Friday, December 19, 2008

Social Media is the End of Tradeshows

Just about every company is using the current economic crisis as an excuse to re-evaluate its event strategy. More than just a few companies have decided to forgo their booth presence, something that would have been unheard of just a few years ago. Scobleizer puts the blame of the dying tradeshow industry on bloggers and social networks but I think tradeshows have been struggling to show tangible return on ROI for quite some time and social media offers the first successful alternative.

Whatever the reason, social media and web 2.0 are being utilized more than ever to connect with customers. Here are just a few ideas I had when it comes to leveraging these tools to maximize your involvement at a tradeshow:

  • Blogging - okay this is an obvious one but make sure you have one or two people covering the show. Summarize keynotes, write about what's hot and what's not - and not only traditional blog posts but microblogging with Twitter is a great way to make people who aren't at the show feel like they know the major happenings and video can really bring things alive!
  • SMS - if you have a keynote session you can use SMS as a way to poll the audience or take questions.
  • Widgets - Maybe you can create a widget that ties everything together, your blog posts, event schedule, collateral - you can even create a countdown to the show or any other major announcements.
  • Virtual Presence - In lieu of a booth promote and send your customers to an online environment where they can not only attend a virtual event but they can ask questions, network and be part of a community you can grow over time. Check out what ON24, Unisfair and InXpo are doing in this space...
  • PowerPoint - Post your webcast and keynote presentations on your community (ie. Facebook), on your blog and on SlideShare to extend the reach of the content.
  • Mobility - Leverage the fact that everyone has a cell phone these days. Allow people to see the event schedule from their phones and offer to provide reminders to your events. Provide mobile promotions where you can send links to content or videos to those who request them. You an even enable your sales folks to send mobile business cards to people they meet.
If you have other ideas I'd love to hear about them...

4 comments:

Steven Woods said...

I think you're onto a good point that tradeshows are not necessarily dead, as the title says, but more just need to be rethought in terms of how they are approached. Marketers who don't consider the new media available like blogs, twitter, etc, in thinking through their tradeshow strategy, are missing an opportunity. Face to face interactions and a focused audience will still have a purpose, but it may change significantly from its prior role, much like radio transformed, but stayed alive, after the advent of television.

Troy Bingham said...

I can see what you are getting out but I think they will be used in conjunction with not opposing to Trade Shows.

LaSandra Brill said...

@ Troy - I agree. I guess what I should have said is that social media offers a catalyst to make tradeshows more succussful and ultimately create a more tangible ROI.

Wakezilla said...

LaSandra,

I completely agree with you. I think social media offers a HUGE opportunity to maximize the effectiveness of tradeshows and other events. There are so many ways to engage the visitors before, during, and after the event utilizing multiple social media platforms.

I hope you don't mind I resposted (and gave credit) on inSocialMedia.com

Regards,

Nelson Bruton