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

May 2012

15 Ways to Stand Out in the Social Media Crowd

It seems everyone tweets. Everyone has a Facebook page. If they’re not on YouTube with their own channel, it’s coming soon. Your competition is popping up on Pinterest and Google+. So how do you stand out from the crowd, especially if you want to stand out at a tradeshow, event or conference?

Let’s count the ways (an incomplete list!):

  1. Create good content. Whether it’s a short tweet or a longer blog post, or a photo of your new tradeshow booth, find ways to deliver something GOOD to your followers.
  2. Be responsive. If you get a comment be sure to respond.
  3. Don’t belittle your competition.
  4. Do things differently. You may do the same thing or provide a similar product as your competition. Can you find a way to do it differently to stand out?
  5. Do different things. Don’t do the same thing everyone else is doing. Search for ways to do different things.
  6. Take risks. Risks are just that: risks. But if you don’t risk, you don’t get the reward. Take a risk now and then. Small, medium, large risks…they’re all worthwhile at some point.
  7. Work hard. You don’t necessarily have to outwork your competition, but you do have to work hard. Good hard work is important and it shows, especially when compared to others that may not be working as hard.
  8. Have good manners. Politeness counts for a lot!
  9. Think for yourself. Take input from your colleagues and assess what the market is saying – but at the end of the day, think for yourself and make decisions based on what YOU think, not what others think. After all, it’s your life and your business.
  10. Don’t follow the crowd. Following the crowd makes you one of the crowd. Not a good idea, since the idea is to stand out from the crowd.
  11. Do what you’ll say you’ll do. It’s amazing how such a little thing like keeping promises is important to standing out in the crowd. You’d be surprised – or maybe not – by how many people don’t keep their word.
  12. Show some initiative. Don’t wait for the boss to ask you to do something. Don’t wait for your partner to give you an idea to pursue. Come up with your own ideas and follow them. Initiative helps you stand out from the crowd.
  13. Be attentive. When people are in your booth, or responding to your online postings with comments and questions, act as if they’re the most important thing in the world at that moment. The attention you give to them will be remembered.
  14. Make people feel good. By spreading a little happiness, you’ll be remembered. Find something about your followers or visitors that you can compliment.
  15. Be consistent. Yeah, really. That’s important, too!

10 Reasons to Share Content from Your Tradeshow Appearance

It seems like I’ve been doing a lot of list-making lately. Here’s another one!

  1. Branding: the content you share defines your company. Think before you tweet!
  2. Networking: share content that highlights or involves people from other companies. Take photos of booth visitors, tag them in the photos and watch them share with their followers.
  3. Interactivity: by sharing content and responding to comments and questions, you’ve begun to see interactivity, which leads to…
  4. Engagement: a step above simple interactivity (which may be almost meaningless), engagement is more personal and responsive.

  5. Spread Love to All People

    Organic spread (your content could go viral): a good piece of content gets legs, no matter who it comes from. Can you create, either purposefully or accidentally, a piece of content that spreads throughout the social media system? If it happens, pay close attention to the type of content it is, and see if you can determine why it spread. Then try to recreate something that does the same.

  6. Social proof: if your followers like your material and share it, now you’re exposed to potential new people who may not have previously known you existed. But because they saw it from one of their trusted sources, now you’ve suddenly a trusted source.
  7. Humanize your company: by becoming human to your market, you become more attractive to them, generally speaking.
  8. Caring: by sharing you’re showing that you care about others.
  9. Reciprocation: if you share something that focuses another person, company or product (it may complement something you’re doing so it makes sense to highlight it), those people will feel compelled to do the same for you vie reciprocation.
  10. Sharing drives traffic to your booth. And your blog. And your Facebook page, Twitter page, YouTube channel, etc.

 photo credit: serenitbee










Goal Setting for Tradeshow Social Media Marketing

Do you have a set of clearly defined, easily measurable goals for each of your tradeshows regarding your social media marketing efforts?

If not, here’s where to start.

First set down your show objectives.

What metric are you most interested n moving during your tradeshows when it relates to social media? Yes, you want to move the sales needle, but as you add on social media components, you are putting more people into the potential sales funnel.

Money Graph

There are myriad tools available for tracking your social media interaction, but your measurements should be driven more by what you want to learn.

Need to know how many visitors you had this year compared with last?

Want to find out if people respond to a series of tweets inviting them to your booth to get a great deal, meet a famous person or win a contest?

Need to know how many people see those photographs you posted on your Facebook page from the show, to gauge interest in your products or services?

Once you determine what you want to learn, start focusing on the various ways social media lets you do that in the realm of event marketing.

Some of the metrics you might be interested in:

  • Facebook page ‘likes’ – perhaps not as good as adding someone to an email marketing list, but by having them as a Facebook friend they are giving you permission to engage with them.
  • Booth traffic. If you have a rough count of booth visitors from last year’s show, you can compare to what you get this year. If not, start counting anyway – it’s a good metric to have.
  • Direct response visitors, which will come from contests or other come-ons sent out via Twitter or Facebook.
  • Getting more followers on Twitter. If you have show-goers following you on Twitter, chances are they’ll come to next year’s show as well, which means it’ll be easier to find and track them to your booth.
  • QR Code responses. If you invite people to download documents or sign up for a newsletter, track the number of people that have used the code. Compare the percentage that actually followed through on your offer.
  • Blog post views
  • Photo views
  • Video views and possible click-throughs from your YouTube channel to a specific landing page.
  • Want to take a survey in the booth? Here’s a great opportunity to do a little market research. Just make sure to ask respondents how they interact with you online (or if they do at all). Offer a small reward for taking the survey. Capture contact information – at least a name and email so you can follow up. Put them on a newsletter if you publish one.
  • Length of Facebook thread, to show you how much a particular topic or post resonates with your audience (of course, it might be the responses that they’re responding to, not your original post!).
  • Impressions and other opportunities-to-see you.

And of course the sales information that you should be tracking from show to show:

  • Number of leads
  • Number of registrations for demos (or other)
  • Number of appointments made
  • Number of proposals delivered
  • Number of sales
  • Amount of sales
  • Average amount of each sale
  • Comparison of different shows and year-to-year same show results

Yes, there are a lot of moving parts and your particular goals will of course be unique to your company and product or service. The more you are able to track social media metrics and compare those numbers with the more traditional sales tracking metrics and see how they work together (or not), the more informed you’ll be and the better positioned you’ll be to adjust your direction or jump in a new direction when the signs point that way.

Creative Commons License

 photo credit: 401K

Ernest Hemingway Would Have Loved Twitter

Do you find that trying to learn social media is confusing, confounding and generally flummoxes you? Do you wish for a time when you didn’t have to worry about whether you needed to buy a book a Kindle, or download a PDF or just get the hardback version?

Don’t feel lonely or left out. There are thousands – probably millions – in the same boat as you.

Look at it this way. History has left some of our most famous folks in the same boat. Benjamin Franklin never sent out a tweet. Alexander Hamilton never checked in to his favorite watering hole with Foursquare. Franklin D Roosevelt never used a credit card. Jonas Salk never used a Pentium II computer.

So if they never had to deal with a Facebook update status, why should you, right? If Ansel Adams never had to post his latest shots to Flickr, why should you?

Actually, I think a lot of those historical figures would have felt right at home. Imagine John Lennon hanging out on Twitter. Think of what Ben Franklin would have done with his Facebook page. Picture Pablo Picasso showing off his latest artworks using Instagram.

The thing is…it’s all been done before. Everything got shared before. It just was done using different sharing methods. Social media gives you a new method to do the same old stuff, on a much wider scale.

One senior citizen executive was heard to say once, “I’m too old to learn social media.” Actually, no, you’re not too old. You’re too lazy. There are senior citizens doing social media every day and loving it. Just like there are young people who don’t give a hang about it. If you don’t want to do it, admit it. Just don’t say that you’re too old, or too busy, or too distracted, or too whatever.

Ernest Hemingway would have loved Twitter, after he got through making jokes about it. The 140-character limit would have fit his writing approach perfectly. Of course, most of his tweets would probably have been crap, as he put it:

“I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit,” Ernest Hemingway confided to F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1934. “I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.”

But hey, he did come up with some masterpieces along the way. As we all will.

Tradeshow Social Photo Sharing Do’s and Don’ts

How about a quick list of tradeshow social photo sharing do’s and don’ts when you’re on the tradeshow floor:


  • Take pictures of guests and booth visitors.
  • Ask for permission to post the photo online.
  • Post as quickly as you are able.
  • Mention names (first names only are okay).

    Sarah from Manitoba Harvest posing at Expo West 2012
  • Mention companies they work for (they love the free publicity).
  • Try to get their logo or tradeshow backdrop in the photo.
  • Remember that your photo-sharing becomes part of your brand legacy. Think before you post.
  • Shoot a lot of photos! If you shoot a photo of someone, tell them you want to take two or three to make sure you get a good one. If you take only one, chances are good that you’ll catch someone with their eyes closed or a goofy look on their face.
  • Tweet out each photo (if you have time).
  • Invite your photo subject to re-tweet and re-post the photo across their social media outposts.
  • Crop photos if you can. If you don’t have Photoshop or some other photo editing software, do your best to frame the photo as you take it to include only the main elements of the photo.


  • Wait days or weeks to post photos.
  • Post photos of people in compromising situations.
  • Post without telling people that you’re posting on your FB or Flickr page.
  • Share every photo….instead, pick and choose the best ones.
  • Share only on one social network. Instead, move beyond Facebook to Instagram, Flickr, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat…wherever your audience may be.
  • Take photos of other booths and post them. Typically that’s in bad form and is often frowned upon by show management.
  • Keep putting the same booth staffers in the photos. Instead, make the photos about your visitors as much as it is about you and your products and/or services.

Should You Create An App For Your Tradeshow Appearance?

With the proliferation of smartphone and tablet apps and the declining difficulty of creating them, is it time to create an app for your own company for your upcoming tradeshow appearance?

It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. There are numerous online tools that make creating an app easier than it used to be. And with more and more of the web’s connectivity moving to stand-alone apps, your clients and prospects may find a lot of value in the app.

Admittedly, I’ve never seen a company app built specifically for a tradeshow appearance, or for the tradeshow side of a company’s marketing efforts.

So what information could you put in your app? Here’s a short list to get your brain working (no doubt you can add more!):

  • Yearly tradeshow schedule
  • Product information
  • Set appointment for interview or demo
  • Submit request for information or contact
  • Booth number and hours
  • Company information
  • Links to demo videos
  • Links to podcast interview
  • Client testimonials

Creating an app is not that complicated, but there are several steps to making it happen. If you have tech-savvy people in your company, you may be able to create it in-house.

But generally you’ll have to hire an app developer through or another site. Get recommendations, or take a look at what the developers have done in the past.

First, appoint a point person that can see the development of the app through the entire process.

Determine what you want in the app. This may take several discussions with the various company elements, including sales, marketing, tech team, etc.

Find a possible developer or two, describe the scope of work as best as possible, and then negotiate the price.

There is a lot that can go in an app and it’ll be tempting to want to put as much as possible into it. But you’re probably better off keeping it as simple and useful as possible.

An app for your own company for a tradeshow appearance? Why not? It’ll give you an edge over your competition among those people in your market that have downloaded your app – especially if your competitors don’t have an app, and you have a very useful and user-friendly app.


7 Things Your Social Media Consultant Won’t Tell you

Considering hiring a social media consultant to get your tweeting, Facebook posting and YouTubing ramped up, but don’t know where to start? Just because someone calls themselves an expert doesn’t mean they really are the best choice for you. So let’s look at

Laughing sailor

a few things that your potential social media consultant likely won’t tell you:

  1. Don’t always start with Facebook. Just because everyone and their mom is on Facebook doesn’t mean your company should be there. It doesn’t mean it SHOULDN’T be there, either. After all, many of your competitors and much of your potential market are hanging out there. But depending on your strategy and goals, perhaps Facebook isn’t the place to start. Perhaps LinkedIn is. Or Twitter. Or a good set of information videos packed with keywords on YouTube is more appropriate for your business. Truth be told, a good social media consultant will help you examine your market, identify potential target areas, solidify social media goals and then move into the implementation phase – whatever that may be.
  2. Look to connect, not to promote. Even big companies spend a lot of time answering questions on their blogs, replying to tweets and responding to comments and questions on Facebook. Promotions are okay – and in fact if done right can be a big boost for your bottom line. But you should plan on spending a majority of your time simply engaging with those that follow you.
  3. Setting up accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest are not ‘embracing social media.’ Building a big list on Twitter is not social media engagement. Sending hundreds of people to ‘like’ you on Facebook is not social media engagement. Oh, sure, it’s good to have people that are connected with you – but unless you are giving them some sort of value on a regular basis you’re wasting your time and theirs. It’s all about the content you share and the conversations you start (and continue).
  4. High-level social media engagement doesn’t require high-level expertise. No, it doesn’t. It really requires common sense and continual work. Everyone is capable of working and understanding social media. And if someone tells you they’re too old for social media, you’re free to steal my line (which I’m sure I borrowed): “No, you’re not too old. You’re too lazy.”
  5. There is no such thing as a “social media expert.” Anyone can hang a shingle and call themselves “experts.” However, a true student of social media recognizes that expertise is gained through hard work, constant education, and yes, learning how to do things right by first doing them wrong. Which means that no matter how much they know, there’s always something new to learn….which means that being an “expert” is really impossible.
  6. While a social media consultant can help you get started, ultimately it’s up to you and your company. Which means that not only will you and your marketing team have to learn and understand all of the nuances of social media engagement, your whole company will ultimately become involved. Not everyone in a company should be representing your company online, but every department should have a representative that engages with your social media outlets. Someone up the ladder must also take the lead and the responsibility for leading the effort.
  7. Social media is really just another aspect of doing the same things you’ve always been doing: generating revenue through great marketing and excellent customer service. You know, the way you’ve been trying to do since the company began. Social media is just a different avenue for executing those plans, generating leads, giving great customer service and touching those people where they live.
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 photo credit: Purblind

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