2014 marks Terry’s eighth BEA. She has participated in the event as both an attendee and an exhibitor. If you’re going to the May 2014 show, be sure to stop by Booths #2767-2768 to say hi!
By Terry Doherty —
For those of us in the business this month is synonymous with BookExpo America (BEA), “#1 book and author event in the United States.”
BEA is a an incredible experience; but it is also a h-u-g-e commitment of time and resources. Over the years I’ve learned a couple of things about how to make the most of my investment in BookExpo America. Here are three of my go-to tips for exhibitors and attendees.
1. Build Some Buzz
Event sponsors use social. Visit their website and look for the social icons. If you’re on Twitter, follow them on Twitter. If you’re on Facebook, like their Facebook page.
For the short term, you’re going to want to visit their sites every day. Learn about what other people are talking about and join the conversation. When you visit them on social, be sure to take note of any hashtags.
About two to three weeks BEFORE the event opens (in our case BEA), launch a campaign that starts sharing what you’ll be doing. Include the hashtag (Twitter) and tag them (Facebook). That way your posts and tweets show up in the stream that everyone is watching.
HOT TIP: Don’t overdo it. Keep the posts about your booth, your show special, etc, to about 20 percent of posts. When you do post, make sure you vary the way that you talk about your participation.
2. Share in the Moment
Not so long ago we thought it was so cool to take pictures with our digital camera, download them when we got back to the hotel, then post them on Facebook. Now, we can share things as they happen … right from our phone (or tablet).
Since you’ll be using social on the fly, you want to make sure that with one click you’ll get what you need: camera, Twitter App, Facebook App, My Show Planner, you get the idea.
Rather than be “all thumbs” trying to find them, try this:
(a) Clear your home so that it has only the Apps you’ll need / want during the show;
(b) Use one of the secondary screens as the base for your event-related Apps.
HOT TIP: If you don’t use these Apps often, now is the time to sneak in a little practice. Maybe even send some of your building-buzz posts and tweets from your smart device.
3. Keep the Conversation Going
Even in this age of digital everything, there is one old-school item that can’t be beat: the business card. When you get home, be sure to go to the website for each of the businesses / people you met. If they’re on Twitter, start following them; if they have a Facebook link, be sure to “like” (or “friend”) them.
Don’t miss the opportunity to say “thanks” or “nice to meet you” (or something similar), either. They probably get a notification when someone follows them and/or includes a post where they are tagged. Make it easy for them to find and connect with you, too.
HOT TIP: Put your in that collection of apps we talked about above. It is a great way to plan post-event appointments with the folks that you meet.
Whether it is BEA, the Stationary and Gift Show, or IBPA’s Publishing University, social media is an indispensable tool for getting the most from your investment. It does require a little research, but the time is worth it and social can make it oh so easy to achieve your Show Goals.
About the Author: Terry Doherty is a voracious reader with a keen analytical eye and a lifelong passion for writing. Combine a passion for reading and kids, a natural affinity for analysis, and a love of solving puzzles, and you’ve got Terry.
Before becoming a Mom in late 2001, she spent nearly 20 years as a research analyst, supervisor, mentor, trainer, and analytical program manager with the federal government. She has drawn on her acclaimed expertise as a national security analyst in her roles as senior editor and publishing director for an independent house; and mentor for both her consulting business & flourishing literacy nonprofit.