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Using Social Media to Enhance Face-to-Face Encounters

By: Rob Murphy
Posted: November 1, 2011, from the November 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

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“In general, daily engagement that works includes tips of the day, educational videos, behind-the-scenes pictures and videos from behind the scenes, and posting or tweeting photos of celebrities using your product,” says Koetting. “Anything to activate the audience, such as putting up a new product and asking your followers to name a color for [it] or post a photo of them wearing the product, will greatly increase engagement.

“At trade shows and other live events, Twitter is a great way to make people feel as though they are part of the event without having to be there. Engage them by letting them ask questions that can be answered virtually, as well as on stage or in the booth,” adds Koetting.

Social media, when used properly, provides a phenomenal opportunity to connect with consumers on a personal level. However, there are ways that brands fail at using a social platform correctly. For instance, Nelson points out, “The biggest thing I see is that several companies automatically think, ‘We’re a brand. Therefore, all we’re going to do is talk about our products.’ When a brand does this, it is just talking to itself. It tends to have no replies, retweets or dialogue with its audience.”

“A brand can build loyalty, excitement and trust if it handles social media properly. Social media is literally the voice of your company, and many brands were giving this role to a very young person with very little experience in the company or in the industry and this is a huge mistake,” says Walsh. “Think of social media as the person you would put on TV to represent your brand on the #1 TV morning show. It is a vital role, and this is also why many brands’ CEOs are very involved in tweeting and the key messaging on Facebook.”

A face-to-face event is an opportunity to create a memorable brand experience. It’s also a platform from which the brand and other influencers can create content and conversation via online and offline channels. Social media, used in conjunction with a trade show or face-to-face event, can help you reach a larger audience exponentially—whether its following and retweeting the trade show organizer’s tweets or taking advantage of the show’s hashtag.