up eventually, you might be wondering what you can do now to keep your brand fresh and on top of people’s minds. This is a great attitude to have, as you don’t want to take months off from your offline marketing. In fact, with fewer trade shows you may be attending this year, you can reallocate your budget to other marketing channels.
Below are some of the best ways to network online during the coronavirus pandemic.
Make the Effort
The hardest part about networking right now is that all the natural opportunities to meet and strike up a conversation are gone. So, if your primary source of networking was trade shows, you’ll need to be more intentional about your efforts. Fortunately, you have plenty of other ways to connect with people in your industry and stay on top of new trends.
Here are some ideas:
- Join a LinkedIn or Facebook group
- Be more active on social media
- Optimize your social profiles
- Launch a live Q&A session
- Create short videos
Re-establish Old Connections
An easy way to network from your couch is by re-establishing old connections. These could be people you met at a trade show last year, as well as former colleagues, past neighbors and old classmates. Find them on social media and rebuild this connection – it’s a lot easier than starting from scratch. Plus, everyone is impacted by the coronavirus, so it will give you some common ground to connect on.
Join an Online Forum
Even if you don’t like participating in online forums and discussions, this is an unusual time for our world. Find an online forum that aligns with your interests and join in on the discussion. You can expand your network, stay on top of industry trends and position yourself as an authority. With the right approach, it’s possible to stand out and build new relationships that will be beneficial in the long run.
Spark Discussions through Your Content
Now is a great time to create fresh content for your brand. Content is the best tool you have for communicating with your audience, so let them know which trade shows you still plan on attending and what you are doing in the meantime to keep your business thriving.
Also, create content that sparks discussions. Share it to your social media channels and encourage a healthy conversation. This will keep people engaged in your business, even if they can’t see you face to face.
One day, we’ll have the virus under control and business will resume as normal. Until then, we need to be a bit more creative with how we interact with others. If you have extra time on your hands, now is a good time to reassess your trade show goals and ensure your exhibit meets them. Contact IGE and let’s discuss your project!