This is a guest post from Mike McGrail. He is the owner of Velocity Digital, he likes scotch and leather-bound books, and you can follow his ramblings on Twitter. He also resides on Google Plus.

While the digital world develops every day into a even more powerful force, it can be easy to forget about the real-life, tangible activities that many marketers still take part in and benefit from. One such activity is attending consumer shows, and while the digital realm has expanded, this tradition has not slowed down.

Set in huge exhibition halls, with hundreds or even thousands of stands with eager people wanting to attract your attention, these can be a very hard place to create a splash. But using the real-time nature of Twitter can help you increase your chances of show success.

Do Some Work in Advance

Let’s use a fictitious company called “Mousey” to illustrate a few points. Mousey, we’ll say, creates super-high performance computer mice for gaming. Its customers are serious gamers — we’re talking sit up all night, repetitive-strain injury types of people.

Mousey is attending a massive gaming show, and it’s launching a new mouse on the first day. Its representatives want to make sure that the super-gamers who’ll be visiting the show know the brand is there and of course, come and visit their stand.

Mousey’s obvious first step is to use Twitter to search for gamers discussing the show. Most shows and conferences have hashtags — that would be a natural place to start! Search for people using the tag, follow them, and — if appropriate — say hello and that you’d love to meet them somewhere on site.

Even better, give them a sneak-peek of what they might expect from a visit to your stand. Will you be handing out some awesome swag? Take it to another level and use Vine to offer a really quick video snippet to wet their appetites. If you can, give the top gaming influencers a little preview of the new product that they can demo at the show. All of this activity can help to build a bit of pre-show buzz around your business and your stand.

Stay Active at Your Stand

If your stand is busy, it can be tough to find time to do anything other than talk to attendees and sell your products. However, you should try to find time to be active on social media during show times. This can be as simple as tweeting pictures and videos of your stand, fans, your representatives, or even other exhibitors that pop by to say hello.

Include the show hashtag in those tweets to gain eyeball time from attendees. Doing these things shows potential fans on Twitter that you’re engaging with people and that they can expect to be welcomed at your stand. If you have a conversation with somebody, ask if he or she is on Twitter, take his or her username and then give that person a shout-out on Twitter later that day.

In other words, make people feel special. Many exhibitors are now taking along a colleague whose sole purpose is to update social media and take photos and videos while the show rolls on.

While the show is in full swing, it’s also a good idea to dip into the Twitter chatter and pull out any interesting nuggets of information — perhaps times of talks — and share them via your twitter account. As before, don’t forget the show hashtag! By doing this you’re providing valuable information to attendees and showing your enthusiasm for being there.

Be Spontaneous

If things are slow at the stand, it can be like watching paint dry. Of course, if other people see your stand is desperately void of attendees, it could give off a bad impression.

When things get slow, you need to do something to get people back in front of you! So let’s go back to Mousey. Gamers love pizza (it’s a stereotype but lets run with it). So Mousey could order some pizza to be delivered to the show, take pictures of it, and tweet it out.

Better yet, what do gamers love to do? They love to game. Mousey could start a gaming competition at the stand using the latest Mousey product. Attract participants via Twitter, and let them know the the winner will earn said product.

Do you have any other tips to share? Please do so in the comments section below.

[Image credit: makerbot, Pop Culture Geek]