When you think about industry events, what comes to mind? Maybe they conjure up the feeling of sweaty palms as you try to frantically get as many business cards and pamphlets into participants’ hands as you can. Maybe they make you feel frustrated, as your often overlooked booth gets passed by time and time again.

For many, industry events are a mixed experience that result in far fewer leads and opportunities than they’d hoped. But did you know you don’t have to actually attend these events in order to benefit from them?

Thanks to the public nature of social media, you can identify and engage with people who will be attending upcoming, relevant industry events – without actually schlepping your awkwardly large booth all the way there, printing boxes of glossy pamphlets, or spending often significant amounts of money just to have a presence.

One of the signals that LeadSift picks up on is who will be attending industry events. We use natural language processing to determine who is not only talking about the event, but who will be there – and this is information that you can match with your buyer profiles in order to reach out to qualified new leads.

Consider leading-edge events like Dreamforce, CES and SXSW. Before, during and after the actual events, attendees send signals on social media and other online forums. They tweet about sessions and speakers they’re excited to see, use the event hashtag to organize their thoughts and multimedia, take photos on the day-of, and discuss new ideas in the weeks following.

By combining these signals with the buyer profiles you’ve created, you can equip your sales team with a ream of new leads, perfectly positioned within your industry. These are leads that have expressed a very recent interest in your industry, and you’ll have just as much information about them as if you had attended the event yourself.

By tapping into social signals about industry events, you can see some significant cost savings – no expensive event tickets and booth fees, travel costs, lower productivity from the employees who attend, or costly resource creation. Instead, you can set up meetings with those talking about, and attending, events relevant to your business from the comfort of your office chair.

Of course, it is essential that you continue to target leads with precision, regardless of whether they have been identified as event attendees or not. This means incorporating social signals about events into your profiles, and checking to see if they are a match – after all, not everyone who attends Dreamforce, or CES, or any other event will be interested in your product or service. However, many will be, and you can capture more potential leads through social signals than you can by relying on foot traffic past your booth.