Thursday, December 1, 2011

Trade Show Marketing and Social Media

The ever growing influence of social media marketing has opened up whole new worlds of available initiatives that can be integrated into your trade show marketing, both to increase attendance and engagement, as well as the bottom line. Proper utilization of these platforms and an organized strategy can dramatically increase the overall success of your trade show efforts.

Here are some practical tips to implement immediately for your next show, broken down by social platform:

1. Use your Fanpage to create an Event! Don't just post on your Wall that you are exhibiting, this has very little shelf life if your page is active. Creating an Event has many benefits: It is automatically posted to your Wall with a clean look. When someone registers, they get a continual reminder of the Event in their home feed. As well, their friends are notified that are attending, giving you even greater exposure. It is also easily shared among users. Do this a few weeks before the show. Be sure the Event includes a nice image and description including booth number, show info, and any initiatives for give away's (such as scanning a QR code or Twitter contests) to entice them to visit you! A bonus for those utilizing Facebook properly: If you have a personal profile set up correctly to have "lists, you can then use these lists to INVITE people through Facebook as well.

2. Create a Photo Album specific to the Trade show, and label it as the name of the show. This will help you organize pictures over time, and as well, it makes it easy to send people to a specific place on your page to look through pictures by show. In this album, post pics of your display, the staff, the crowd at the show…everything that shows your presence. Be creative!

3. Post a reminder a week before the show on your Wall. Be sure to TAG the show in your post if they also have a Facebook presence. This will put a post on THEIR wall as well. Be sure to include your booth number in this post. As well, if you are doing any give away's or other social initiatives (such as Twitter or QR codes) be sure to include this in the post.

4. At the show, if you can utilize the Facebook video app (and you happen to have a computer with a webcam) shoot a quick "hello" vid to announce you are there. We do this at every show, and we get a ton of feedback on it! A shot from a recent show:

If you currently have a blog, here is your chance to write the inside story about your trade show presence. Before the show, talk about the preparations you are making. Include any display upgrades (or that NEW display!), some give aways you are pondering on, or the pains of developing new graphics. After the show, post about the experiences you had during the show as well as after show activities, dinners and more. Blogs are meant to be the unfettered voice of your company, the place where you let your hair down a bit and let people connect on a personal level by reading about your trade show experience. Use pictures and/or video to enhance the experience. Be sure to use outbound links as well to your other platforms (for example, put a link to your Facebook page Event tab to have people register before the show, or to a full photo album on Flikr or Facebook after the show) as these are powerful for SEO.

1. Find out what Hashtag and Twitter handle is being used for the show marketing and interactions, and use them in your Tweets. This makes your Tweets available to not only your followers, but anyone following the show.

2. Tweet out during the show to give people a "real time" interaction with you. This brings them into your world, and if some clients or prospects couldn't come this time, it may entice them to come the next. Don't overdo it. Five or so relevant Tweets is enough per day. Use pics in a Tweet once in a while to enhance the experience.

3. Use Twitter for part of your give aways! Asking people to mention you to be entered into a drawing is a simple way to garner more attention and create some more followers. An example is given from a recent show we exhibited in. This was printed on 8x11 sintra and placed in our display area.


If pictures are worth a thousand words, videos are an encyclopedia set. Aside from the Facebook video post I suggested earlier (which may not feasible for many without a webcam ) you should be utilizing YouTube to create a video compilation for before, during and after if possible. Most smart phones have great vid cams now, perfect for YouTube! Video can be a powerful SEO and engagement tool. You could videotape the set up of the display and run it through iMovie or similar to create a time lapse fun vid, a member of your team doing a presentation, or just a quick pan of the exhibit hall. Again, this a great chance to be creative!


You can use flikr to host all of your pictures. I still suggest putting a photo album on Facebook as users like the simplicity of going to this platform. The reason we add Flikr, is that when photos aretagged properly (such as with the show name) they are now Google searchable. So if someone searches for images for the PPAI show for example in Google, your properly tagged pics may come up, giving you additional exposure. Facebook photos are not found outside of Facebook.

QR Codes

We love them! QR codes started a couple of years ago with limitations due to the technology available in smart phones. Now, they can do almost anything you wish. Use them to bring people to a specific website, to download .pdf's, download a vCard, even use to create contests, sweepstakes or drawings! An example of a recent QR initiative we did is below, where we had people scan a QR to be entered into a Starbuck's card drawing. From this, we were able to gather a lot of info about them, and they are now connected to us. This was printed on a 30x30 coroplast and placed in our display space.


Geo-location/mobile marketing continues it's growth with more and more people on smart phones. Utilizing a platform like Foursquare, exhibitors can set up a location, and ask people to "check in" to enter drawings and connect. Some facilities may inhibit the reception of such location based apps, so best to be sure of the location if you can before you implement a large initiative around it.

We hope these basic tips will help you start or improve your social media marketing integration! Please contact us at 203-491-0306 to discuss specifics, or email us at generalmail@talkingfinger. Also, see our very interactive Facebook page filled with tips and tricks and information. We engage all day and night at

And post YOUR thoughts below, or on our Facebook page!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Facebook's New Look

I didnt plan on making a blog post…but Im sitting here checking out the new Facebook profile, and I have to admit, I'm really liking it! Just as I was complaining not two days ago about the changes with settings on our Home feeds that killed chronological order (since returned :-), I have to marvel at the superb job on the navigation and ease of use, as well as the totally cool features and apps available for them. Plus I think it just looks frikkin sweet.

I still need to experiment more with the privacy settings, and one or two other elements, but otherwise I'm impressed. It will take a little while for the average user to figure it all out, and seasoned vets of the digital landscape only a brief session. People coming back from a long hiatus from facebook will be a bit challenged. Especially the changes in privacy and "what am I sharing" questions with some terminology and list changes.

In any event, just wanted to give you a little of what my early perceptions are. I plan on sitting and writing my full thoughts once I explore it's capabilities a bit more, and what it could mean for businesses...oh yes! There is a method behind the madness (or something like that).

UPDATED: We created a great video series to help you through this change, including how to create and manage lists, privacy, using the Timeline feature and much more. Part one starts here: Timeline Video

And if you want YOUR new profile NOW, visit our Facebook page. There is a video to explain how you can upgrade now.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Multi-Level Marketing and Social Media Marketing: A Marriage Made In Failure

I have been involved in multi-level marketing (MLM) before, several times. For some products and services, it is fantastic. It creates ways to get reduced pricing on quality items and services, business opportunities for entrepreneurs with little start up money, and is a great way for some people to make a great living, and for others to supplement their income part time. I did well in one of the opportunities, and terrible in the other! What you put in, you get out. Simple.
I never thought I would see the day when marketing itself would become a multi-level marketing entity! Yes, you heard it here. There is now a company that is basically a multi-level marketing entity that is selling social media marketing tools and "support".
Had I never been involved in MLM, I may think this would be a good idea. But since I have experience in both MLM and 20+ years of traditional and new media marketing background, let me break down why buying something as important to your business as social media from an MLM source is probably not the best idea.

1. Lack of experience. So far, having researched this company, you can get in with absolutely no marketing background at all. I can pay to join the MLM, get my portfolio of tools to sell, and off I go. In reality, social media marketing is a complex entity, and growing more so every day. While lack of experience will still get you some results, and cool tools will make it look pretty, having a marketing background is what separates mediocrity and real results. Having looked at ten of this company's re-sellers, I can tell you they haven't the foggiest idea what ROI even stands for.

2. Here today, gone tomorrow. The retention rate in MLM is about 20%. This means that 80% of MLM participants will drop out within the first year. In essence, trusting your business's most important element (marketing) to a source that has an 80% chance of disappearing on you in the next year can be a bit scary. As well, over 90% of MLM participants are involved with their MLM only part time...well, you can figure out the problem here.

3. Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters? Might as well. Beyond the tools and online info you can get from them, can you call someone to discuss a strategy? An issue? What if someone just posted on your wall and you don't know how to handle it? What about your Facebook ads? How can you interpret insights? Facebook changed a setting, how do I adjust it? Any reputable agency will answer your call and help you...and be ABLE to help you. Real social media agencies live and breathe social media marketing and continually educate themselves on webinars, at seminars and digest tons of white papers and watch trends. It's moving way too fast now. Not being involved every day all day is long term failure.

4. Strategy is king. There is no such thing as "viral" explosion to your Facebook page, and more than this, no such thing as just getting it out there and getting windfalls of prospects and a huge ROI. It takes engagement, relationship building, cross marketing and it must fit in with the other marketing you are doing to work well. It must work with your other social media platforms, using each platform to help bring people to the platform they would most like to hear from you on. "Viral" marketing on facebook brings you some likes and may jump your numbers up a bit...but how qualified are they really? Creating a personalized, developed strategy that integrates with your other marketing (both traditional and new media) is paramount for success.

5. REAL tools and customization. Plug in designer tools are cool. You can get a decent look, and if you are a "mom and pop" business that doesn't care so much about branding, go for it. For those businesses that have a branded look, nothing beats true graphic design capability. Pantone colors are important, the layout or look of each entity (such as the sidebar or landing/welcome page graphic) is paramount to looking professional, and having someone you can go back and forth with who has a graphic background and experience is important. Graphic design has actually come down in prices , so not utilizing talented individuals who can separate you from the plug-in crowd is a no-brainer.

7. Beyond Facebook. Social media isnt just Facebook. While they are the largest piece of the puzzle, having an agency or professional that can help you determine what integrations you should make are important to long term success. As well, having a branded look and strategy across these platforms will be the deciding factor of ROI. Start on Facebook, but don't forget YouTube, Twitter, linkedIn, and other platforms work together and with your traditional marketing to create the ultimate platform. When you develop across all mediums, you dramatically increase your sales funnel.

Research who you decide to use to handle your social media marketing. Interview them. Ask to see their LinkedIn profile (if they don't have one...RUN!!!), ask their marketing experience, look at what other social media platforms they utilize. Do they give seminars or webinars? Can you speak to any of their clients for references?

In essence, social media has gone beyond "playtime". It has become a serious marketing tool that deserves serious attention and professional support. Companies and businesses who realize the long term potential and develop their social media along these lines will be the ones who grab market share, create real relationships and advocacy and generate ROI. The ones who would like to play with simplistic tools and treat it like an ancillary tool will get ancillary results.

You may now kiss the bride.