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


10 Things NOT to do in Your Social Media Tradeshow and Event Marketing

Instead of posting another Top Ten List, I thought I’d put it to video. Just a smidge over four minutes long. Enjoy!



Social Media Tradeshow Marketing from the Bob Marley Songbook

If you’ve read this blog for awhile or know me at all, chances are you have discovered that, yes, I am a big Bob Marley fan. Have been since the mid 70s. Saw the guy on tour. Twice. Not to mention the tattoo.

So I thought it might be fun to thumb through Marley’s extensive library and pull some song titles for social media tradeshow marketing inspiration. And I thought it might be fun to grab some YouTube videos along the way… So here we go…!

Stir it Up


Before the show, get on Twitter and Facebook and let people know you’re going to be at the show. If you don’t stir the pot, so to speak, the only thing you have to depend on is how your booth is viewed and how your staff performs at the show itself. On the other hand, if you ‘stir it up’ on social media, you can spread the word about your booth (is it new?), where to find it, who and what are going to be there and generally create a bit of buzz.

Get Up, Stand Up


Not getting a fair shake from the show organizers? Getting a raw deal from a supplier? Well, don’t take it lying down! Get Up, Stand Up! Stand up for your rights! Be assertive (not aggressive) in making sure that you are getting the full measure of what you’re paying for. Be mindful of what you deserve – and think of those around you. Stand up for their rights as well when the time is right.

Rat Race


Yes, you’re in the rat race. There are hundreds, possibly thousands of exhibitors who are all trying to stand out from the crowd. No worries! As they say in Jamaica, soon come! Just realize that you’re part of the mix. Not only will you have a lot of competition, you can BE a lot of competition for the rest of the exhibitors. Present your booth and staff on a Positive Vibration and you’ll find that you won’t be Waiting in Vain.

Sun is Shining


What’s your outlook? Are you spreading positive vibrations, or are you Mr. Stick-in-the-Mud? If you believe that the sun eventually shine down on you, let your followers and friends online know about it!

One Love


Your clients and customers must feel some love for you in some way. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be buying your product or service. So return the love. When customers stop by, ask them if you can photograph them for your Facebook page. Or get them to sit down for a one-minute testimonial. Show them love by sharing the testimonial on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. They’ll love the recognition!



At some point you will be faced with a crisis – small, medium or (hopefully not) large. Keep in mind, this happens to everybody! If you can keep your head while everyone else is losing yours, you’ll appear as the cool, calm collected individual that people can depend on. Always have a Plan B in mind.

Wake Up and Live


Tradeshows are a jam-packed, chaotic environment that goes by really, really fast! Before you know it, they’re over, and you’re left wondering ‘what happened?’ Don’t let that happen to you. Take a few moments during the show to bask in it – to soak it all in – and if the spirit moves you, to share it with your social media community.



The show is over! Hallelujah! You can get back to normal, whatever that is for you. But at the end of he show, don’t forget about those social media followers. Tweet out your thanks, photos, videos and other items at the end of the show. It’ll help remind those followers who you are and what you do. And if you do take time to thank people by name (individual or organization), you’ll be seen as that much more human.


Why YouTube is Essential to Your Tradeshow Marketing Success

Let’s put a box around this: YouTube doesn’t make or break your tradeshow marketing success. Certainly you can find exhibitors that have never been on YouTube that have packed up after a show, ecstatic at the results they got at the show.

YouTube - Tradeshow Marketing
YouTube - Tradeshow Marketing

Nope – YouTube is essential if you want to delve into new media and touch people you’ve never reached before and have never bothered to see your booth at a show. Because, let’s face it, having a tradeshow booth is great. Tradeshow marketing, if done thoughtfully and effectively, can be one of the most worthwhile places to put your marketing dollars.

With YouTube, though, you’re moving into a whole new realm. If you haven’t added videos to the YouTube mix, here are a number of reasons why you should seriously consider using the platform as part of your tradeshow marketing efforts.

  • YouTube is the second largest search engine on the ‘net, right behind Google. Videos on YouTube can show up on the top results for both YouTube and Google.
  • Videos are cheap and easy to shoot, unlike the old days of only a few years ago when video editing software was really expensive, good cameras were a king’s ransom, and the whole package was bulky and unwieldy – and expensive. Nowadays, video from small handheld cameras like the Flip or a recent model smartphone are very good quality.
  • By adding links to the description of your YouTube video, your viewers are just a click away from your website. If your video is product specific, that link should be to a specific landing page, not to a generic front-page site link.
  • YouTube videos are extremely easy to share on YouTube and Twitter, and a simple cut-and-paste embeds them in your blog or website.
  • By shooting acres and yards of digital footage at your next tradeshow, you’re gathering material that can be used and posted for months.
  • People are easily informed with video, and there are millions of folks who prefer a two-minute video to a two-minute text blog post. Give those types of consumers the choice of video to win them over.
  • Video allows you to demonstrate things easily. By showing, your audience is knowing.
  • Videos are personal. When you interview a client for a testimonial, it’s easy to see exactly how they feel about your product or service.
  • It’s easy to add sub-titles or captions to videos to enhance what’s on-screen.
  • By making videos focus on a single idea or concept, you can keep them short – which means more people are willing to take a chance on them. There’s no hard and fast rule length of online videos, other than this: they should be as long as needed to get out the necessary information, but not one second longer.


Video on is hot: YouTube almost half a million unique visitors a month. Together, those users spend 2.9 billion hours on YouTube during the month. That’s 326,294 years.  You’ll find everything on YouTube, from business, biting babies and music videos to dancing cats.

By shooting video and posting it before your tradeshow to promote your appearance, you’re giving potential visitors a chance to find out more about you in a way they previously couldn’t.

By shooting video during the show you’re letting prospects and clients see what you’re all about – in living color.

By posting video from the show over the next few months, you’re stretching time to remind people of what you did at the show, and tease them on what they missed, and can likely see at the next show, whetting their appetite for the next go-round.

Video and YouTube may not make or break your tradeshow marketing, but it can exponentially increase your reach and influence. Which puts you miles ahead of your competition.


Six Ways to Use Video at your Next Tradeshow

If you’re not used to shooting video, it can be a major mental shift to be able to have your video camera ready to go at all times. A small Flip video (or similar) camera can help alleviate that some, but it’s still a bit of a shift to go from not shooting video at your shows to shooting a LOT of it for present and future use.

One way to be prepared is to simply be prepared: in the booth, keep your video camera out and attached to a tripod. That way it’s only a moment away from being able to turn the switch and shooting testimonials or demos.

Another way to always be prepared is to ensure that you always have enough power. In some cases that means extra AA batteries; in other cases it may mean that you are able to plug your video battery into a USB or AC outlet anytime. A full-power camera is easier to use than one that’s down to it’s last 10%!

Next, have a list of videos that you’d like to shoot – or at least a list of possible ideas. Here’s an incomplete list of things that you might consider at your next tradeshow:

  1. Testimonials: nothing like a satisfied customer telling potential customers how well your product or service works. The more details, the more believable (but make it short!).
  2. Demos: if you’re able to demonstrate how your product works inside your booth, shoot that demo a few times and put the best one up on your YouTube channel.
  3. Guests: if you have a celebrity or other type of guest, have them sit down for a short interview.
  4. The Boss: is the CEO stopping by and can he be counted on to be a good ‘face’ of your company or product? Then make sure you get him on video discussing something cool, new or important about your company or a specific product.
  5. Q&A: if your product makes people curious as to how it works, shoot random visitors asking questions (get their permission) and then show someone from your company explaining the answer.
  6. Other Products: do other exhibitors have products that can be used in conjunction with yours? Get one of reps from that company to your booth (or go to their booth) and get some video showing how that combination might work to benefit potential customers.

Yes, some of these may take more work than others. But if you come back from your tradeshow with a few hours of videos, this gives your marketing staff oodles of ways to use that video and roll it out on your YouTube channel, blog, website and Facebook page over the next several months. Be sure to put a package together to post a few weeks before next year’s show as well to promote the upcoming appearance.

People like to watch video online – the stats that support this keep growing all the time. Find ways to get people to spend a few moments with YOUR video and you may have a new customer.



Social Media is NEW! (No, it’s not…)

You’ve probably heard it a lot, and maybe even agree: Social media is NEW! It’s something that’s so brand-spanking new that it’s going to take you a lot of time and effort to figure it out! There are new tools, new toys, new ways of connecting. And since it’s NEW it’s gotta be confusing and confounding.

Nope, that’s not true. Social media has been around for quite awhile. Yes, some of the tools and toys are relatively new, but think about it: if you’ve been online for at least a decade you should be used to this stuff. I’ve been connecting with people online since before the Internet. You may remember a brief period of time in the early 90s – before the ‘net – when there were online community bulletin board systems (actually around from 1979 – 1995). These BBS’s would allow people to dial in to a central computer, share notes and programs. I remember having a conversation with a guy who introduced me to one of his BBS’s where he shared software. It would take two or three days to transfer a small software program from one computer to another via a dial-up connection.

But we were connected.

In fact, ‘instant chat’ was available as early as 1988, which was when IRC (internet relay chat) made its debut. It became a PC desktop feature with ICQ in 1996. Yes, we were sharing instant messages with smiley faces by the mid-90s.

Then came CompuServe, Prodigy and AOL (remember all those millions of CD’s you get in the mail hoping to get you to get on board with AOL?). And the web and email. Being from a radio background, my interest in those days was figuring out to share audio online. It wasn’t too tough, and shortly thereafter I was hosting (albeit briefly) a short comedy show online through a website I had figured out how to set up.

Yes, it was all pretty rudimentary in those days. But around 2004 podcasting came along and I jumped in with both feet.

Then around 2006 we all read about the new Web 2.0 where we’d all be interconnected. Except that we already were connected in so many ways.

Early in the decade lots of people were connecting using Friendster (founded 2002) and MySpace (2003).

Today with Facebook (2004), Twitter (2006), YouTube (2005) and LinkedIn (2003) generally regarded as the ‘big four’ of social networking, it’s not hard to realize that this stuff has been around for several years. And with our online connectivity reaching back a couple of decades, don’t believe anyone who says social media is “new” – it’s not.

What’s new is that the tentacles of social media are reaching further into small businesses, who are then trying to figure out how to implement these platforms into their marketing mix.

It takes some adjustment, admittedly. Often new people need to be brought on board, or current employees need to be re-purposed for some of their work day to ‘figure out’ how to use social media to reach their target market.

The good news is that there are unlimited resources available to help. If you’re the self-help type, you search blogs about social media marketing. If you’d rather hire consultants to teach you how to tie it all together, that’s appropriate as well. No matter how you approach it, there are myriad ways you can implement social media in your tradeshow or event marketing efforts.

But again – none of this is really new. If you think it is, you literally haven’t been paying attention. And you’re living in the past….around 1979.

If you still haven’t started using this “new” social media to reach your market, when do you plan to?

(image courtesy of Mentionablehonor and is used through Creative Commons)


Telecommuting In Style

Are you stuck in the office all day long, five days a week? Happens to all of us. Happens to me most of the time. But every once in awhile I get inspired and take my work to the ski resort. Can’t do it every day, because on many occasions I have to meet clients in person. But if that’s not the case, I can often handle a lot of the details of work remotely, via a smartphone or laptop.

So Tuesday of this week I took my work to the slopes at Hoodoo Ski Bowl, my ‘home’ resort. And had a ton of fun while doing it. And answered a few client calls, an email or two and communicated with the office on a critical project as well. Yeah, the first time you might feel a little odd about actually taking a client call on the chairlift, but when you’ve handled the issue, you hang up and smile…

Can you work remotely? Can you find a way to mix pleasure with your job? It doesn’t always mean heading to Cabo or the ski resort. It might mean you’re taking meetings offsite to your favorite coffee shop. Or finding a way to engage with your clients or prospects through social media while you’re enjoying a day off. The lines are blurring and will continue to blur between our “work” hours and our “off” hours as we get deeper and deeper and more familiar with tools such as smartphones and the online platforms that allow us stay in front of other people’s minds much easier than before.

Even at a tradeshow you can easily stay in touch with people in other cities, keeping your business going in several areas while also seeing people face-to-face at the show.

Today’s work world means getting adept at using all of the available tools – and knowing which ones work for you and which ones to leave aside.

Some of the tools I use which help me work remotely include Dropbox and Carbonite. They allow me to access documents from anywhere and either work on them or email them when needed. Checking in with your community by using Facebook is also very useful and not time-consuming at all. By linking several accounts together (FB, Twitter, LinkedIn) you can reach people on all of those platforms by interacting with only one.


Do Pretty Ads Ring the Cash Registers?

Like millions I watched the Super Bowl over the weekend, not only to root for the Packers (!), but to gawk at the ads. Lots of clever ads put together which were damn entertaining. According to the Portland Business Journal, some of the most popular were produced by Portland’s Weiden + Kennedy, well known for creating great Nike ads over the years. They created the Chrysler and Coca-Cola ads which got a lot of critical and viewer praise.

My favorite (and it’s hard to choose, so if I were to write this article tomorrow, my fave choice might change) was the very popular VW ad with the mini-Darth Vader called “The Force.” It went viral before the Super Bowl and by Monday had garnered over 16 million views on YouTube:


While the Super Bowl is a terrific showcase for ad creativity, many critics (me included) wonder about the effectiveness of the ads. Advertisers spend around $3 million for a 30-second slot. Not to mention the time, energy and money that goes into creating the ad. Must be another three mil, at least, right?

That’s a ton of money, even if you’re Coca-Cola or Chrysler. As an advertiser you want it to pay off.

If the ad is number one on the popular charts but doesn’t sell more than a few bottles of coke or more than a few new cars, is the ad worth the investment? Hard to justify in my mind. But if the ad creates huge brand awareness and you’re able to point back to the ad as a key point in a rise in sales, you can probably justify it.

Hey, it’s the same with tradeshows – which is just another marketing tactic.

You spend a ton of money (it’s not cheap!), and hope the sales increase as a result.

So…some questions to ask as you prepare your creative for the tradeshow:

  • Is the booth pretty or effective? Or both?
  • Is your graphic message popular or does it ring the cash registers? Or both?
  • Is your in-booth demo clever and does it grab solid leads? Or is it just plain clever..?
  • Do your staffers have great questions for your visitors and do they use those questions to qualify a ton of great leads?
  • Do your leads make a nice pile of paper but fail when it comes to getting them to pulling out their checkbook to purchase your product or service?

It’s the same with websites, by the way. I’ve seen incredible looking websites which did virtually nothing for the business. And I’ve seen ugly websites that were extremely effective at turning a visitor into a customer.

Pretty and popular is nice. But sales effectiveness and lead conversion pay the bills.


EDPA Slides and Audio Playback

Due to popular demand (okay, I had a couple of people ask if these items would be available and for some unknown reason I’m able to accommodate them), here are the slides and the slightly edited live audio recording of the recent presentation I made on social media at the Exhibit Designers and Producers Association annual conference. This was in early December in Jacksonville, Florida. I had a damn good time. I hope you enjoy this.

Note: you should be able to listen to this in ‘real-time’ and follow along with the slides. The presentation is about 45 minutes (with Q&A) and there are 90 slides so you’ll be clicking through, on average, about two slides per minute.

PS. If you listen closely to my advice about blogging, you’ll notice that I’m breaking my own rule with this post.


Social Media Tradeshow Marketing Webinar Slides

Thanks to the 5 dozen+ that attended the webinar last week – here are the slides!


Coming Attraction: Social Media 101 Webinar

Webinar setup

You may have had it up to HERE with social media! In fact, you may not want anything more to do with social media. Too much Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn?

If that’s the case, you can stop reading now and go back to pawing through your vinyl records because this doesn’t pertain to you.

Or you may be so into social media that the thought of learning the basics may seem so boring and old hat that you’d rather stick needles in your eyes. Or at least take a few moments to learn another smartphone app during coffee break. And tweet about it. And post it on Facebook. And hey, maybe even shoot a short video to put up on all of your social media outlets. After all, you have a five minute coffee break, right?

If that is the case, you can also stop reading now, because this is going to get boring!

However, if you’re among the crowd of people that would like to LEARN about Social Media, to learn how to get involved, why to get involved, and even what to do once you’re there – this webinar is for you.

Coming up in less than two weeks, I’m hosting two identical Social Media 101 webinars that will get you up and running on all of those platforms that you keep hearing about: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.

And yes, blogging too! After all, I believe that blogging is the centerpiece of your social media efforts, at least as far as your company is concerned.

The webinar is free, and it’s set for two days so you get a choice: Tuesday the 27th or Thursday the 29th. You can register here.

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photo credit: sridgway


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