How to Turn Your Home Show into a Photo Op

What kind of viral marketing potential is lurking around contractor booths at home shows? And it’s in pretty much every hand that’s handling a smartphone that draws near your display? Photos shared on social media – actually, a possibility that with a little effort could play well beyond the show.  

Oh, you probably wouldn’t get as many people taking photos at your booth as you would see posted and shared from, say, a Taylor Swift concert. And actually, we’ve got data to back that up.

A research firm collecting data about customers sharing “branded photos” at events found that about half the people attending events such as a concert, sporting event, festivals, auto shows or fundraisers were likely to take and share a photo on their social networks. “Branded” meaning not just a photo, but something that is event-based and that identifies the event. About half the people attending are really into that. 

Home and garden events – venues more common to contractor participation – wouldn’t likely be as popular with the photo-sharing crowd as a championship matchup or celebrity close-up. Even so, the same data showed that about one in five participants took a picture at an event of this sort and shared it to social media.

What creates a sharing frenzy at some events? And what puts a damper on sharing at a home show? It’s not necessarily because the latter event is deemed “not as exciting.” There’s another kind of branding that’s been developing. Big events that generate shared photos make social media a part of the customer experience and event strategy. The selfies and groupies are part of the experience. And you can tap into that strategy too. 

Attendees at a home show might be enticed into taking pictures around the right kind of activity – if they had a call to action to do so. Or you and your colleagues can take photos with permission, share and potentially tag on your social profile. “Happy [name] dropped by our booth at the Home and Garden Expo!” Or “Congratulations to [name], winner of the drawing for a free safety inspection!” 

For overall guidance on increasing “social reach” during your event, think in these terms:

Create memorable experiences. This is why the big venues get shared; they’re memorable. But people remember what happens to them in small venues too. Get creative. Have participants test equipment (putting safety first). Putting people in goggles and hats – good stuff is the family with them is amused. Or have them compete in a home improvement trivia quiz, with prizes awarded. People smile for prizes.

Other ideas? With parents’ permission, get kids to complete a “safety test,” perhaps checking off a ten-point list for home-safety practices – then they get a badge for doing so. By creating opportunities for fun, lighthearted interaction – with prizes or a little silliness – you can develop relationships and get the added bonus of social media engagement. When the photo is posted, it takes your event beyond its own walls.

Provide incentives to share. On their own, people probably won’t think take a photo at your display and share on their profiles. But give them a $20 service discount (or other freebie) for taking and posting a photo – and identifying your event with a hashtag – that increases desire and willingness.

Provide post-event recaps with photos. Remember, the event isn’t over until the photos are posted. Pick out your best shots and share them as you recap your event and thank everyone for coming. Great way to keep people engaged after the event.


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"Getting the Most Out of a Home Show"

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