Tag Archives: Social Media

Do You Have Over-active Self-centered Social Media Spigot Disease?

I dropped my most verbose LinkedIn connection, a few months back now, and it’s been quite the relief. She started posting entries on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites using Twaitter.com.

The tool was not the problem, but how she used it.

Keeping Connected or Drowning Your Connections?

She automated her posts, most of them, using a repeating sequence of entries, in all of her social media streams.  They were timed to show up every 40 minutes. Monday is one set of messages, Tuesday another, etc.  I started to notice the repetitiveness, even the cheery sounding signoff wishing her connections a good evening.

To be fair, some messages pointed to helpful information on her blog.  But to find them was like a needle in a haystack full of old news and repetitive shilling.

In helping her solve an issue with the same post going into the LinkedIn stream twice at the same time (which meant fully 60% of my stream was her posts), we talked about her use of automation.   She said she received a lot of good new contacts this way.

Understand the Uses for Each Social Media Platform

Now – this could well be true in Twitter, where repetitive messages can help cut through the clutter, and being one in message in such a large stream ensures you will not seem so intrusive.

On LinkedIn, however, most of her contacts presumably know what she is offering – so all they need is an occasional reminder of who she is and how she can help.

This stands as a warning that what works in one medium does not work in another.

Our LinkedIn connections should be treated differently than Twitter followers, Facebook “friends”, Quora followers or Google+ connections.  Each platform has a different timing, feel and etiquette.

Conversation or Monologue?

Social networking is like any networking. If all you have to talk about is yourself, people will get bored quickly and stop listening to what you say.

My advice? Tell us what makes you special and what we should remember about your offerings – but only about 20% of the time.  The rest of the time, share your opinions on the events of the day, drop in where you’re going and what you’re up to, post interesting news items from other people that you we might care about.  Otherwise, we will stop paying attention or, better yet, turn off the spigot with relief.

If your social media “networking” feels like a conversation, we’ll be happy to hear from you.   If you’re the only one in the conversation, it’s a monologue.

Sorry to be blunt, but if you want to engage me in a monologue — I want out.

Disconnecting with Ms Auto-message felt like a breeze picking up on a hot summer day.

~

Deborah Elms is CEO and head of the Trade Show and Event Division of Imprinted Originals.  She is passionate about helping new and growing businesses, non-profit organizations and associations create and retain customers through the effective use of tradeshows & events.

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Social Media Updates for Imprinted Originals Tradeshow & Events Division

It’s now easier to find Imprinted Originals Tradeshows and Events on social media, with a new Facebook page and a renamed Twitter username.

First, our Facebook page, where we share tradeshow, events and marketing news, information and resources — as well as special offers.  Find (and like us to receive up-to-date information) at:  Imprinted Originals Tradeshows & Events Products and Services .

Secondly, our company Twitter username has been changed.  Find and follow us at — it should be read as “Tradeshows Made Easy” —  http://twitter.com/TradeShowsMdEZ

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And to follow Deborah (I follow back clients and networking contacts):

http://www.Facebook.com/Deborah.Elms

http://www.Twitter.com/D_Elms

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What’s the News about Tradeshow Exhibiting? Notes from TS2

I made my way to Boston a few weeks ago for The TS2 Show, also known as “The Tradeshow for Tradeshows”, one of two primary annual shows within the industry itself.

Since we are expanding our reconfigurable, island booth and rental offerings, it made sense to take advantage of what makes trade shows irreplaceable — being able to investigate new vendors and get an up close view of potential new exhibit products, to make sure they meet our standards for quality, impact and usability.

That effort was very successful — we have many exciting new product offerings.  We are still in the process of adding them to our website and in our “Introducing … ” new products blog category, but they are available now.

Exhibitors at this show include both manufacturers reaching out to companies to resell their products and companies like ours, looking for new and updating existing clients.  In addition, the show offers a great opportunity to check out what’s new, what’s working, and what should probably be avoided.

I will highlight some of my impressions from the show, as a way to share some current trends.

Illuminated Fabric Displays

There were wonderful examples of some of my favorite new products in use– illuminated fabric displays.  Created with beautifully “living” dye-sublimated fabric graphics, backlit and side-lit within handsome aluminum supports, these products provide a true high-end look at an almost unbelievably affordable price.

Sized in portable dimensions, tower and custom sizes — they can add emphasis to an existing booth or can be put to work in a central role within newly designed structures.

One example of this type of product — at a size perfect for highlighting a key message, introducing a new product or service, or simply reinforcing the brand visibility — can be seen here:  Double-sided Backlit Fabric Lightbox Display.

Note: there are also Tower and custom-sized versions available, not yet on the site.

Creative Uses of 10′ x 20′ Booth Spaces

An in-line booth which consisted of an approximately double-height backdrop was quite dramatic in a relatively small space. I thought its hodgepodge design, meant to show an array of effects, may not have made the best use of it, however.

Even more interesting, to me, were Island Booths created in 10′ x 20′ spaces.

One used its wood-colored flooring very much like an island, positioning at its center what would normally be a cabinet style display for the back of a booth. Props of lobster traps were positioned around the booth to support the theme which was nautical, also well represented within the display design.  Staff correctly positioned themselves facing in the different directions to engage with passersby.

Another 10′ x 20′ island booth was used to show off features of the exhibitors’ offerings using three distinct elements in a way that suggested a larger booth but left open spaces for visitors to walk in from any direction and engage in conversation with booth staff. This setup reduced costs involved in shipping, drayage and set up, while still projecting a much larger and very finished look.

Even the larger footprint island booths seemed to accentuate their open space at this show, rather than walling in their “turf”.  Chances are some exhibitors were given upgrades to larger island spaces, which could account for less “display” per square foot of booth, but the net effect was quite positive. It felt good not to be hemmed in, and allowed for more natural interactions.

Social Media on Tradeshow Floor

Professionals in the tradeshow, meetings and events industries are paying a lot of attention to social media tools, and the benefit they bring both to show organizers and exhibitors.  So of course there was a Twitter hashtag promoted by the show organizers, and used widely by electronic “participants” from afar and on-site.  If you do a search at search.twitter.com using #TS2show as your query, chances are you may still find comments being made weeks later.

I was also impressed to discover that the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center’s twitter handle @bcecnav was actively engaged in providing information throughout, alerting us to lunch hour, where there was free coffee, and when shuttle buses were available, etc.

The InZone

Then there was the InZone — a 40′ x 40′  space dedicated to gathering, entertaining and educating an interactive “hybrid” audience, made up partly of tradeshow attendees and partly those who watched via video feed and participated via Twitter and other online communities.

A professional tradeshow presenter (Emilie Barta, interviewed elsewhere on this blog) led conversations between experts and end-users about tradeshow and social media topics, especially but not exclusively focusing on the technologies and techniques which were making this experiment possible.  In addition, many of the participants who had previously “met” through networking using Twitter groups such as #eventprofs or #engage365 were able to have a well-appreciated face-to-face conversation.

This was basically a pilot for a concept that associations can use at their conferences, or an exhibitor seeking to create special “buzz” at an important show could implement.  There is great potential in this idea.

To see videos from the InZone, and learn more visit: http://ts2.3d-mediagroup.com/index.php .  And yes it  had/has its own Twitter hashtag #inzone.

I have yet to write a blog entry about my experiences participating in and helping create these kinds of hybrid events – but it’s coming!

Electronics and Event Technology

There were a range of electronic products for lead capturing, as well as interactive and 3-D displays for when it is impractical to bring actual products for demonstrations.  Many of these either used or mimicked iPad or Smart Phone technology.

There was also a product which provides Internet access for a reasonable rental fee — look out convention centers and exhibition organizers in the habit of overcharging!

I look forward to addressing some of these new products in a later blog entry.

Also Worth Noting

Let me mention a few other things that I believe are worth noting from the show, even though not brand-new ideas.

Not surprisingly, based on the work we’ve done for our own clients the last several years, the show was dominated by fabric booths and display components, including portable booths such as: Xpressions Snap, Entasi, and HopUp, as well as reconfigurable and rentable extrusion frames with silicon edged graphics (SEG).  There is good reason for that — lowered shipping and set up costs, ease of use, dramatic results and versatility appeal to essentially all exhibitors these days!

Though sometimes experts warn that using colored carpeting which contrasts with the show’s can create a barrier to attendees entering one’s booth, what I saw reconfirmed my experience that a well chosen color scheme which coordinates flooring with a booth’s graphical theme or coloring can have a quite positive result.

It is so easy to install one’s own wood-style flooring tiles now that there were several booths where exhibitors used it successfully to highlight their space.  It’s also worth noting that we now can offer standard carpeting and carpet tiles that are “green”.

What’s A Tradeshow Without Giveaways?

One odd thing I observed was a booth which made a very big deal about having barrels of beach sandals of different sizes to give away — but made no connection between them and any theme, message, or action item that I saw.  And I can think of so many ways to tie a message to those particular gifts!   It seemed to be a lost opportunity to create a deeper impression.

On the other hand, I will admit that a small part of my choosing to attend the show on the first day that the exhibit hall was open was an offer made by one of the exhibitors, “free flexible keypad for the first X visitors to our booth”. Despite the fact that I can get a sample of almost any promotional item for free or at a reduced cost, it set this exhibitor apart and motivated me even that slight bit more to get to their booth early enough to snag one.

The Boston Convention and Exhibition Center

This was my first visit to the new Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and from what I saw I was impressed.  They seem to be dedicated to providing a 21st century electronically-enabled experience — complete with Twitter handle and messaging mentioned above.

It’s also extremely handy to get to the BCEC from Logan Airport on the T via the Silver Bus Line SL1, and it only takes a few minutes.

Even though TS2 was smaller in size than previous trips, I found it very worth my while.  Participating in industry shows doesn’t just help us, it enhances our ability to support our clients exhibiting successfully at tradeshows.  I could only capture the tip of the iceberg here but I’ll be sharing more with clients throughout the fall season I’m sure.

Because someone will ask – the other major industry tradeshow is Exhibitor, held in March in Las Vegas and much larger.  I was disappointed this year to see that social media was not used particulary effectively by organizers or exhibitors in 2010, but I predict that will change in 2011.  If you are looking for implementation ideas, or help – feel free to reach out to us!

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Deborah Elms is CEO and head of the Trade Show and Event Division of Imprinted Originals.  She is passionate about helping new and growing businesses, non-profit organizations and associations create and retain customers through the effective use of tradeshows & events.

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/D_Elms
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/deborahelms
Exhibiting Success: http://www.imprintedoriginals.com/blog

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SOCIAL MEDIA BEST PRACTICES – A FEW THOUGHTS

I attended a lunch today at the Long Island chapter of the Association of IT Professionals (AITP) that included great presentations by several professionals using and overseeing the use of social media in business and non-profits.

There were lots of great points, and several lists generated about types of social media products and the tools to make a user more effective.

The three take-homes that most striking for me, right off the bat?

#1 A best practice for associations, event organizers and speakers:

The organizer’s Twitter account @AITP_LI_NY tweeted each presenter in advance of the event to ask them to recap what they’d be talking about.  Each reply was RT’d (retweeted) then by the organization, and each presenter, effectively expanding the event’s reach.

#2 A best practice for anybody considering adding social media into their marketing mix – or who has started and needs to double back and make sure they’re making most effective use of their time –

Set 3 to 5 goals, no more, and for each goal, establish strategies, tactics and ROI measurements.  And then use those to make sure activity is in line.

An example?  I’m clear I need to go back through the LinkedIn groups I have accumulated to find those that add the most value to Imprinted Originals’ marketing goals and ignore or leave the rest.

#3  Mentioned by ProfessorJohn:  using social media tools to keep an eye out for and follow potential prospects may require a modification to a business’ privacy policy.

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For more on AITP:  http://aitp-li.org/ .

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LINKEDIN – A FUNDAMENTAL TOOL FOR BUSINESS NETWORKING

LinkedIn is arguably the one online “social networking” tool that all business professionals should include in their marketing/business development kit.

While not directly related to “on the floor exhibiting”, LinkedIn is a simple but sophisticated way to maintain ongoing relationships with clients, vendors, peers, and other trusted resources – as well as to nurture and deepen relationships with potential customers, networking associates and cross-referral partners, for whom you can be a resource as well.

To start, simply go in and add yourself, with as much information as you choose, and send invitations to people you respect to connect with you, and you’re on. You’re at the center of a network of people you know and trust.

Now you can also look for expertise by reaching out to the people in your network – or asking them to look in their further networks for you. You may find that someone you know “knows someone” who could be important for you and they can make an introduction to you or for you.

You can also participate in Question and Answer sessions and / or join Groups based on topic, industry, schools, etc. This way, you can read and learn – or establish your credibility as an expert by answering – or ask your own questions and get answers from peers and what are essentially ad hoc “focus groups” of people similar to or within your own prospect pool.

Groups that may be of interest: Trade Show Professionals, Sales & Marketing Community, MarketingProfs, Event Planning & Management … alumni groups … groups based in your city or state… It’s easy to do a keyword based search. And you can always leave a group if it turns out not to be a match.

On a really basic level, LinkedIn is a way to keep in touch as people move between positions. Recruiters use it regularly. And, outside of the realm of business, you may be able to find long lost friends, classmates or colleagues.

The executive summary of why to use LinkedIn as a tool:

* Develop deeper connections with contacts of all kinds
* Allow people who trust you to find resources among your connections
* Potentially get introductions to your connections’ connections
* Establish credibility and gain knowledge through participation
* Not lose contact when people switch positions or locations

To start, here’s the spot to go to:  LinkedIn: What Is LinkedIn? In addition to help, there is a Q&A section devoted to how to use the tool most effectively.

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