In-Person Events Are Back: Supercharge Your Tradeshow Presence With Digital Creators

This year kicked off with one of the most prominent technology tradeshows: The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada. With over 135,000 attendees, 2024’s show was the largest CES since the pandemic began.

In-person events are in full effect for 2024. Is your brand ready? Last year alone, 72% of people held more in-person meetings and many of them raised budgets for attending events. With this increased attendance, we’ve seen new PR trends emerge—from an influx in content creators to new social media strategies—so relying on what worked pre-pandemic will no longer cut it.

Here are three tips to revamp your in-person event strategy for 2024 and get the most ROI from these events:

  1. Don’t dismiss content creators. Every year, more and more social media influencers pop up across industries, integrating into the reporter landscape. At CES 2024, TechRadar and the company’s Editor in Chief, Lance Ulanoff, created and shared content of tech innovations featured at the event. This type of in-the-moment video content has the potential to hit a much wider audience than traditional media. Some of TechRadar’s CES TikToks reached over 400K viewers.

If your brand hasn’t yet, now is the time to start collaborating with influencers in your space. It’s no secret: Our attention spans are getting shorter; 30-second videos loaded onto users’ feeds can often be more impactful than a 1,000-word write up on an event. Influencer marketing has the potential to connect with a broader and more engaged audience compared to traditional approaches like email marketing and SEO. It’s time to start exploring influencer relationships, especially around events, as an authentic way to engage with your target audience.

  1. Evaluate social media platforms. Historically, companies head to LinkedIn or X as the go-to platforms to connect with other attendees at a specific conference or tradeshow. But in the past year, we’ve seeing growing TikTok favoritism as some major brands and publications look to replace their X efforts entirely. In fact, the hashtag #CES2024 managed to rack up 8,000+ posts on TikTok in January alone.

Ahead of each tradeshow, search for the event’s hashtag across platforms to determine where conversations are happening—you might be surprised. This allows you to tailor your brand's presence to the platforms where your target audience is most engaged, maximizing your reach and impact. It also increases the likelihood users will hear about your brand, even if they aren’t in attendance.

  1. Maximize your time. Attending a tradeshow means more than just having an approachable booth or speaking slot on the mainstage. While those aspects are important, you should also use the time wisely to coordinate meetings.

Tradeshows typically have a media list of reporters, and now even content creators, who will be attending the event. Take advantage by targeting applicable reporters and creators for in-person meetings, building meaningful relationships and educating them about your brand. But don’t go into these meetings with the expectation that it will result in a feature article or partnership. View them as more casual, informational conversations where media exposure might be an added bonus.

As we dive back into in-person events this year, it's crucial to tailor your event strategy to get the most value from your brand’s efforts. Traditional tactics won't cut it anymore. Consider the value content creators and influencers bring to your brand, rethink your social media game and make the most of every opportunity once you’re there. 2024 is the year in-person events make a comeback—be ready for it.

Julie Solomon is Lead at Next PR.