IMS 2011 is only a month away. Many of you are patiently waiting for that moment when your booth is all ready and set up, and your team is excited about conversations with your prospective customers at the show. How can we get the most of our tradeshow participation and make the dialogue with new prospects continue afterwards?

Social media provides an opportunity for continuous customer interaction before, during and after the tradeshows and special events. From generating pre-tradeshow company buzz to anticipation of new product launches, B2B companies can expand the reach of their marketing communication efforts via new media channels.

For a quick start, let’s look at the ways participation in social media channels can add value to your tradeshow marketing and lead generation strategy:

Start conversations with your prospective customers early. Does your company have branded social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other networks? Invite your target audience to join discussions with your team and build up anticipation of what they can expect at the booth. And you can make customer interactions interesting and fun with contests, promotions and polls that are aligned with your marketing communication strategy.

Announce your company news and product launches. Social media is a great way to send out quick updates about company releases, new product and service offerings, and get immediate feedback from your current and prospective customers.

Receive the latest tradeshow updates via IMS 2011 social media channels. Follow #IMS2011 on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIN community to get updates about tradeshow events and activities. You can find and share information from where to stay to product highlights of participating companies, networking opportunities and much more!

Listen to the tradeshow discussions. Real time online conversations about the IMS 2011 are happening now! Stay in the know and join conversations with tradeshow participants via online chats on Twitter, LinkedIN and Facebook.

Missed the tradeshow or unable to attend? You can follow tradeshow footage via news updates, photo and video coverage on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN and other channels by searching for “IMS 2011”.

Staying connected after the show: Create and share tradeshow photos, videos, continue on-line discussions with prospects and partners you met.

Have suggestions for the next tradeshow? Join #ims2012 on Twitter, and share feedback and suggestions for the next year's event.

Wishing everyone a great and productive time at the IMS 2011 show! Look forward to hearing about your experiences in utilizing social media to make your tradeshow participation a continuous success.