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

February 2012

Pinterest’s TOS Raises Red Flag

I blogged about the rising start Pinterest just a couple of weeks ago. I was quite enamored (and still am) of the image-board-pinning service for a couple of reasons. First, it’s growing quickly and is getting raves in the blogosphere and press about how its ability to drive traffic outshines some of the more established social media sharing sites. Secondly, it’s an easy-to-use, good-looking site that has tons of possibilities in both sharing and in promoting your own products, blogs and services. The fact that Pinterest has spawned many imitators is a sure sign of its success even as the question remains: can that success be sustained over the long term?

Yet in spite of its ability to drive more web traffic than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined, Pinterest may have a poison pill lurking within its own Terms of Service. Those Terms of Service clearly state that YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL MATERIAL YOU POST. It appears that they’re looking to dodge any legal responsibility for ANY images that their users may post, and instead are shoving those responsibilities onto their users.

A recent article by a photographer who carefully combed through the Terms of Service, which resulted in her cancelling her account and ‘tearfully’ taking down all of her boards, is a caution sign. The article spawned hundreds of comments (it’s a lot to read, but very engaging), and its made me rethink my interest in Pinterest.

Is this a reason to jump ship like Kirsten Kowalski did after carefully reading the TOS and deciding it was too risky for her? I would hesitate to do that, and until you start to see photographers or other creators aggressively going after users who pin work they don’t own, it’s probably a pretty slim chance that you or I will have any problem. But, like Kirsten thought, someone is probably going to be the first to be sued. And once the lawsuits start to fly, the folks who own Pinterest will have to make a choice on how to handle the copyright or they’ll see the site become a web pariah.

At this point, I’m going to leave my Pinterest account in place, but be more careful and thoughtful about what I pin. I may even go through and delete those high-resolution photos that may be under copyright to someone else.

Still, I think Pinterest is a great place to promote your event or tradeshow appearance. I’ve posted photos of client booths and gotten repins and comments, which means it’s generating interest and moving traffic through the web. Next time I’m at a tradeshow (this coming week I’ll be in Las Vegas at Exhibitor and in Anaheim at Expo West), expect to see many photos that I’ve taken uploaded on PInterest. Since I own the copyright and I’m willing to share those copyright rights

So for the future, I’ll look to upload mainly my own content, though by doing so I’m turning the rights over, at least partially, to Pinterest to do with as they choose. It’s the same as Facebook – when you upload a photo to FB, you are giving them rights to use those images basically forever in whatever way they choose.

I’ll also look to source Creative Commons photos from Flickr and give attribution to the photographer. With Flickr, users have the option of choosing various types of copyright. Many choose to share those images as long as they receive credit.

I doubt this will finish PInterest. But once word spreads – and if a legally aggressive creative-type takes a Pinterest user to court – they may find themselves facing a big hit to their current growth.

Kindle Tradeshow Books for You

Last year I updated and converted two of my e-books to sell them on the Kindle platform as an experiment. I was curious to see if they would be well-received in that arena, plus I had never published anything on Kindle and it made sense to give it a try. After all, the two books, “101 Rules of Tradeshow Marketing” and “The QR Code Tradeshow Marketing Guide” had hundreds of downloads over the span of a couple of years.

I wouldn’t say converting them to Kindle was a big success, but I wouldn’t say it was a flop, either. Each ebook has gotten a handful of downloads. It’s a crowded field in Kindle-land these days, with seemingly everyone wanting to publish books there, and more than happy to accommodate.

They got many fewer sales than when I offered them as free downloads on this blog in 2009/2010. I don’t actively market them at this point, so that’s probably one reason. Plus, of course, they’re not free anymore!

But I feel they’re good books, and very helpful for what they are intended.

Feel free to check them out here:

101 Rules of Tradeshow Marketing

The QR Code Tradeshow Marketing Guide

Detecting Classic Exhibits at Exhibitor 2012: Part Two

Still on the track of what the heck Classic Exhibits is up to for Exhibitor 2012 (March 4-8, 2012 at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas), I made another quick visit to their manufacturing facility this week.

The result? A disagreement among the bigwigs, a rescue by a new designer, and the ‘inside scoop’ (perhaps!) from a Russian spy???

Take a look:


To be a Social Media Writer

So you’re the company blogger, tweeter, Facebook poster and all-around social media go-to person. How do you make your posts readable, sharable, entertaining or informative? Here’s a quick list.

  • Shorter is better. There are no cut-and-dried rules, but whenever I feel like I need to write 750 words on something, I remember that a majority of Seth Godin’s posts are only a few dozen words each.
  • Woman washing her hair

    Make it easily digestible. Short posts are part of the task. The other part is to stick to one idea. Two ideas in one post: not so good. Two ideas should be split into two posts.

  • Be entertaining, informative or engaging. Find a new slant on an old topic. Introduce a character, take a different viewpoint, play devil’s advocate, spin a yarn. There are as many ways to say something, as there are readers.
  • ABC: Always Be Churning. If you’re the go-to social media person, everything – and I mean everything – may be fodder for a blog post or a tweet. Just make sure you follow the previous rule: be entertaining or informative or engaging. Keep your eyes and ears open.
  • Regular posting. The good news here: you get to decide what’s ‘regular’ for you and your readers. For some blogs, it’s several posts a day, or a week. For others, a handful of small, meaningful, insightful posts each month are plenty. And for others, one post every month or two is sufficient.

Find what works for you. Adjust as necessary. Rinse and repeat.

Creative Commons License

 photo credit: SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget

Classic Exhibits Prepares for Exhibitor 2012

I’ve had the pleasure of representing Classic Exhibits, based in Portland, Oregon, for several years. They produce great products and work diligently with customers and end users to give excellent value. They’ve exhibited at Exhibitor in Las Vegas for years, showing off great new exhibits that lead the industry.

This year could be different. When I got wind of their exhibit this year, I just had to investigate. After all, that’s what I do.


My Interest in Pinterest

I’ve been fooling around for a couple of weeks now with Pinterest, the social media sharing site that has been modestly booming in the online world. In fact, a recent article indicated that Pinterest is driving more traffic than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined!

This got my attention, so I had to check it out.

So how does it work, and how might you use it for event, conference and tradeshow marketing?

Start by creating a ‘board’ which is basically a digital bulletin board where you can share images and videos (Pinterest is driven by images, not text and plain links). Then you can curate those boards by adding multi-media content.

Let’s say you start a board on ‘tradeshows I love’. You could even put a date on it, such as ‘2012 tradeshows’ and then post photos of shows you attend during the year. Or you could create a board for just one show that your company attends and post several photos.

Pinterest uses the same ‘follow’ protocol that Twitter now Facebook use. You can simply follow someone to see their boards, which show up on your browser mixed in with dozens of other boards, with the most recent posts at the top.

If you install a browser extension, such as the one use by Chrome, you can easily ‘pin’ an article with an image on your Pinterest board.

When you sign up for Pinterest you can connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts along with your personal website. You can choose to share your pins across your network if you choose. You can create ‘like’ lists, and you can also mention users you follow by putting an “@” in front of their name, just like Twitter.

In fact, by using protocols that are found on other social media platforms, the learning curve on Pinterest is very short and not steep. Which makes it easy to learn and easy to share by quickly pinning images.

Selling Product

By adding a $ or £ to your Pin description, you can post items for sale. I’ve read that this is very popular on Pinterest and is moving a good amount of product, both digital and physical. Just include the link to your product page along with the $ or £ sign. Don’t forget to remove the pin if you sell out!

Of course, Pinterest is mobile (the app is free) and you can easily take a photo you’re your Smart phone and upload it quickly.

There are many social networks that try and get our attention. Pinterest may be doing a better job than most and is probably worth paying attention to.

Follow my Pinterest account here.

Tradeshow Gift Week Coming in Late February

This month marks the tenth anniversary of the release of my tradeshow industry colleague’s book “Build a Better Trade Show Image.” Marlys Arnold is marking the anniversary of her book with a promotion that not only should raise the awareness level of the book, but give you a chance to grab some pretty nice goodies.

It’s a week-long gift-fest, starting on February 19th. Several vendors are chiming in with free offerings as a way to promote the book and to enhance networking.

Marlys Arnold is a trade show marketing strategist and has worked with exhibitors and show managers in all kinds of industries, including some of the largest shows in the U.S. Her book is a tradeshow education that any event marketer should have!

Plan on getting in on the party – it’s easy, just sign up for daily emails for the week of February 19-25 that list the various gifts along with some unannounced special offers.

To sign up, just click through to


Targeting Your Social Media Audience

LinkedIn: Hang out on the show’s group page and join discussions. Ask and answer questions. Lightly reach out to people – which means no sales pitches – and look to learn booth numbers from exhibitors, sessions they’ll attend and other information. Reach out to speakers if they’re someone you’d like to connect with.

Twitter: find the #hashtag and spend time leading up to the show to track the conversation about the show. Take notes. Create a spreadsheet of the booth numbers and Twitter handles of the tweeters. Then you can target the specific individual by using the @ preface to get their attention (don’t send spam – make sure it’s relevant to what they’re already talking about, or lightly introduce a new topic).

Facebook: Check the show page – most established shows have one. If not, you might at least create an event listing and invite targeted people. Scan the show page wall and chances are you’ll find a lot of people that are actively involved. Again, make a spreadsheet. Connect with them, follow or like them and if appropriate, respond to their posts with a comment or question. Post something relevant on the show wall. Make friends.

Over time you’ll find you have a large targeted social media group that recognizes you, finds you engaging and sees the cool things you do. And you earned all this by not being annoying, by not spamming, by helping out and by offering value.

Using Social Media to Help People Connect at Events

Social media is great for drawing people to your event, whether you’re tweeting from your booth with a contest, posting to your Facebook page or blogging.

But using social media to help people connect while at the event is easy, too. It just takes a little thought and planning, and using the right tools.

I just signed up to attend Chris Gillebeau’s World Domination Summit in Portland this July. During the process of signing up and confirming payment, I had the option of sharing some limited personal and business information so that other like-minded people can find me and perhaps connect before the event. I presume the thinking would be is that it would lead you to want to connect in person at the site. This approach seems perfectly set-up to help keep you engaged in the event a good 175 days before it kick off, and positions you to connect with people before the event. I’m curious to see what else the organizers will do to foster connectivity in the next few months, as the event gets closer.

Another way to create engagement is to offer some sort of game or activity. SCVNGR is a game about doing challenges at places, which makes it perfectly suited for events. By checking into a series of places and doing an activity, you can earn rewards (if it’s set up that way), as well as network with other people playing the same game. By setting up some kind of reward for an activity, you encourage participation.

Involve those back at home or the office. By sharing hashtags, photos and videos – even live video streaming at chosen times – you are opening the conference or show to those who were unable to attend in person. Granted, you won’t get the same kind of engagement as you will with attendees, but it’s like offering a lifeline to ‘what’s new’ and happening’ at the event to those who aren’t attending.

Foursquare is a useful tool to share tips and comments about event speakers, exhibitors and products. It also helps people find other attendees and share tips on the best restaurants of nightclubs. And by monitoring the conversations on Foursquare and Twitter, organizers can quickly step in to address concerns, solve problems or use the comments to guide a better experience with the things that are working particularly well.

Freebies from Social Media Event Marketing U


© Copyright 2016 | Oregon Blue Rock, LLC
Tradeshow Guy Blog by Tim Patterson

Call 800-654-6946 for Prompt Service Registered & Protected <br />