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This is the fifth post in a series on getting the most out of your trade show participation (trade show ROI). If you want to subscribe to my blog, you can chose either an RSS feed or an email subscription. Also, comments and input are appreciated!!
If you would have asked me for advice on the business applications of Twitter®, YouTube® and Facebook® a year ago, I would have told you that they were not significant elements of a marketing plan for a medical device company. I WOULD HAVE BEEN VERY VERY WRONG!!! In the past year I have put a lot of time and expense into the study of Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. I will admit that I am new to the subject. However, I am way ahead of most of my peers in medical device marketing…..and that is scary. Few small to medium sized medical device companies have a professional Social Media Manager.
In this post, I do not have time to go into a full-blown discussion of Twitter. I WILL cover the potential use of Twitter as a promotional and service tool related to trade shows. This short post should get you considering adding Twitter as a mainstream strategic and tactical effort.
Why use Twitter to drive trade show activity at your exhibit? For two BIG reasons:
First, the new generation of doctors and their staff are social media users. Many have Twitter on their phone. So, when they are on their way to the trade show or on the show floor….they may be receiving Tweets. If you have built up a Twitter following for your company, Tweets are a great way to get news out to a lot of people. With these Tweets you can remind your followers that there is a special trade show discount for Twitter followers. You can inform them of activities at your exhibit….like an education presentation by a Key Opinion Leader. You can remind them to come see a product that is being launched.
Here is a live example going on right now in Atlanta, Georgia at SECO. SECO is one of the best national optometric trade shows of the year. Haag-Streit USA, an upper tier manufacturer of exam lane equipment and high tech ophthalmic diagnostics is using Twitter regularly during the show. They are enticing their followers to come to the booth with these tweets:
- “LENSTAR is getting a lot of buzz here at #SECO11 booth 341. Come check out the buzz surrounding the optical biometer.”
- “Upgrade your BQ 900 and BM 900 Slit Lamps to LED. Super image quality that lasts a lifetime. #SECO11 booth 341.”
- “CE class on visual field interpretation at 11 a.m. #SECO11, led by Drs, John Warren and Anthony Litwak.”
This is excellent use of Twitter.
Now, here is the second and very powerful reason to use Twitter during tradeshows….Exponential Expansion of Your Tweets. If your Twitter follower likes your Tweet and thinks his followers should see it, he/she can ReTweet(or forward) your Tweet to their followers. Suddenly, another hundred or two hundred people see YOUR original Tweet!! What if 10 of your followers ReTweet to their followers?!?!? Do you get it? And, that is not all! (You can tell I am excited about this because I am using a lot of exclamation points!!) If, one or more of your followers responds to your Tweet…..all of their followers will see the response in the Mentions component of their Twitter account!!
Imagine having just a few of your followers spreading the word for you at a tradeshow. In the near future, I will be looking for metrics on this subject.
I did a quick look at Haag-Streit’s competitors – Carl Zeiss Meditech, Marco, Topcon and Reichert. None use Twitter. As far as I am concerned, Haag-Streit has a competitive advantage. An inexpensive competitive advantage.
NOTE! As you explore Twitter, you will discover that most companies do NOT use it as a promotional tool. Twitter is used to create a conversation with your customers, prospects and followers. Studies and surveys have shown that Twitter users do not want to be hammered with promotions and advertising. They want helpful information. That being said, during trade shows you will be pushing into the promotional. However, at this time, your followers may appreciate being reminded about a price discount promotion. They will definitely want to know about product launches, product upgrades and educational opportunities.
BEWARE! As a medical device company, you have to control what you say on Twitter. You should have some guidelines to be sure that your Tweets are compliant with regulatory issues. This is pretty easy to do.
There is a lot more to the power of Twitter than I have revealed here. Go sign up for a Twitter account of your own…..it is free. Find some companies to follow. Then study the business section of the site. Look at the case studies about Jet Blue and Best Buy. It is convincing.