After getting an email from Ewan MacDougall and his link to an interesting infographic on how tradeshows impact the environment, I got to thinking about how social media might help to mitigate some of those impacts.
Okay, it sounds like a good idea: using social media to reduce your impact on the environment while attending a tradeshow. But can we really make that idea work in a substantial way?
The most obvious ways would be to move most, if not all, of your tradeshow promotions to social media. Tweet it out, post Facebook updates and load videos onto YouTube and Facebook to promote your appearance at the show. It’s much more environmentally friendly than sending postcards or other mailers.
And of course, you can make documents such as brochures and other typical handouts available as a downloadable PDF. By incorporating the use of QR Codes, you can invite attendees to grab the documents easily through their smart phone. Just remember to optimize the landing page so they can actually READ it on their phone!
But what about other methods? Can Twitter be used for more than just a Tweetup or to send out promo messages? Sure, you can actually send out links to your downloadable PDFs and toot your own horn (tweet your horn?). You can also put up a sign inviting people to send out a tweet using an @ symbol and promise to send back a link to the downloadable brochures or documents. You can even set this up as an autoresponder to anyone who sends you a message using the Twitter @ symbol. The caveat here is to make sure that once the show is over to discontinue the autoresponder.
Facebook can also be used to post all of those documents (or at least links to them). Create a “Notes” page under your company profile listing the documents and invite people to “like” you – which then gives them access to the documents. In fact, your autoresponder Twitter reply could be used to invite people to “like” your Facebook page to grab the free brochures and other documents that you’d normally handout at the show.
The downside of using auto-reply tweets is that they’re so common and probably overused and are often ignored. So you’ll have to make sure that your sign promoting the free goodies encourages them to check their Twitter message in box.
There are some aspects of tradeshow marketing that are more difficult to reduce carbon usage. Travel, for instance. Hard to avoid flying if you’re traveling hundreds or thousands of miles to go to a 4-day show. But I know that some airlines allow you to check in via your smart phone. Using other apps, such as Yelp to find a good restaurant, or Skype to talk with people internationally for free, also helps reduce cost and time. Southwest was the first airline to release an iPhone app (in 2009) and many others followed suit.
There are also iPhone apps, such as SAP’s Carbon Tracker, that allow you to track every aspect of your business activities that relate to your carbon footprint. Simply by knowing your carbon impact, you’ll find ways to cut down. And as they say, every little bit helps!