Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.
Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.

January 2012

Survey Says: Social Media Event Marketing – Results

Over the past couple of months one of the the things I’ve dedicated a lot of time to is research. One element of that research was a short survey on, which asked 6 questions related to social media event marketing. The results helped shape the information and tools that you can find at Here’s a quick look the results.

First, a total of 77 people responded to the survey. These came from a small mailing list I have, a few clients I asked to participate and a handful of folks that clicked through from a Tweet.

Question One: Where would you consider your company’s social media event/tradeshow marketing approach to be?

  • Beginning: 46.1%
  • Intermediate: 46.1%
  • Advanced: 7.9%

Question Two: Who performs your company’s social media engagement?

  • In-House: 85.5%
  • Outsourced: 2.6%
  • Combination: 6.6%
  • N/A: 5.3%

Question Three: If you could strengthen one element of your social media engagement in regards to your tradeshow and event marketing, what would it be?

  • Making sure it actually happens at the show: 18.7%
  • Bringing more people to the booth during the show: 26.7%
  • Getting more followers and engagement on Facebook during and after shows: 17.3%
  • Planning and executing social media at shows, period: 24%
  • Other: 13.3%

Some of the “other” answers:

  • we don’t do trade shows yet, but I subscribe b/c I like your content!
  • We are B2B: getting more engagement on Twitter during/after shows
  • None of the above – we’ve found few customers use it as much as its hyped to be used
  • Be able to utilize social media without fear of bringing the federal government down on us – we sell tobacco!
  • Beginning a robust conversation in advance of the Expo, sustaining it through the Expo, and maintaining it in the aftermath.
  • getting permission to try new concepts for social media
  • Not having to use Facebook as it is considered to be family and personal as opposed to professional and business oriented amongst our target customers.
  • Getting my clients to embrace my social media ideas for them and coordinate their social media pages with complimentary technologies like bubble videos
  • It has been difficult in the past to work the show floor and take photos, update FB, tweet, take videos, etc. But we’re working to designate social networking as 1 person’s role at shows from now on
  • Getting more engagement on Twitter before, during and after the show

Question Four: In your opinion, what needs to happen at your company in the next couple of months in regards to your social media event/tradeshow marketing?

  • Getting started and set up: 16.4%
  • We’ve started, but we need to get up to speed: 16.4%
  • Learning more about how to more effectively engage: 59.7%
  • Finding a good company to outsource a lot of the nuts and bolts, strategy and planning: 0%
  • Creating Facebook landing pages to create more engagement: 7.5%
  • Other: 9.7%

“Other” responses:

  • no one who attends tradeshows is willing to commit to social media
  • Keeping people engaged on the page long-term. We capture FaceBook likes at the booth. We give away all of our promotions for the booth on Facebook. So the early engagement is great, but it is the long term that concerns me. How do we build a community.
  • Don’t know!
  • providing our agency more content-blogs-promotions etc.
  • Incorporating more fun videos into the program over the next year.
  • We are working on things, some of the shows we attend are not so big on social media yet, so we’re waiting for them to catch up. We still need to work on better integration with other marketing, website, etc.

Question 5: What is your position at the company in regards to social media engagement?

  • Boss: I tell people what to do: 46.3%
  • Worker Bee: I get involved regularly with our social media: 34.3%
  • Department Head: I help direct traffic
  • Other: 19.4%

“Other” response:

  • Marketing director
  • all of the above. we are a very small company.
  • only one here, so I do it all.
  • One armed paper hanger! The company is the two partners, two part timers, and an on-call tech.
  • Also, I’m an influencer and recommender
  • None, sadly. Too many federal regulations restricting our use of social media (as well as our belief in not marketing to anyone under the age of 21 and how does one restrict that?)

Some things catch my eye from this small survey. First, it appears that most of the respondents are from quite small companies – perhaps fewer than half a dozen people.

Second, it’s obvious that many of the respondents are still trying to figure out what to do with social media, with very few being in the advanced stage.

Third, almost 2/3 (59.4%) are interested in learning about how to use tools and techniques to engage in social media in their event marketing.

Fourth, almost no one actually outsources anything. My hunch is that for these people, it’s either too early in the process to outsource, or it’s too expensive. Or they’re just not interested in it for other reasons.

And fifth, based on a handful of the ‘other’ comments, it appears that many of the businesses and customers that tradeshow marketers are trying to connect with are also struggling with social media, and many are simply not involved. This doesn’t surprise me at all – a recent client of ours really didn’t want anything to so with social media: ‘it’s kid’s stuff’ as they put it, so the marketing directer hired us anyway to do nothing more than social media research – listening to the conversation going on in the blogosphere and Twitter and Facebook. There was a ton of conversation going on there, disproving the notion that it’s just ‘kids’s stuff,’ and we turned up quite a few useful nuggets for him.





Social Media Isn’t All You Gotta Do

(With a wink and a nod to John Lennon...)

As much as I love social media and believe in its effectiveness to reach people and bring them together for a thousand and one purposes, when you’re doing tradeshow marketing, it can’t be your only marketing strategy.

In other words, don’t become too enamored with social media. Use it as another marketing arrow in your quiver.

Continue to use (or enhance your use of) other marketing tactics:

  • show sponsorships
  • direct marketing
  • email marketing
  • partnerships
  • public relations
  • pre-show promotions
  • contests
  • personal invitations
  • in-booth demonstrations
  • seminars and presentations
  • effective follow-up
  • tradeshow staff training
  • (what else can you add?)

Find ways to tie your social media efforts into these other more traditional tradeshow marketing tools. Blog from your booth. Shoot video at the show and post to YouTube and Facebook. Tweet about your in-booth guests, demos and contests to drive traffic. Social media can be quite effective at your tradeshow – but when used in conjunction with other methods, the combination can be deadly – to your competition.

Dealing With Negative Social Media at the Tradeshow

It’s rare, but not unheard of, for social media to backfire at the worst possible time and you’re facing the dreaded scourge of negative social media. Usually the worst possible time is when your company has a majority of its resources on site at a tradeshow. If most of your people are focused on doing demos, interacting with booth visitors and putting out a thousand little fires that seem to ignite during the show, the last thing you want is to have a blow-up on your social media platforms.

For example, let’s say you have a hot new product that is hotter than anticipated. You’ve even run out in the second day of the show and there’s no way you can fulfill demand.

Or maybe one of your employees opened their mouth to the wrong person and left a negative impression, strong enough for them to go out and tweet or post to their Facebook page.

In most cases, the negative comments usually won’t get too far, especially if you promptly respond and openly try to deal with any issues created.

But on occasion, depending on circumstances of the situation, those comments can get out of hand and go viral. So how do you prepare for such an eventuality, even if the odds are slim.

First, be aware – in a real time basis as much as possible – what’s being said about your company and products. This takes vigilance, and often means using some sort of tool that can monitor Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and others. Search for ‘social media monitoring tool’ and you’ll find plenty of good suggestions.

Second, be prepared for anything. Know how to get in front of a bad story. Be ready to respond appropriately – and make sure you respond as quickly as possible. Your Public Relations department should be ready to respond to that 3 AM call, and have the power to do so. Management has got to trust the PR department that they can craft a message that’s appropriate.

Third, don’t DO NOTHING. The worst thing is to sit on a story and wait for all departments to chime in. For instance, if you think that you need a legal opinion before responding to negative comments, chances are the story will entirely get away from you before you know it. Better to get a partial response out instead of no response at all.

Finally, don’t think that you’re immune because you have a product or service or a company that doesn’t lend itself to a firestorm of negativity. It CAN happen, and if you’ve at least talked about it and have some sort of plan in place, chances are you’ll be able to respond when needed.

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Trends in Social Media 2012

The art of prognositcation is alive and well! There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, or bloggers, writers, authors, experts and consultants who bravely try and predict the future.

I’ve tried that a few times, and I’m usually so far off base that I’ve pretty much given up!

However, it’s eye-opening to see what others are predicting as far as trends in social media for the new year.

David Armano at the Harvard Business Review looks at number of areas, including the convergence of how social media will further integrate into ‘real life,’ showing how companies are using social media in almost automatic fashion to help participants post to their social media accounts to share what they’re doing. He elaborates on the Cult of Influence, Social TV, Social Sharing and much more.

Consultant, coach and speaker Jeff Bullas is bullish on the mobility of social media, search socialization, geo-targeting, social commerce and social gaming. Yeah, I know, I’m not into gaming on Facebook (or anywhere else for that matter), but it’s big business – and getting bigger.

Warren Knight agrees that social TV is trending bigger. He believes that social commerce will finally get serious, with reviews and recommendations carrying more weight and significance than ever.

Forbes Magazine’s Haydn Shaughnessy looks at social media from a more international perspective, touching on the growth of the ‘transmitter ecosystem,’ which has broken down barriers to creating online content:

“But another part of the story is that more channels create a larger need for content. Many millions of those people now active online are not, however, content producers. They are sharers and curators.”

Cheryl Burgess looks at 2012 trends and sees that 2/3 of all adult internet users now are using social media. As a result, businesses will increase their migration from social media to social business, trying to figure out along the way how it all works.

And finally, check out this info graphic from Social Commerce Today that looks at the timeline of social media and social commerce, along with some brief predictions for what’s coming in 2012.


Freebies from Social Media Event Marketing U


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