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


Tweets You Probably Missed

The average tweet lives for 18 minutes. At least, that’s according to the AWeber blog, the platform that hosts my newsletter. Which means that most people never see your tweet. I mean, what, a million tweets a second pour out of the platform, right? Actually, I checked. It’s less than that – around 6,000 per second. But that adds up to about half a billion tweets per day.

Which means you probably missed most of my tweets. That makes me…sad? Disappointed? Hard to say. I mean, social media is what it is. But hey, I’ve had some fun and informative and hopefully useful tweets. Thought I’d re-post a few and give you a second chance. And of course, invite you over to my Twitter page here.

7 Ways to Create Social Media Buzz Before the Tradeshow

So you wanna create social media buzz before the tradeshow but aren’t sure exactly how to pull it off? Of course there are dozens of strategies and tactics that will raise your profile above the average company, but not all will work in all situations and of course nothing is guaranteed. Your tweets and Instagram posts could be swept away by an unforeseen event or distraction that swoops up the eyeballs you were hoping to grab!

Create Social Media Buzz
Bob Moore of Bob’s Red Mill marches into Expo West with a dixieland band.

One of the most memorable methods was one I saw years ago when Griffin refurbished an old VW bus and drove across the country for a couple of weeks, tweeting and posting photos and videos all the way. By the time they drove the bus onto the tradeshow floor, hundreds of people were waiting for them. So you might consider how to play up your travel to the event. It might grab attention if it’s different than the norm. Anyone want to bounce from SF to LA on a pogostick wearing a branded shirt? Hey, just a thought!

So here are some more thoughts and ideas on how to create a little social media buzz prior to the show:

  1. Know the show hashtag, so that everything you put out is trackable and findable by show followers, whether they follow your actual account or not.
  2. If you have new products or services, create a teaser video or three and get them out onto your social media platforms.
  3. Maybe you’re going to debut a new exhibit at the show. Work with your exhibit house to tease elements of the exhibit with photos prior to the show.
  4. Consider creating a special landing page on your website just for the show. Let people make appointments, view more videos, learn about new products, get invited to parties, sign up for email or text notifications, whatever.
  5. If you have a company CEO or other management member speaking at the show or being part of a panel, be sure to include that in any information you post. And if you’re sponsoring a specific event or area of the show, don’t forget that.
  6. Got a contest or something else to draw people to your booth? Start promoting the contest online a week or so prior to the show. Any sooner and it becomes old quickly. Wait too long and you won’t reach as many people.
  7. Create a special hashtag just for your company for just this show and invite people to post photos of themselves wearing your product using the hashtag. Draw several prize winners from among the photos during the show and give away a bunch of your products to both show attendees and those that weren’t able to attend.

By engaging with attendees prior to the show, you create social media buzz that increases the odds you’ll draw more people to your booth during the show. If you manage to come up with this year’s VW bus promotion that goes viral, you might even get a raise!

14 Proven Steps to Tradeshow Success [Webinar Replay]

Last fall I put out the book “Tradeshow Success: 14 Proven Steps to Take Your Tradeshow Marketing to the Next Level.” I’ve done several promotions around it, given away a bunch of copies, and use it as my main calling card.

But I’ve never done a webinar on the book. Until now. Check it out:

You can pick up a digital copy of the book at Or get your own copy here.

Tradeshow Memes Gone Wild

I hadn’t seen more than a couple of tradeshow memes until I stumbled across a Tumblr by Anders Boulanger, otherwise known as Anders the TradeshowInfotainer, called simply TradeshowMemes. There are some great ones there, but if you poke around the corners of the internet, there are quite a few out there. So let’s have a little fun and go through a few here:

Want to make some on your own? Check out MemeGenerator and see what you can come up with. And be sure to share!

Click Here to Get Your Digital Copy of My New Book

Expo West 2015: Blisters, Wacky Booth Awards and Show Reflections

After 62,219 steps, a couple of achy legs and a few foot blisters in four days of Expo West, it came to me: “Tradeshows ain’t for wimps!” Certainly not if you’re walking the floor, nor if you’re an exhibitor who’s shepherding a booth (and staff) from the home office location to the show floor, through day(s) of set-up, three days of visitors, then dismantling and shipping it back. Thanks to Fitbit’s tracking device that’s 28.96 miles, give or take…

Tradeshows ain’t for wimps. I know it, and every year I say the same thing: I should have gone into training for this about six weeks ago.

Depending on whom you listen to and believe and what rumors are flying, this year’s Expo West, held at the Anaheim Convention Center, drew around 80,000 visitors, a one-third boost from last year. Or, as one exhibitor confided, a New Hope rep told her that the total attendance (attendees and exhibitors) was north of 110,000 and growth was so substantial that they were looking to demand some more space and concessions from the convention center, or within a few years it could be ‘Sayonara, Anaheim, hello Las Vegas!’

Like I said, rumors.

Flash Drives: @Tradeshowguy Exhibitor Toolkit

The @tradeshowguy Exhibitor Toolkit
The @tradeshowguy Exhibitor Toolkit

My calling card this year wasn’t a card; it was a flashdrive that contained a lotta stuff to help exhibitors.  I took six dozen and they all found a home, except for the one that stayed in the bottom of my backpack. I loved that they were quite well-received by those I offered them to: “You’re showing me how to bring home more leads, get more PR and have a better-trained booth staff? I’ve been waiting for this!” Did you get one? Would you like one? It’s available now online: download your toolkit here.

Social Media

As always, I keep abreast of happenings on the show floor via Twitter, and, increasingly, via Instagram. It’s easy to post photos to either, but from the Instagram platform, you can also post directly to Facebook and Twitter, so that makes it an easy choice to start there. Loads of exhibitors and attendees are hanging out on both platforms, and it’s easy to follow them by tracking the hashtags #expowest and #expowest2015. Hey, I got some freebies this way, and also entered a few contests that I previously would not have run across. (Hey NutraSumma, call me when I win that mountain bike, okay?)

Booth Awards

This year’s show was, as usual, quite the extravaganza. And the booths (and attendees) ranged from ghastly to elegant to stunning. Let’s hand out a few awards, shall we?

Coolest Interactive

While there were certainly a lot of companies looking to find ways to get visitors to interact with their booth, the So Delicious booth found a nice way to get people involved by ‘sharing the love’ with chalk on a large chalkboard at the back of their booth.



Most Unsubtle Header

Boomchickapop decided to go all in. I can hear the discussion now: “Hey, let’s take the name of the product, make it as big as possible and add a lot of PINK! Whaddaya say, gang?” Well, it works. It gets you to stop, take a look and see what they’re all about.


Most Iconic Cut-Outs

A year or two ago, the new Pope was featured in a cut-out. I didn’t see him this year, but I did see Will Ferrell, The Queen of England and Dr. Thayer. I probably missed some others.


Big Ass Colorful Graphic

Natrol’s booth sat up front at the entrance to the hall, and to grab people’s attention, they installed a graphic that must have measured about 8’ x 30’. Big. Colorful. And not the only one. The booth had big ass graphics on all sides, so you couldn’t miss ‘em.


Biggest Coconuts

A large pair of coconuts on the back wall of Zico’s booth caught my eye and drew me in for a taste of chilled juice blend.


Biggest Boobs

A tough battle between Bamboobies (the girls with the pink hair) and the giant walking boobs of milkmakers, who were promoting their product with the hashtag #hoorayforboobies, and I think the boobs from milkmakers won out.


Best Stairway to Heaven (or at least the second floor)

Nature’s Path showed up with a clever booth that showed a layered look from the floor to the 16 foot level, including a stairway up the middle to a private meeting area.


Busiest Graphic Backwall

Not always a good award to win because people don’t often stop to read the whole damn thing; nonetheless, this one from Powercrunch was arresting.


Best Iconic Brand Knockoff

While Beyond Meat will never be mistaken for McDonald’s, they did work hard to pull the look and feel of Mickey D’s into their booth to show how their meatless product compares. Nicely done!


Most Elegant Look

Simplicity and function are their own reward. This was accomplished by the designers of the new booth for Portland’s Pacifica.


I look forward to Expo West every year; this was my 13th consecutive year at the Anaheim gathering. It’s had astonishing growth in that time (and it was big back then!), and it appears to be anticipating even more growth in the next half-decade. The Natural Products Industry has done well of late with healthy and intriguing products, dramatic competition and an increasing market for those products.

Our company, Communication One Exhibits, has about a dozen current and former clients at Expo West this year, and we’d love to add more. Want a booth for your next show? Click here. We love making you look good, whether it’s at Expo West or any other show.

Online Customer Service: a Personal Experience

Okay, it’s only happened a couple of times to me, but they were both significant, so they’re worth recounting.

When I moved last year, Comcast said the best way to transfer service to my new house was to just take all the equipment to the new location and give ‘em a call when the hook-up was complete and they’d just turn the switch and voila! we’d have service!

Well, generally speaking, that happened, except for one thing. I have online voice mail access, and no matter what I was doing, or who or how often I was calling, or who was at the other end of the line, they couldn’t make my voice mail appear online. It worked fine on the phone, but I was used to checking it online. For whatever reason, Comcast insists on creating a whole new account when you move and transferring everything over, which was one of the main reasons the voice mail wouldn’t transfer seamlessly.

After several calls in 8 weeks and several promises that it would happen, in my frustration I tweeted:


  @Comcastwill responded right away and connected me with a tech who solved the problem within 24 hours:  


In another instance, my company was  having an ongoing discussion over disagreements in a contract with Cision after we had leased Radian6 to use for social media research for a client. It seemed no matter how we responded or whom we responded to, it was as if no one was listening. The emails, phone calls and letters we sent were ignored. When we did get a communication from Cision, it was always a new person with no knowledge of any previous communication, and the conversation had to start all over from the beginning. We even sent the CEO a registered letter hoping to at least get someone’s attention, but to no avail.

Finally I posted this on Twitter:

Within a couple of days (it wasn’t immediate), I heard back from someone at Cision asking for a phone number so they could contact me. I gave it to them, and was contacted by someone that was actually interested in helping us resolve the issue. It took a few weeks and some back and forth, but it was resolved to our satisfaction.

It really shouldn’t surprise me, but customer service is very active on Twitter. Is it because companies are dedicating resources to tracking online conversations, or manning the Twitter accounts? Are they afraid of having a negative experience go viral, which has happened too many times to count? Is it just smart business? Or is it something else?

Whatever the impetus, I like that there is often a quick way to get someone’s attention and get issues resolved.

What Have You Done For Me Lately?

There’s an old Janet Jackson hit song that asks the question: what have you done for me lately?

Not only does the question apply in love relationships (as in the song), but it applies to you in your relationship to your customers and clients.

It applies in your social media efforts, your tradeshow marketing schedule and your other marketing endeavors.

Did you post a terrific article on your company blog last week that helped solve a big problem that your industry faces? Awesome. What’s next?

Did you make a stunning appearance at the last big tradeshow and leave your clients and potential customers wide-eyed and amazed? Great. What are you doing at the next show?

Did you host a Twitter chat recently that got a lot of industry folks involved while you posed and answered questions? Cool. When’s the next one scheduled?

Did you put together a nice little video and post it on your YouTube channel last week that illuminated an issue in your industry – and your insight may help people move forward with more confidence? Excellent! What about this week?

Get the message? Everything you do recedes into the past, and it recedes rather quickly.

One of the folks I follow on Facebook is an old rock-and-roller from the Sixties. For months he’d update us about his activities: new tour, travel adventures, fan meetings, etc., and posted numerous photos of all of those activities.

When he went silent I didn’t actually notice it for several weeks. Then when it dawned on me I wasn’t catching his postings, I wondered if it was because he was dead. Okay, I didn’t really think that seriously, but it crossed my mind! Then I mused it might be because of the weird algorithms that Facebook uses to determine what information shows up in your news stream. Then it occurred to me that he might have simply stopped posting things.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Any salesperson will tell you that the hardest thing, especially if you’re selling a long-cycle product, is to stay ‘top-of-mind’ with your market.

I’ve missed making exhibit sales to companies in the past that I simply hadn’t called in six months. They knew who I was, they were aware of my company’s capabilities and skills – and my interest in working with them – and yet, when it came time to choose an exhibit company, they chose another company that was more ‘on their mind’ than I.

Trying to keep the hopper full in marketing, whether online, social media, tradeshow, traditional or some combination, is to attempt to feed a beast that will never be satisfied. If you’re a blogger, your readers want to know what’s next. If you’re on Twitter, yesterday’s tweets are yesterday’s news. Last month’s tradeshow is history.
It’s all history. It all recedes quickly.

So: are you staying on people’s minds?

Are you feeding the beast?

What have you done for me lately?

(photo by Dan Ingram, used by permission)

Case Study: Classic Exhibits and Social Media at EXHIBITOR 2012

Late in 2011, Mel White, the VP of Marketing and Business Development at Classic Exhibits Inc., contacted me to ask if I’d be interested in guiding their social media efforts at EXHIBITOR 2012 in early March.

“Sounds intriguing!”

So we set out a plan. Our main goal was to create as much buzz as possible (on a limited budget) leading up to the event. The plan was to shoot 2-3 entertaining teaser videos before the show. The videos would slowly reveal the concept and design of Classic’s new 20 x 30 display, a booth that would showcase their most popular 10’ inline exhibits.

Starting three weeks before the show, we started posting short teaser videos. The videos slowly revealed the “Be Better” concept using a lighthearted investigative reporter approach.  Getting the inside scoop from Classic was the main theme.  They appeared on the Tradeshowmarketing YouTube channel, here on Tradeshowguy Blog, and on Classic Exhibits’ blog, Trade Show Tales. In addition, we posted these on Classic’s LinkedIn group and Facebook page. Almost immediately, traffic to Classic’s blog tripled.

At the show, we posted more videos, shot a lot of photos, and met a host of people who saw the video. All of this was tweeted about and shared on Facebook as well.

So what did all of this social media activity get us? Let’s take a look and count the numbers where we’re able.

The four Classic Exhibits-related videos gathered a total of 760 views on YouTube (the five non-Classic Exhibits-related videos, by contrast, got a total of 177 views).

During the show, I counted about 20 people who made a comment after recognizing me (and my classic old Stetson Bogie-style hat) from the videos. According to Mel White, of the over 230 leads at the show, about 40 percent mentioned either the videos or the blog posts. In fact, Mel stated, “We’ve been exhibiting at EXHIBITOR for nearly 20 years. This year we doubled the number of end-user leads compared to past years. Some of that was the exhibit design, but the videos attracted customer to our space who would not have visited us otherwise.  More than anything, the videos boosted our ‘cred’ with our distributors. We were viewed as the social media innovator at the show.”

A few of the results:

  • Various links and comments I made on Twitter about EXHIBITOR (both Classic Exhibit-related and non-related tweets) got mentioned and/or re-tweeted to over 36,000 people.
  • TradeshowguyBlog posts related to Classic Exhibits/Exhibitor have received 265 total views.
  • YouTube search ranking for ‘EXHIBITOR 2012’ showed ALL videos on the front page of the search results, taking the Top 3 spots and 5 of the Top 10.
  • Google search results for ‘Exhibitor 2012’ were less impressive, although a podcast recap of the adventures in Las Vegas at EXHIBITOR and in Anaheim at Expo West showed up in the Top 5.
  • On Bing, a search for ‘EXHIBITOR 2012 video’ showed a Classic Exhibits blog entry as the top result.

Bottom line: From my perspective, it was a fun and worthwhile project, both for branding Classic Exhibits and as @tradeshowguy at the show. With all of the views and positive feedback, it added up to a win/win for both!

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