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

September 2012

Making Real Connections Using Social Media

When you’re tweeting and posting Facebook updates and adding photos to your Instagram or Snapchatting like a 13-year-old, do you ever get the feeling that those updates are all…er…wasted and you’re not making real connections using social media? Do you find that very few people actually respond or read them?

Do you feel that they are not really connecting to your intended recipients – those online followers of your company and products?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Making that connection with your audience (customers, potential clients) is probably the toughest thing you’re tasked to do.

And I’m here to tell you that it’s not an easy thing to do. Even if I gave you a shortlist of things to do on a daily basis, it’s quite possible that you may get nothing out of that list. Or it may mean the difference between making the connection and being totally ignored by your followers.

But still, if you’re on social media, you’ll have to try to find what it takes to make those connections or your time will be wasted.

So let me offer some ideas on what it might take. For every person involved in social media for their company, the approach to these ideas will be different, some slightly and some extremely different, but your approach should fall under the same umbrella. To me there are just two main elements you need to provide.

Saint Etienne setlist.

CONTENT. By providing good content, you’re telling your audience that you care. Show your knowledge; share your expertise. Give things away that are worth something and are not just rehashed. Speak knowledgeably about how your products or services can actually help someone. Answer questions; offer insights based on your experience. And don’t worry about giving away secrets – there really are very few secrets left anyway.

CONNECTION. Yeah, it’s a cliché: connect with someone! The larger your audience, the harder it will be to find anything more than superficial connections based on your online back-and-forth. But…I think there’s something to be said for making the attempt.  It could mean cultivating and focusing on a handful of those people in your tribe that are engaged and responsive. You can’t connect with everyone, but for those that you do make a solid connection with, it’s worth it. Often those people will then become surrogates for you and your company, singing your praises without urging from you. BTW, the way to connect online is to get off subject: use humor; comment on photographs, share experiences that are non-business related. Connections are made on an emotional level much easier than on a business level.

And when it comes to connection, quality is better then quantity. In fact, there isn’t enough time to connect with everyone in your circle. Connect with those you are able to and have some sort of attraction to. Business happens with people you like and trust.

In your social media interactions (as in everywhere), be likeble and trustworthy.

 photo credit: Bo Valentin

Keeping Track of Changes in the Social Media World

Change is good.

Change sucks!

Okay, which is it?

You may recall the 1971 David Bowie song “Changes.” While it was often seen as a ‘manifesto for his chameleonic personality’ (Wikipedia), it’s not much of a stretch to say that the song applies to virtually everything in life. We live in a world full of changes, and when it comes to following the bouncing ball that is social media, we often get lost trying to keep up with the fast-paced world.

So where should you look in your attempts to follow changes? I’d love to say that this blog follows changes, but as a one-man band that’s a difficult, if not impossible task. However, there are a number of social media-related blogs and websites that I follow that do a great job. Some have dozens (or hundreds) of contributors that follow a wide variety of social media and web-related activity.

The challenge is winnowing the information down to what’s important to YOU. That’s not the easiest thing, and while I consume a lot of information, it’s difficult to read only the blog posts and articles that directly affect me. And in fact, I’m not sure that we should limit our intake to specific topics, because often a related topic or item can later become important.

So let’s look at a handful sites that have proven to be useful in tracking changes and keeping readers up-to-date.

Mashable: to me this is more of a tech-related site, but they do a darn fine job of tracking news and changes in all related spheres, from business and tech to lifestyle and fun watercooler topics, including a lot of social media. It started out on a much smaller scale, but as it’s popularity and readership rise, its horizons have expanded. They have smartphone apps and of course RSS feeds which make it easy to follow.

Social Media Examiner: Much more focused on social media that Mashable, the Social Media Examiner is often my first stop when I want to research any social media-related topic. Founded by Michael Stelzner a few years ago, the SME is the best at following trends and giving you countless how-to’s along the way.

Social Media Today: covering social media from blogging to tweeting and all points in between, Social Media Today casts a wide net.


Soshable is not high on my list, but the few times I’ve landed there I’ve come away impressed. Lots of good articles and a ton of tech and social media-related infographics make this very interesting reading.

Scott Monty: he’s the global head of social media for Ford Motor Company and knows his stuff. Scott is a fun read and you’ll always pick up some good information and tips when you land here.

Forbes on Social Media: surprisingly, or perhaps not, this is a great resource of articles and information.

Peter Shankman, the founder of Help Out a Reporter, is a globe-trotting writer, speaker and author. If you want cutting edge, read his blog.

Finally, this round-up from Hubspot is worth a look. There’s a list of 36 ‘don’t-miss’ social media blogs that they claim you should check out. I haven’t checked them all out, but  cursory look at a handful of them shows that you can’t go wrong here.

Summertime Winding Down…TradeshowGuy Blog Update (where have I been??)

It’s September…right? Seems like the summer has gone on a long time this year, and now that September is here and fall is around the corner (at least in the northern hemisphere), I thought I’d put out a Tradeshowguy UPDATE…

First things first: it’s been an extremely busy summer – but most of that business has been away from work. I got engaged to a lovely lady in June, moved into a new house with my fiance and her son in August (not quite done with that), and now am spending time getting my old house in shape for rental. Yes, good grief, I’m going to become a landlord. I also did a little

Tradeshowguy Tim and buddy Rich preparing to tee off at hole 16 at Pacific Grove Golf Course in August…

traveling and…as a result, managed to put the Tradeshowguyblog on the back burner for must of the summer. Aside from a few random posts, you didn’t see or hear from me much at all!

Not only that, but my company, Communication One Exhibits, is just starting work on a large tradeshow booth for a great client (more on that later). We’ve been in the design phase since May and are about to move into fabrication.

I’m also closing in on completing my first book – which has nothing to do with the tradeshow industry! It’s a fun history book that has been a joy to write. It should move into the design phase soon and I hope to have it out before the end of the year (again – more on that later!). While it currently doesn’t take up much of my time, it did occupy me a lot during late spring and early summer. So yep, that was another area where I dedicated time, energy and resources.

So, given all of the non-online activity in my life, what’s the outlook for After all, since I started the blog in 2009, my goal has been to post 2-3 times a week, which has happened consistently since then with few interruptions. Frankly, I think the frequency of posts will diminish, but my hope is that the relevance of the posts will remain high or increase. I’d rather have one or two great posts a month than eight or ten so-so posts. When I’ve taught blogging at seminars and webinars, I’ve always held that consistency is important – more important than frequency. So no matter if you’re posting daily, weekly, or monthly: just make sure your audience understands your commitment – and live up to that commitment. And if it changes, let them know.

My other company, Communication Steroids, with my partner Roger Pike, is also reassessing our future. We’re looking to focus on providing online training for public speaking, social media engagement and other related topics – but again, that won’t happen until the personal stuff in our lives gets a little more normal (whatever that is!). The interesting thing about being a self-employed entrepreneur in the tradeshow industry is that, while there are always a lot of small projects that come and go, it’s the big ones that take up your time and energy. However, at my level, having a couple of big projects each year is quite sufficient. Any more than that and I’ve had to become more than just a single self-employed entrepreneur with a partner – I’d have to HIRE people instead of working with sub-contractors. For now, that’s more than I want or need.

If you’ve made it this far – thank you! I really appreciate your readership. If you’re a regular reader of the Tradeshowguy blog you should know that I’m still passionate about social media, even though it’s a fast-changing landscape and what worked last year may not work this year. That’s what makes it exciting – and I will definitely have a lot more to share about social media in the months and years to come. So stay tuned…!

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