Jack Cotter, social media expert for Dealerscope and CustomRetailer, helps retailers and manufacturers find the answers to their social media problems.
Follow Jack on Twitter at @JackJCotter
and on Google+ at +Jack Cotter
This could happen to you, young Tweeter. Avoid the mistakes and pitfalls of losing yourself in the show and you could come away with new followers and stronger relationships.
The most important thing is to know your show hashtag - In this case it's #CEDIA12. Using the hashtag expands your reach to users who aren't following you, but are following the show. Searching for the hashtag also helps you filter out the noise from your feed that is unrelated to the event.
Next, you'll want to beef up your Twitter arsenal. I use a combination of the official Twitter app on my phone and Hootsuite. Hootsuite allows you to control multiple accounts without having to log in and out. You can also set up and save a search for the show hashtag.
Another website I use is SocialOomph, which allows me to schedule Tweets to go out during the show. If your booth has a giveaway, and you know what the Tweets will be in advance, you shouldn't be wasting precious show floor time writing and sending those Tweets.
Take pictures as well. Instagram is great for quickly sharing your photos on Twitter and Facebook. You can put all your photos up in a Facebook album after the show is over, and use them in blog posts.
Keep in mind that you're probably Tweeting mostly for the people back home who couldn't attend the event anyway. The other people at the show are running around even more frantically than you are, and your clever Tweet is likely to shoot right down their feed before they even check it.
If you're running a promotion to get people to your booth, make sure you've advertised it well in advance of the show. Saving all your tweets about your booth to send out during the actual show is not going to bring in many people. (We once tried offering cash at the busiest show in the world. The response was practically crickets! For straight CASH!) CEDIA is doing a great job this year by sending out a giveaway list two months before the show.
Twitter is still a great way to keep in touch with other attendees at the show. Make a list of people you haven't met in real life and send them a message to see if you can meet up. Organize a mass Tweetup. You don't have everyone's cell phone number, but you do have Twitter handles.
Putting a face to a screen name is probably the best value you can get from a trade show. You've already set the groundwork by Tweeting throughout the year. Just taking a minute to shake someone's hand will take that relationship to a much higher level.
And that's really what CEDIA is all about to me. People are there to learn and to connect. So don't just wander around aimlessly. Stay connected. And say hi if you see me on the show floor.