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

Book Review

Speaking on Social Media and Event Marketing – Preparing for EDPA

In my preparation for speaking at the Exhibit Designers and Producers Association annual conference in Jacksonville, Florida in a few weeks, I’ve been digging deeper and deeper into social media and how it can be used in coordination with event marketing.

First I put out a request to HARO, which resulted in a number of stories including Barking Up a Tree with Social Media, Social Media Rescues a Social Media Seminar, Social Media Marketing Tips from AntiSocialGuy, Twisplays Brings Twitter Streams to Your Tradeshow Booth, Taking Your Event to a Virtual World with Social27, and an update on Schmoozapalooza, the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce’s semi-annual business gathering that’s been doorbusters since incorporating social media.

Not that all of those stories will make it to the final presentation. It’s hard to cut good stories out – but there are time constraints and a goal of covering the actual topics of the presentation as advertised:

Everybody’s talking about social media. And you just nod and smile–but have no idea what they’re talking about. Get a detailed breakdown of the ‘four’ main social media platforms and how to best use them–as well as how to get started if you’re still on the sidelines. Learn how to leverage social media for your own marketing, but more importantly how to talk social media with clients who want it baked into their exhibit programs.

Given that I’ve spoken in public numerous times over the last several years, many times about social media and tradeshow marketing, the challenge isn’t so much putting the presentation together. It’s making sure the information is relevant and important to the audience.

Speaking about social media brings up a lot of challenges. As Steve Farnsworth (@steveology on Twitter) told me earlier this year, ‘social media is still the wild west’ in a lot of ways. Some companies really get it and are neck-deep in their social media engagement. Other companies have a lot of political resistance to even the thought of getting involved, viewing social media as ‘kid stuff’ or toys of some sort that an honest-to-god serious marketer shouldn’t even consider.

Crafting the content then becomes a balancing act between getting the neophytes interested enough to seeing the possibilities and helping the folks already engaged with tools, techniques and examples of how to engage.

Along the way I’ve had the good fortune to stumble onto three books which have been invaluable to crafting the presentation.

Nancy Duarte’s two books on presentations, “Slide:ology” and “resonate” have offered an enormous amount of guidance and I cannot recommend them enough (yes those are affiliate links; one book – ‘resonate’ – was given to me by Nancy and I purchased “Slide:ology” but I would recommend them anyway because they’re both excellent).

John C. Maxwell’s “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect” has also proved to be extraordinarily helpful in the preparation of the final presentation. I can quibble with a few of his cut’n’paste examples of communication, but his message and a majority of examples ring true.

If you’re working on a presentation, or ever have the opportunity to put one together, you would do yourself well by grabbing any or all of those books.

As for Jacksonville on December 2nd, well…we’ll see if they helped me as much as I hope they will!

Geek Love: Review of Peter Shankman’s “Can We Do That!?”

Peter Shankman

Now that I’m 95% finished with Peter Shankman’s “Can We Do That!?” I can safely tell you it’s one of the most inspirational business-promotion books I’ve ever found.

Peter, if you’re not familiar with him, is the founder of The Geek Factory PR Agency in New York City in the 90s. He’s since sold the business (but kept the naming rights) and runs Help A Reporter, the largest free source repository for journalists anywhere in the world, where anyone can sign up to be a source on any topic and get quoted in major media.

Now, to the book: a brisk read; I’m a little more than a week into it and have just the last chapter.

The most useful part of the book to me was to lift the hood on a handful of major successful promotions Peter and the Geek Factory pulled off, including the great skydiving adventure, the knitting shop promotion and his 30th birthday party in 2002 (among others).

For someone who’s never done those types of promotions from scratch, it’s great to see how they were hatched and ultimately executed.

Yes, this fun-to-read book gave me a ton of ideas, and I’m still making notes to incorporate some of those ideas into current promotions that I have on the drawing board.

A critical section of the book looks closely at how to deal with a PR crisis: what to say (and what NOT to say) to the media, how to keep the company employees in the loops, how to create a list of contact information for the key players in any company (no, it’s not just the company management).

Shankman can we do that

In other words, when you get that 3 am phone call – which I agree with Peter are NEVER good – you know what to do, step-by-step to avoid becoming the latest company to get chewed up by media…who after all, are just following a story.

I’m almost sorry I will finish the book later today. Guess I’ll have to keep it handy for reference. Yup, I give this valuable little book 4 stars. Add it to your library soon:

Can We Do That?! Outrageous PR Stunts That Work--And Why Your Company Needs Them

UPDATE August 2017: I’ve had the pleasure to be a member of Peter Shankman’s Master Mind Group “Shankminds” for the past several months. It’s an active group of over a hundred people who either are their own boss, or are working towards that end. Worth checking out.

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