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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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Additionally, media is at the show reporting live to their followers, many of whom might not be at the show. “The social media landscape has changed the way information is shared—advancing the immediacy of everything and giving anyone and everyone access to that information, good or bad,” says Julia Coney, editor, “To keep people interested, it’s important to have a six-month plan.”

Get Feedback to Stay on the Right Track

In preparation for a trade show, you can use social media to gauge your audience’s preferences and likes and dislikes, which can be incredibly valuable in determining the focus of your trade show program and live events. “Brands are using social media to truly engage customers, to see and gauge what their interests are within the beauty arena,” says Walsh. “It’s a great tool to help brands become more real, more like a friend—a way to look into the day-to-day of the brand.”

Nelson suggests using a call to action to see what draws interest from your followers. “If you know people (followers) are coming to a trade show, engage them with a tweet, such as, “We’re going to have XYZ at our booth, click here.”

“Social media is also another touch point to our attendees and allows us to interact year-round with them, hear what is interesting and important to them, and hopefully incorporate some of this dialogue into the live event,” adds Jill Birkett, business director, HBA Global.

Choosing the Right Social Media Platforms for Maximum Impact

With the social landscape changing on an almost daily basis, how do you know where to begin? While most agree that, in general, Twitter is an effective tool across the board, the experts agree the key is knowing your audience, knowing where it is spending its time online, and considering the content you are distributing. Several brands try to go with what’s popular, but it’s not necessarily a one-size-fits-all formula for every brand. “Determining the most effective [social media channel] for you will depend on the demographics you’re targeting,” says Nelson. “For example, beauty brands targeting tweens have a better chance of engaging them on Facebook or YouTube.”