Expo! Expo! Sneak Peak

Originally published by Trade Show Executive August 2017 Edition

I always enjoy writing this month’s article because I get to officially tell you about all the great new things we have planned for attendees at this year’s Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition. I can confidently say that IAEE is in a unique position to provide attendees what no other organization can, and that is the “show for shows.” But if we step back for a moment, isn’t that what we’re all trying to do? To create that definitive “something” that makes our organizations and, ultimately, our shows THE event to attend in your specific industry? Planning for each year’s Expo! Expo! starts more than a year out from show date and I am truly grateful for the awesome staff that not only puts on the “show for shows,” but brings you, the exhibitions and events community, year-round content and programming that is timely and relevant.

It’s All About Connections at this year’s Expo! Expo! on 28-30 November in San Antonio, Texas. This theme has given us plenty to think about, and we have taken the opportunity to focus on the feedback we have received from members on the areas of interest that are at the top of most people’s “meeting wish list” right now.

One of the accomplishments we are most proud of is the reputation Expo! Expo! has built on its exceptional education programming and networking opportunities, making it the “show for shows.” Our Education Committee received more than 130 session proposals this year! The vast expanse of information presented helped us hone in on the following three areas of development: research informed; data guided; and experience design, all infused with technology and innovation in mind.

Expo! Expo! continues its strong commitment to providing the most diverse product mix marketplace in the industry and as the leading industry platform for innovative solutions. The Tech Start Up Program, now in its third year, will design greater experiences for attendees to interact and engage with emerging technologies. The attendee and exhibitor mobile app and beacon tech will provide a brand-new user experience that will enhance connections with peers and give greater insight and interaction with show content. New show technology partners have come into the mix, further emphasizing Expo! Expo! as the tech laboratory for the industry.

Other new initiatives created to enhance the Connections made at Expo! Expo! include the Women’s Leadership Experience, sponsored by Experient, which will include a panel discussion with a life-hack gathering activity; a unique, communal learning and networking experience that will include six rounds of 15-minute discussions on various topics such as Ask the Expert, Leadership and Personal Development, Technology Use Cases and Personal Style Inspiration; and special programming for university/college students and faculty.

View the Expo! Expo! Schedule at a Glance!

In the coming months, I will be delving further into the new ideas and concepts we are exploring at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2017. In the meantime, visit the Expo! Expo! website at www.myexpoexpo.com.

I look forward to connecting with you in San Antonio this November!

David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA
President & CEO
IAEE

Art of the Show Competition Winners Circle: Signage/Décor

The IAEE Art of the Show Competition’s Signage/Décor category evaluates printed and/or digital signage and décor used throughout the show. Judging criteria includes: overall presentation, visual appeal and creativity; usefulness of the signage and its content; how the signage/décor contributes to the overall “theme” of the event; and effectiveness of signage placement and décor throughout the show.

In today’s IAEE Blog, we highlight the winners of last year’s Signage/Décor category:

Under 75,000 nsf
FreemanXP – Tom Yurkin/Nora Summers
Oracle Modern Marketing Conference 2016

Leaders in customer service convened at Oracle Modern Marketing Conferences 2016 to participate in hands-on workshops, product demonstrations, and network during interactive breakouts that showcased best practices to help turn the attendee’s customers into brand advocates. For the signage and décor, multiple shows blended into one encompassing event that is attendee and message focused and environmentally conscious. Bold iconography and color palette were used to divide the space and direct attendees between the marketing, sales, commerce and service areas.

The goals and objectives for the signage and décor involved creating a clean, impactful, and reconfigurable suite of signage and registration elements that could be reused over multiple years and scalable for use within an array of venues. A cohesive look was created that reinforced Oracle’s modern brand. Sustainability was essential while incorporating Freeman rental elements like SmartPanels and Smart Counters. This also included using generic branded graphics that could be reused from year to year. In addition to the registration area and expo area, the look and feel was extended throughout the show experience.

Between 75,001 and 200,000 nsf
GES
WVC 88th Annual Conference

Since 1928, the Western Veterinary Conference (WVC) has provided comprehensive, progressive and practical continuing education opportunities to veterinary professionals from all over the world. The WVC Annual Conference brings together the best and brightest veterinary professionals for five days, who learn from expert instructors and gain knowledge that they can return to their practice and put to use immediately. With more than 1,000 hours of CE available, the conference is an opportunity to earn all required CE in one place. Offered in a world-class destination that is also cost effective for travel and accommodation, 97% of last year’s attendees said they would recommend attending the conference to a colleague.

The offerings are delivered by WVC use state-of-the-art facilities, methods and technologies. GES partnered with WVC early in the event development cycle to leverage WVC’s existing brand, as well as expand upon it to reflect WVC’s advances in its core areas. Graphics were inspired by design elements found in touchscreen user interfaces, in combination with lifestyle and workplace images that reflected the broad range and scope of the products and services offered by WVC. The images and graphics selected were designed to appeal not only to longtime members of WVC, but also to capture the imagination of younger members who expect data products to be accessible and hands-on resources to reflect the cutting edge in the industry.

The Registration Area was innovative and inviting. The architecture consisted of sleek, kiosk style registration stations staffed by the WVC team. This innovative design challenged the more transactional “over the counter” approach used in most exhibition environments and resulted in a more engaging experience for attendees. Functionality was priority number one since the WVC Annual Conference is a large event. When the doors of the registration area swing open, a crush of eager attendees descends upon the area. Therefore, several functional requirements must be met in the WVC registration area. GES worked closely with WVC to understand its workflow and spent the time necessary in the discovery phase to ensure the designs addressed the show’s true requirements.

The entrance design drew guests in to the central hall area of the WVC booth and functioned as the “grand hallway.” The Online Learning “Genius Bar” became a gathering place where participants charged their devices,and networked with one another. . The Online Learning zone was designed to be inviting and to provide an area for guests to demo WVC’s online platform. The TV Session Area was also a gathering place where participants networked and viewed WVC sessions. Comfortable seating and a custom bar with charging stations encouraged participants to linger. The new design throughout the conference was embraced by the WVC and those attending the 88th Annual Conference.

First impressions are important. Upon entering the Registration, the Online Learning “Genius Bar” or the TV Session Area, guests were greeted with a cohesive, vibrant and informative environment. The architecture and graphics elegantly delivered the WVC message. Guest after guest expressed their delight with the registration area and so did WVC. But first impressions are not everything. If first impressions are important, functionality is essential. GES designed the registration navigation scheme by considering timing of each “event” (e.g. logging a visitor) down to the second in order to ensure a smooth traffic flow and easy navigation for participants. Broad, open navigation lanes were used and WVC concierges directed participants to the next available help desk rather than employing queues at each desk. The planning and collaboration between WVC and GES paid off and the registration process was seamless with thousands of guest moving through the area quickly.

Over 200,001 nsf
InfoComm International & Freeman
InfoComm 2016

InfoComm is the largest, most exciting event in the United States focused on the pro-AV industry, with nearly 1,000 exhibitors, thousands of products, and 40,000 attendees from 110+ countries. InfoComm offers attendees a once-a-year opportunity to see the latest audiovisual technology, learn the skills that will advance their careers, and grow their professional network.

The “look and feel” for InfoComm 2016 was based on the concept of “play,” prominently featuring the triangle-shaped “play” button found on a variety of products in the audiovisual industry, like video cameras, DVD players, iPods, stereos, etc. The playful use of primary colors for the branding palette reinforced the “play” concept and also reflected the vibrancy of the audiovisual industry.

The goal for the décor and signage was to thoroughly integrate and reinforce the “play” concept throughout the show without being repetitive. The “play” triangle and abstract graphic shapes were configured into a variety of ways, in different scales (from an aisle banner to a meter board), and different colors were mixed and matched to add visual interest (for multiple entrance units).

From the impressively massive IC16 “play” button in the registration area to the small yellow “play” buttons on information carts, the brand concept was seen throughout the event and created a harmonious environment from the show floor, to the shuttle bus pickup area, to the convention center lobby. The abstract shapes could be configured in an exponential number of possible layouts, while still looking like they were in the “same family” and remaining within the confines of consistency.

The “play” concept was designed by another agency for use in 2D print and online, but Freeman elevated the visual impact of the design to a new level by creating 3D graphic elements at the entrance units and having a stand-alone “IC16” play button built for selfie opportunities. As is true with many trade shows, attendees often complain about a lack of seating. Freeman took this challenge and turned it into an opportunity to further the brand “look and feel” onsite. Instead of renting generic furniture, they built custom seating units comprised of the abstract graphic shapes, solving both the attendee demand and furthering the visual impact of the “play” branding onsite.

The 2017 IAEE Art of the Show Competition is now underway – you have until 31 August 2017 to submit your entries! You can also view all of last year’s winners and honorable mentions here.

The International Attendee’s Complete Guide To Expo! Expo!: An Interview with Mathys Taekema, Business Development Manager, RAI Amsterdam

RAI_picWith valuable education sessions on and off the show floor and networking sessions primed for idea sharing, Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition offers attendees a wealth of information they can take straight to their organization. Like the exhibition and event industry, the attendee make-up of Expo! Expo! is rich in diversity and always evolving. Here, IAEE speaks with Mathys Taekema, Business Development Manager at RAI Amsterdam, and member of the Expo! Expo! Advisory Committee, who shares how he makes the most of the valuable information he receives from Expo! Expo! each year as a venue and as a show organizer.

Why do you attend Expo! Expo!?

I attend Expo! Expo! for several reasons. The first reason is that my company RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre has a booth on the expo floor. At this booth, I am promoting the destination Amsterdam and of course, our venue. During my time on the booth and at the many networking events, I have the opportunity to meet a lot of intriguing people who might be interested to organize future exhibitions and events in Amsterdam.

Also, Expo! Expo! is a great event to meet existing U.S. clients once a year. Besides exhibiting and networking, the event is also great to develop your Industry knowledge. I attend the education sessions and the on-site CEM courses at Expo! Expo!.

In October 2016, RAI Amsterdam became a co-owner of IBEX (International Boat Builders Exhibition and Conference). Since RAI Amsterdam owns a venue AND is a co-owner of IBEX, you have an interesting perspective on the exhibition industry. Can you explain the unique position of being an owner of a venue and a tradeshow? And what key benefits do you get by attending Expo! Expo!?

Indeed, RAI Amsterdam has the unique position of owning a venue, but it also ‘’owns’’ the expertise of organizing great consumer and trade shows for decades. RAI organizes renowned, market-leading international business-to-business (B2B) trade shows. We’re organizing 25 of our own titles in several brands such as professional cleaning, water technology and horticulture in the Netherlands and globally so it makes sense to share this kind of expertise to the U.S. market by attending Expo! Expo!.

Coming from a venue standpoint, what insights have you brought to the table to make IBEX successful? And did you implmenet any insights from Expo! Expo! in your business plans?

The years of experience in the international marine leisure market with a large agent network adds to the international flavor of the show, as well as the expertise on the venue’s capabilities. In my role as Business Development Manager, I’m not responsible for the business plans for our own shows. However, we’re currently in the middle of a reconstruction of the two divisions – Convention Centre and Exhibitions. With this reconstruction, we’re expecting these two divisions to work closely together.

What I learned from Expo! Expo!, such as planning an exhibition will be helpful in this organizational rebuilding and can provide new ways for the two divisions to work better together. Especially since we’re working more with exhibition organizers in partnerships. Sometimes, there are interesting overlaps between being a venue and owning a show, which results in good opportunities.

At last year’s Expo! Expo! in Anaheim, you attended as an exhibitor. How would you describe your experience on the show floor?

We had a good show and picked up some new leads. At our booth, we invited the attendees to play a game of “Throw the Can.” Everyone was very engaging and enthusiastic about this, which resulted in a great atmosphere and some interesting conversations.

The best thing that happened at Expo! Expo! was an attendee walked up to me, handed me her business card and literally said to me, “Here’s my business card. Send me an email when you’re back in the office because I want to organize an event in your venue!” We’re currently working with her on the Request for Proposal (RFP).

Expo Expo Blog Quote (1)

Prior to exhibiting on the show floor, you took the CEM courses: Floor Plan Development and Exhibition and Event Sales. What were the key takeaways for you and how did you apply them at RAI Amsterdam?

Although my role at RAI Amsterdam does not include a hands-on approach to organizing a show, what I learned in the CEM courses was extremely fascinating for me. Being in the same room with so many industry professionals, who are all organizing different shows gave me plenty of insight into how they work, think, sell and plan their shows. These insights have helped me understand the show organizer thought process, which has resulted in a better way of working with show organizers to produce a successful event.

Expo Expo Blog Quote - RAI Amsterdam

Were there specific education sessions that you attended in Anaheim that really resonated with you? If yes, please tell us how you applied what you learned.

I attended an interesting session, Event Intelligence on the Show Floor: Using Data to Improve Exhibitor Performance, which was all about lead retrieval systems. This session included a short presentation with business cases and an interesting Q&A session with Anna Knight, Brand Director, Consumer Technology and Licensing from UBM EMEA. Partnered with N200|GES, Knight explained how UBM has been using the lead retrieval system for a couple of their shows. This session made me realize how important it is to educate and encourage your exhibitors to be innovative and to use these kinds of systems in order to make the most out of the show.

Could these education takeaways apply to both an exhibitor and show organizer like yourself? If yes, how so?

Yes, most certainly this applies to both exhibitors and show organizers. As an exhibitor, you want to assure you meet your goals of the exhibition (number of leads, etc). As a show organizer, providing a platform where exhibitors can make the most out of their participation means you are doing a good job of fulfilling the exhibitors’ needs and potentially of having them exhibit again in future shows.

How has Expo! Expo! helped RAI Amsterdam as a venue and a show organizer?

From both venue and show organizer side, Expo! Expo! provides us a yearly platform to meet existing and new clients. Expo! Expo! offers plenty of education sessions, which are helpful in my day-to-day job activities.

Name an unforgettable moment that has happened to you at Expo! Expo!

Besides the great (business) contacts I’ve gained over the years, I believe the most unforgettable moments were the opening receptions in Los Angeles (2014) and Anaheim (2016). IAEE really knows how to organize a good opening reception with great food and entertainment, which makes it an outstanding networking event.

Expo! Expo! Opening Reception in Anaheim, CA

As a seasoned international attendee, what advice would you give to those abroad who have not attended Expo! Expo! or are thinking about attending Expo! Expo!?

I would advise them to register and attend the event in San Antonio in November so they can experience for themselves the value Expo! Expo! offers to their attendees. There’s really not a better platform in the U.S., where you have the opportunity to meet so many Industry professionals over a few days’ time.

Will you be attending this year’s Expo! Expo! in San Antonio? If so, what are you looking forward to experience and learn at this year’s Expo! Expo!?

Yes, for sure! I already booked my room at the Marriott Rivercenter to make sure I run into the right people during breakfast and at the bar. I’m very excited about a new idea, where we have to create an International Pavilion on the show floor. This pavilion will consist several destinations and venues from all over the world and it will offer a “one stop shop” for show organizers who are organizing exhibitions outside of the U.S. Apart from that, I expect to see a lot of friends again in San Antonio and meet new people on the show floor, in the education sessions or during the network events. It goes without saying that I’m also looking forward to the educational sessions.

Registration for Expo! Expo! is open! Learn, network and make connections in San Antonio at the “show for shows” on 28-30 November!

Art of the Show Competition Winners Circle: Print Advertising Campaign

The IAEE Art of the Show Competition’s Print Advertising Campaign category evaluates one or more print advertisements used by an organization to promote a show. Ad(s) must have appeared in a publication. Brochures are not included in this category. Judging criteria includes: overall presentation, visual appeal and creativity; clarity of information and content usefulness; for multiple ads, how well each ad ties into the overall ad campaign; how well the ad promotes/integrates the overall “theme” of the event; and how well the ad campaign met its intended goals.

In today’s IAEE Blog, we highlight the winners of last year’s Print Advertising Campaign category:

Under 75,000 nsf
mdg
Atlanta Pet Fair & Conference

 

The Atlanta Pet Fair & Conference is the Southeast region’s largest show for the pet grooming and service industry professionals, and is also one of the largest shows for this segment in North America. Attendees include pet service professionals, with groomers making up the majority of attendees. Pet boarding and daycare operators, kennel operators, breeders and other service professionals also make up a significant attendee segment, as do pet retailers. More than 100 exhibitors offer grooming and pet service supplies and services in a vibrant expo floor.

The Atlanta Pet Fair & Conference also places a heavy emphasis on education, providing more than 70 seminars and hands-on sessions focusing on retail strategies, grooming techniques and demonstrations, business operations tactics, and more. In 2016, the show moved to the Georgia International Convention Center. 2016 also marked the largest Atlanta Pet Fair & Conference in history, setting an attendance record for the second consecutive year.

The 2016 Atlanta Pet Fair & Conference print advertising campaign aimed to increase attendance among the key audience segments of grooming and pet service professionals. All ads took advantage of an engaging campaign concept that played into the core audience’s enthusiasm for social media and included eye catching visuals of animals receiving the “close-up” treatment. Ads also used fun and appealing copy that was delivered in a unique, first-person voice, as if the animal being groomed in the image is talking to prospects about the benefits and features of the show.

The general ad communicated Atlanta Pet Fair & Conference’s key benefits and features through this engaging lens. The ad was designed to provide an overview of the event that would appeal to groomers while showcasing key features to attract interest. The education ad capitalized on learning, a key attendance driver for most attendees, highlighting the breadth of education available at the event and encouraging prospects to register and secure education passes. A clever image and witty hashtag supported the theme, communicating at a glance that the event offers important education. Finally, the competition ad was designed to appeal to the segment of the grooming audience that enters the event’s popular grooming contests, which include the largest contests in North America. The dog breed chosen for the image is a groomer favorite and was designed to attract attention from groomers interested in competing.

“Under the leadership of Jessica Guzman from World Pet Association, the mdg team took Atlanta Pet Fair’s marketing to a fun new place, not typically seen in B2B marketing,” noted mdg President Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes. “Working collaboratively, the copywriters, designers and account services team created an advertising campaign that has a sense of humor, is on-trend and, most importantly, was effective at generating attendance.”

Account Director Elena Lien echoed those sentiments, adding, “I take great pride in these IAEE awards and even greater pride in the results we’ve achieved by serving as an extension of World Pet Association’s marketing team.”

Between 75,001 and 200,000 nsf
Frank Strategic Marketing
HPBExpo 2017

The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Expo is North America’s largest indoor-outdoor living showcase. Every year, over 350 leading hearth, patio and barbecue manufacturers and suppliers exhibit and demonstrate their latest home heating solutions; grills, grilling accessories and fully-equipped outdoor kitchens; casual patio furniture and outdoor accents; water and landscape features; all-weather entertainment products and more. It’s also a one-stop-shop for retailers nationwide to find not only the latest products for their showrooms, but also the latest services and technologies for their companies.

HPBExpo was seeking to position not only the show itself, but also the location (Atlanta) as vibrant and exciting. The goal was to create a sense of intrigue and drama and make a very bold statement that the show is not to be missed. The industry is replete with professionals that have a deep passion for what they do, and “immerse” themselves in their work. HPBExpo data and observations show a group exuding passion and camaraderie. All of the brand imagery is contemporary and cutting-edge to dovetail with the increasing sophistication of the outdoor living marketplace itself.

Over 200,001 nsf
mdg
CTIA Super Mobility 2016

Powered by CTIA, Super Mobility is North America’s largest and most influential forum for mobile innovation. A convergence of the leading authorities in the connected life all under one roof, CTIA provides professionals from across the mobile landscape (retail, enterprise IT, connected life, etc.) with unparalleled opportunities to hear the latest developments from top executives and entrepreneurs; see first-hand the next generation of technology shaping the future wireless such as 5G, IoT and security/privacy; and to network with fellow thought leaders. Unlike other events, CTIA is the backbone of the mobile industry – where the new technology and innovation emerges, before they are even translated into consumer products. It’s also perfectly timed for planning next year’s strategic roadmap and to jumpstart planning for the coming year.

CTIA went through a rebrand in 2016. Previously referred to as “CTIA – The Wireless Association,” it was repositioned to “CTIA – Everything Wireless” to more accurately capture the evolution in the industry and proliferation of wireless technology in every day life. CTIA serves as the background of the wireless industry, so it was important to draw a strong connection between the event and the association behind it. As such, a campaign was created using the association colors and a headline that played on the new tagline “Everything Wireless.” Lifestyle images were used to demonstrate the everyday use of the technology. The campaign developed to also show city images to help support the smart city theme that was being executed on the show floor.

“We are so fortunate to work with clients like Heather Lee Landers, formerly of CTIA and now the Executive Vice President of AUVSI, who trust us with their brands and have challenged us to take their event advertising to the next level,” said mdg President Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes. “I’m also grateful to our collaborative team of designers and copywriters who are creating the kind of attention-grabbing, design-forward, emotionally-appealing work that was once reserved for consumer marketing.”

Co-owner and Live Events Specialist Vinnie Polito echoed those sentiments, adding, “I take great pride in these awards and even greater pride in the results that the work has helped our clients achieve. Thank you, IAEE, for recognizing marketing and design excellence in our industry.”

The 2017 IAEE Art of the Show Competition is now underway – you have until 31 August 2017 to submit your entries! You can also view all of last year’s winners and honorable mentions here.

Art of the Show Competition Winners Circle: Exhibit Sales Brochure/Prospectus

The IAEE Art of the Show Competition’s Exhibit Sales Brochure/Prospectus category evaluates a single sales piece targeting potential exhibitors for a show. It is important to note this category does not include any print advertising, which has its own category. Judging criteria includes: overall presentation, visual appeal and creativity; clarity of information and content usefulness; and how well the piece met its intended goals.

In today’s IAEE Blog, we highlight the winners of last year’s Exhibit Sales Brochure/Prospectus category:

Between 75,001 and 200,000 nsf
Frank Strategic Marketing
HPBExpo 2016

 

The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Expo is North America’s largest indoor-outdoor living showcase. Every year, over 350 leading hearth, patio and barbecue manufacturers and suppliers exhibit and demonstrate their latest home heating solutions; grills, grilling accessories and fully-equipped outdoor kitchens; casual patio furniture and outdoor accents; water and landscape features; all-weather entertainment products and more. It’s also a one-stop-shop for retailers nationwide to find not only the latest products for their showrooms, but also the latest services and technologies for their companies.

HPBExpo was seeking to position not only the show itself, but also the location (Atlanta) as vibrant and exciting. The goal was to create a highly non-traditional and dramatic campaign by making a bold statement that the show is not to be missed. All of the brand imagery was contemporary and cutting-edge to dovetail with the increasing sophistication of the outdoor living marketplace itself.

The brochure centered on the theme, “Your Products. Their Dreams.” It was specifically designed to be visually stunning (including the paper stock), as it was one of just a handful of print marketing pieces for the show, compared to the vast majority of the campaign being digital. The goal was to push the boundaries as much as possible to achieve maximum impact.

Over 200,001 nsf
Fixation Marketing
2016 NAHB International Builders’ Show

The International Builders’ Show (IBS) is the world’s largest annual residential and light construction show, attracting 60,000+ building industry professionals from 100 and featuring 1,400 manufacturers and suppliers in more than 300 product categories. IBS showcases the latest products, materials and technologies involved in all types of buildings – including wood, concrete, stone and brick.

The show features The New American Home (NAHB’s show home) which highlights new products and techniques. IBS also offers innovative education with 130+ sessions in eight tracks, taught by renowned building industry experts from across the country. The show has plenty of networking opportunities including the House Party, Spike Concert and The Centrals – hubs for programs, demonstrations and hands-on workshops.

An aggressive goal of 500,000 net square feet of exhibit space was set for the 2016 International Builders’ Show® (IBS) exhibit sales team. To meet this number, the exhibit sales prospectus had to accomplish the following: entice former exhibitors to return to IBS; convince those prospects that had yet to commit to IBS that 2016 is the year to do so; and encourage loyal customers to take bigger space. NAHB needed to illustrate that IBS is a dynamic, exciting place to get business done – a “can’t be missed” event – and the theme “Raise the Roof” helped to tell that story well.

As a result, the IBS exhibit sales team reached its goal of 500,000 net square feet, filling in the space with exhibitors from all tree targets: former exhibitors; prospects that had yet to commit; and loyal customers with bigger space.

“Our key objective was to speak to the growing optimism within the industry after a challenging stretch of time and convey that the show was bursting with opportunities for exhibitors to boost leads, sales and brand awareness,” said Megan Campbell, Vice President of Client Services & Strategy. “We worked to design a visually arresting concept that had flexibility and a spirited tone.”

The 2017 IAEE Art of the Show Competition is now underway – you have until 31 August 2017 to submit your entries! You can also view all of last year’s winners and honorable mentions here.

IAEE Awards Spotlight on Bob Hancock: 2016 Merit Award Winner

By Mary Tucker, IAEE Sr. PR/Communications Manager

Bob Hancock is General Manager, Atlanta with onPeak | GES. He was nominated by the IAEE Southeastern Chapter for his tireless support and participation of the chapter’s activities. He served honorably as Chairperson of the chapter’s Sponsorship, Educational Conference and Industry Relations committees in addition to serving as Secretary, Treasurer, Vice Chairperson, Chairperson, Immediate Past Chairperson and Co-Chair of the 25th Annual Southeastern Classic.

Register for the 26th Annual Southeastern Classic in Myrtle Beach, SC on 26-28 July, 2017!

Bob’s focus on engaging young professionals led to the creation of two YP positions on the chapter board. He was also instrumental in bringing YP meet-ups to the chapter with incredible success. Bob’s work with chapter sponsors increased sponsorship revenue and satisfaction levels. His community outreach on behalf of the chapter allowed for generous donations to local charity American Cancer Society Hope Lodge. Bob is considered a great asset by chapter leaders, as reflected in his selection in 2016 for the IAEE Merit Award. Here, Bob shares with IAEE great advice he received and continues to pay forward, as well as the achievements he is most proud of with the IAEE Southeastern Chapter.

2017.03.08 Award Spotlight_Hancock
Awards presentation during the Networking Luncheon at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2016 in Anaheim, CA. From left to right: Representing the IAEE Awards Committee, Randy Bauler, CEM; Bob Hancock; and IAEE President and CEO David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA.

IAEE: You were commended for being incredibly active in your local chapter by serving on various committees, and playing a key role in many of its activities and events. What do you enjoy most about being a part of the chapter’s leadership?

BOB: I love working with my peers on the Board. This is the best group of people to work with; they are goal focused, hands-on and genuinely enjoy each other. Being on the Board doesn’t feel like work at all, which is a testament to the relationships that have been created. We truly believe that we have the best chapter and continue to work together to keep pushing it to the next level.

IAEE: You have served in every officer’s position on the executive committee. How did each contribute to your understanding of the inner workings of the chapter and do you have a favorite?

BOB: As Treasurer and Secretary, you learn how the chapter operates from a financial and operational standpoint. You see where finances can be increased, and expenses eliminated, to create a more streamlined organization.  As Vice Chair, you automatically oversee the annual educational conference, which is one of our signature annual events. This position allows you to work on a more national level in terms of speaker recruitment, as well as reaching out to our regional members to secure locations for the event. You get the chance to step outside of Atlanta and our community, while continuing to build those relationships that we as a chapter value.

By the time you make it to Chair, we like to joke that it is all downhill from here. You understand how the chapter operates, and your job is to basically steer the ship and make sure that all committees and leaders are working together to achieve the common goal. As Immediate Past Chair, you take on the role of advisor, in addition to spearheading the Nominating Committee for the next set of Board members. It’s a lot, but when it is your turn to be Chair, you have done your training and are well prepared to lead.

I enjoyed serving in all my positions, but I must say that my favorite was serving as Chair of the 2014 Classic in Savannah and Co-Chair of our 25th Annual Classic last year in Atlanta. The planning and execution of these events were hard work, but to see it payoff with record attendance and quality education was extremely gratifying.

IAEE: Your efforts to advocate for young professionals within your chapter has led to two YP seats on the chapter board as well as successful implementation of YP meet-ups and overall participation. What do you consider the most important benefit to engaging YPs?

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BOB: YPs are the future, plain and simple. They have a voice and deserve to be heard. The best way for our chapter and its leadership to continue its success, is to get them engaged now. They have great ideas, are enthusiastic about learning the business, and are in tune with today’s trends which make them true assets to this industry. The Southeastern Chapter Board is all about the YPs and getting them ready for leadership. As industry veterans, it is our responsibility to mentor and train our YPs to be successful in this industry that we are all passionate about.

IAEE: As a chapter leader volunteer, did you have a mentor you looked to for guidance? If so, how did this person help shape your career?

BOB: I remember some advice from 20 years ago, from two industry veterans that I still carry with me today and share with young professionals. Simply put: the more engaged you are in any organization you belong, the more you will reap the benefits and feel the rewards in time. That was the most honest and factual piece of advice, as I still live it every day. Not only have I applied this to my volunteering but to my career as well.  I don’t believe that I would be where I am today if I was not engaged. By doing this, I have created relationships over the years that have proven to be one of the keys to a successful career in this industry that I love.

IAEE: Has your involvement on the chapter level led to involvement on the national level? If so, what appealed to you about spreading your wings?

BOB: My chapter level involvement has been the catalyst for me wanting to do more, and participating on the Chapter Leadership calls have given me new insight into the industry. The interaction and feedback that we gave each other on those calls allowed me to see what was taking place nationally and has continued to further my knowledge. Again, going back to that advice 20 years ago, GET INVOLVED!

IAEE: How do you find balance with volunteering for the Southeastern Chapter and your day job?

BOB: After serving on the Executive Committee for the past 5 years, you learn how to balance and manage your time. Volunteering is not always a standard 9 to 5 workday (though neither is work sometimes!). There are evenings and weekends that come into play, but we are lucky enough that our chapter has an executive office that assists us with our duties.

IAEE: How do you hope your legacy to the chapter will be remembered?

BOB: Just because my term as an executive committee member is up, does not mean that I stop working. I hope that future leaders in the chapter follow in my footsteps and continue to take on new roles within IAEE. In the end, your level of involvement is what matters the most and what continues to strengthen our chapter. The foundation I set for the YPs of our industry will be the best legacy that I could leave. I hope in years to come the chapter continues to promote and support them, as they are our future.

 IAEE is accepting nominations for the 2017 Merit Award! Click here to learn more about the IAEE Individual Awards and submit your nominations today!

IAEE Expo! Expo! 2016 Was All About Action and Results

Originally posted by a2z

Exhibitors and attendees at IAEE Expo! Expo! 2016 were primed to take action leading up to and during the annual events industry’s prime gathering. Building on the success of recent years, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) once again collaborated with a2z to offer online planning tools to attendees along with brand-promotion opportunities to exhibitors. a2z’s contribution included the expo management solution for the show management along with the online interactive floor plan, exhibitor galleries, and Connect™−the online matchmaking, networking and scheduling solution.

Significant Engagement
The Expo! Expo! Connect website enabled buyers and suppliers to easily and securely request appointments with each other to make their time at the event much more productive. This year, appointment and email activity was at its highest with more than 4,400 emails and appointment requests being exchanged between registered participants. In addition, IAEE utilized the Connect platform to seamlessly generate and coordinate over 600 Hosted Buyer appointments.

High Exhibitor ROI
For Expo! Expo! 2016, the exhibitors were familiar with the online promotion tools available to them in their online console from the get go. They added a significantly higher number of product listings, videos, press releases, and show specials to their online profiles. This produced deeper and more extensive engagement from attendees and website visitors. The online galleries were viewed four times more this year than last year. This increased engagement garnered exhibitors on average seven qualified pre-show attendee leads.IAEE Expo! Expo! 2016 Connect Engagement
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Congratulations to IAEE for a tremendously successful event in 2016!  We can’t wait to see what this year brings!

SOURCE: IAEE Expo! Expo! Was All About Action and Results

Your Guide to 2017’s Top Executive Promotional Products

Originally posted by 4imprint

Executive promotional products are a great way to not only look good to execs, but to make them look good as well. To get an idea what corporate giveaways will really win them over this year, keep reading.

For high-tech executive gifts, you can’t miss with Bluetooth® audio.

Wireless audio is a great giveaway for tech-savvy execs. In the first half of 2016, Bluetooth headphones drove more dollars than wired headphones, making it clear that people are taking their music everywhere they go and leaving the wires behind. With many top-end smartphones dropping their corded connections, the perfect personalized executive gift is a set of Mojave Wooden Bluetooth Headphones. They’re just the thing for catching productivity podcasts on the go. Or pump the tunes on the pint-sized yet powerful Addi Bluetooth Speaker.

Travel gear is an always-welcome corporate giveaway.

Outfit executives so they can travel in style.
With an estimated 457 million domestic business trips taken in 2016, busy executives are constantly on the go. Many executive promotional products are designed to make their lives just a little more comfortable. A Kinney Packable Jacket resists wind, rain and cold, yet rolls up into a convenient, compact size, just right for stashing in a travel bag. Speaking of bags, give a personalized executive gift that doubles as an office on the go–a fashion-forward Kenneth Cole Colombian Leather Dowel Laptop Bag or Isaac Mizrahi Sloan Laptop Tote.

Keep executives moving with terrific tech toys.

Portable tech is perfect for executives always on the go.
According to Pew Research, 68 percent of Americans own a smartphone. If the executive you know is always running out of cell phone power, give him or her a sleek yet powerful Dual Power Bank. It carries enough power to charge most cell phones—twice! Or if someone is counting not only calories but also their daily exercise, a Smart Wear Bluetooth Tracker Pedometer may be just what the doctor ordered.

Use personalized executive gifts to be remembered in the office.

Useful, professional items often find a home on an executive’s desk.
Because the average worker spends 35 percent of his or her time behind a desk, keep your name within clear sight every day with executive promotional products just for the office. An Executive Desk Pad exudes a first-class business vibe. To keep an exec’s favorite tech tool nearby—a cell phone—make it stand tall with the Brando Clock Desk Organizer. Or for a sleek and stylish way to get your name in front of everyone, hand your favorite executive a Prestigious Business Card Holder.

Some of the top executive gifts deliver a welcome break from work.

Executive gifts like games can create precious time with family.
Everyone needs to take their mind off their job sometimes, and busy executives are no exception. This is especially important when it comes to people with families. The Pew Research Center® says 39 percent of working moms and 50 percent of working dads say they don’t spend enough time with their kids. So, grab the 7-in-1 Traditional Game Set and have a family fun night. Or, for some fast-paced sports action, get your competitive juices flowing with an Air Hockey Desktop Game.

If you need to connect with those in leadership roles, executive promotional products can be a great way to leave a great impression that lasts long after the handshake.

 

SOURCE: Your Guide to 2017’s Top Executive Promotional Products

IAEE Awards Spotlight on Jacqueline Russo: 2016 Woman of Achievement Award Winner

By Mary Tucker, IAEE Sr. PR/Communications Manager

Jacqueline Russo, Vice President of Kuehne + Nagel, Inc., has been a dynamic leader within IAEE with more than 25 years of consistent service and heavy involvement across many capacities. She has served as a mentor to other women as they entered the industry, and is well known both nationally and internationally as an asset to the exhibitions and events community.

In 2016, she was recognized for her contributions to the advancement of women in the exhibitions and events industry as the recipient of IAEE’s Woman of Achievement Award. Here, Jackie shares with IAEE her perspective about what she has learned over the years, being actively involved in IAEE’s chapters and committees, and the rewarding experiences that come from getting to know your colleagues.

jackie-russo-awards-blog_01232017
Awards presentation during the Networking Luncheon at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2016 in Anaheim, CA. From left to right: Representing the IAEE Awards Committee, Randy Bauler, CEM; Jackie Russo; and IAEE President and CEO David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA.

IAEE: How did you get your start in the exhibitions and events industry, and at what point did you realize you were “in it to stay”?

JACKIE: Like many in the exhibition industry, I fell into it by working for a company that was scheduled to be an exhibitor in Fire Asia, Singapore.  A fire/safety show, it was my task to ensure all of our materials were sent to the show and would be on site and ready to use when our team arrived. I was terrified and called the official logistics company to assist with my transport and delivery. I spent countless hours working on the paperwork and even went to the logistics company’s office to check the goods. After the show was a success, logistics company offered me a job.  My goal was to do international business and see the world.  The exhibition industry offered me the chance to do both.

 IAEE: How have you seen the role of women in the exhibitions and events industry evolve over the course of your career, and are there developments you would still like to see?

 JACKIE: The most exciting growth has been women in management roles. We have many female business owners of all sized companies. Additionally, many traditionally male jobs are now also female roles.  I would like to see more young women recruited to begin a career path within exhibition organizers and suppliers. If we codify the opportunity and provide a path, we will allow women to shine.

 IAEE: You have been recognized as a generous mentor within the industry. What do you most enjoy about sharing your knowledge and experience with those new to the industry?

 JACKIE: That is large question. I have open arms and open mouth to anyone who is interested to listen. It is not just young persons; but all career people need an ear and an unbiased opinion/advice regarding their careers. Hearing the facts and discussing strategy allows individuals to seek those roles or solve those problems which are most important to them. It also allows people to see opportunities they may not believe are available for them.

 IAEE: You have served on various IAEE committees and task forces. Why is volunteerism important to you, and what tips do you have for those considering serving on a committee/task force?

 JACKIE: Volunteering in IAEE has been the best decision of my career. We often discuss team in the description of our careers. There is no better team than a committee or task force whether on the local or national level of IAEE. The other volunteers are extremely professional and bring knowledge, points of view and a willing spirit to the group. It is possible to grow and individual and as a business person. My closest friends and even close competitors are all colleagues when we work together on a committee or task force. When choosing the type of volunteering, it is important to choose those opportunities about which you have an interest, expertise or concern. Even if you do not know anything about the topic, it is a way to learn and grow while contributing. Volunteering takes time. It is imperative that you do not make a commitment that you are unable to fulfill. The other members are counting on you and your help. Make a lifelong friend!

 IAEE: From a woman’s point of view, what do you find most challenging about a career in the exhibitions and events industry? What do you find most rewarding? (whether from a woman’s view or overall)

 JACKIE: My challenges have been less gender related and more career related. We all talk about balance. Balance is tough and sacrifices have to be made if the goal is to reach pre-chosen targets or titles. In this current environment “we have an app for that” means there is a lot more clerical work; we do our own proposals and presentations and travel and carry them in our bags and go through security and wait and wait. This is the tough part for all career persons.

Most rewarding, everything else. We have a sense of accomplishment daily. We work on high-performing teams that meet at 5 a.m. and leave each other at 10 p.m. mostly with a smile. I help non-U.S. individuals make their way through the U.S. system of exhibitions. We share a laugh even when we don’t speak the same language. It is human. I share a department with people who know the value of a good job and a strong employer. Friends.

IAEE: You have been a member of IAEE for more than 25 years. What is your favorite part of being an IAEE member and what advice would you give someone who has just joined the organization?

JACKIE: My favorite parts of IAEE are the members, the local chapters and the experiences. If you have an open mind, it is possible to take yourself and your career to the next level. Participation may take you out of your comfort zone. It took me out many times and this was just what I needed to grow. It is good to be uncomfortable with yourself sometimes. After all of the hand-wringing, you are stronger and ready to take on the next challenge.

IAEE is accepting nominations for the 2017 Woman of Achievement Award! Click here to learn more about the IAEE Individual Awards and submit your nominations today!

Platform Overload—Choosing the Right Social Media Sites for Business

Originally posted by 4imprint

Choosing the Right Social Media Sites for Business

First came the inaugural class of social media platforms: Facebook®, Twitter® and LinkedIn®. Then came the second wave: Instagram®, Snapchat® and Google+®. Now, there’s an entirely new team of social media players with an ever-evolving list of ways for people to connect, share and promote what matters most to them. From a user perspective, it’s a veritable buffet of delicious options. Choosing is as simple as finding where your friends or professional contacts are or selecting the venues that interest you most.

From a company perspective, it’s much more complicated. How do you choose the right social media sites for business? Bottom line: if you’re overwhelmed and don’t know which platforms to choose, we can help.

The importance of social media for companies

The truth is, social media for companies isn’t negotiable anymore—it’s almost an expectation and an issue of legitimacy and sustainability. Businesses that don’t have a social media presence are missing opportunities to engage key stakeholders, customers and employees, and are ignoring a potentially powerful pipeline for sales conversions and future success.

But where do you start? And more importantly, where do you draw the line?

Whether you work at a large company, or are seeking social media for small businesses, consider your budget. Resources often require businesses to focus their social media efforts. After all, the only thing worse than having no presence is having poorly-managed social media profiles. The implications can be widespread and potentially damaging to an organization’s reputation.

Managing social media for companies effectively depends on focused efforts on strategically chosen platforms. Don’t worry, we’ve simplified the legwork for you. Read on for your five-step guide to finding the right social media site(s) for you.

Step 1: Determine which social media sites your target market uses most

You already know who you want to reach, right? (If not, it’s time to define your target markets and/or develop your customer personas.) The first step is to figure out where your target audience is spending time on social media—and where they are active. In “Which Social Media Accounts Really Matter and Why” marketing expert Neil Patel explains that it’s important to look past big user numbers on social media platforms. “For example, there are over 1 billion Google®users, but only 35 percent of those users were active in the past month. Twitter, too, has a lot of members with [a] relatively low number of active members … A social media user needs to be active on a social media site in order for them to be of any use to you.”

That’s a key consideration when developing your social media business strategy. You can determine which social media platforms your target market is actively using in a number of ways.

Ask them.

It seems so simple, doesn’t it? You can survey your existing customers, clients and contacts by using one of the online free survey sites, or by polling them via your email list. Or, you can simply ask them when they enter your brick-and-mortar business or at checkout online.

Look at the research.

Social media demographics are widely available online, and the data is robust. You’ll want to know the demographics for your current clients and the target markets you wish to reach. Information like age, gender, income and education can be helpful in your decision-making process.

In “Social Media Demographics to Inform a Better Segmentation Strategy,” Michael Patterson says in-depth information is available about market demographics for many of the popular sites: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest® and Snapchat. Use that data to determine where the majority of users live, their income levels, their gender and much more. From there, you will be able to glean insight into which platforms your target markets are most likely using, and which social media sites for business are right for you.

This offers you a strong starting position, according to Dominique Jackson in “How to Find the Best Social Media Channels for Your Business.”

“For instance, if you’re primarily targeting women over 50 years old, Instagram probably isn’t the best option. You’re better off with Facebook or Pinterest,” Jackson says.

This is just the beginning of your process, but it’s a vital step. Patterson points out that the strategy you develop based on this data shouldn’t be written in stone. Rather, consider it an organic, ever-changing plan. “Smart marketers constantly tinker with their segmentation strategy, working tediously to ensure that the right message is reaching the right people at the right time,” he explains. “With the rise of so many platforms across the vast social media landscape, this has never been more important—or more challenging.”

Find where your content, or similar content, is already being shared.

Even if you aren’t on social media, chances are your name is there. Consider logging on to various sites and searching for your company name, related product lines, competitor accounts or areas of interest among your target audiences. Look for places where that conversation is happening: your target audience has a presence there that you can work with. As a bonus, you may also learn what your audience thinks of your business, what they wish you would consider tweaking, what they love about your products and services, and even how your staff is performing from a customer service standpoint. Jackpot!

But having the demographic data isn’t enough, Jackson says. “In addition to these statistics, you should also do a manual review of the social networks where you’re interested. Look at the content being published, and who are the actual content creators. If content related to your industry seems to resonate well, it’s a good sign.”

Lastly, consider which social media sites are already driving traffic to your business. You can do this with the help of Google Analytics. Jackson suggests checking out the data under Acquisition. Then choose Social and Network Referrals.

Step 2: Define your social media for business capabilities within the resources you have available

You know it. We know it. Everyone knows it. Resources—both time and money—are limited. Obviously, managing both wisely is important, especially when considering your social media strategy. So the question is: what is your team capable of doing within budget and scheduling limitations?

It goes without saying—poorly-used resources could result in a very low return on your efforts. Spread your time and staff too thin and your audience engagement could suffer. A single person with an existing full-time load of responsibilities likely won’t be as responsive as your social media audience would like. And at its core, that’s the point of social media: it’s a conversation, and it’s about building relationships. If it’s a one-sided conversation and customers can’t reach you, you may send the message that your business is not interested in providing excellent customer service. Customers have become accustomed to nearly immediate responses and online customer support with a real person on-demand.

In “6 Social Media Trends That Will Take Over 2016” Jennifer Beese said, “Social media thrives on real-time engagement, but each year the window for response becomes smaller and smaller.” According to Search Engine Watch, 70 percent of Twitter users expect a response and 53 percent want a response in less than an hour. That jumps to 72 percent when they have a complaint.

Allocating the right resources to the right platforms is essential. No one wants to wake up to negative reviews of their company. Make sure you have enough staff to stay on top of issues and address concerns. In 2014, consumers took to social media to complain about brands 879 million times, according to www.sproutsocial.com. Worse, the majority of those messages went unanswered, even after three days. The good news is that there are tools out there that can help. Automation and social listening tools can help you streamline your efforts and provide useful data to hone your strategy. Overall, they can help make the most of the time and money you devote to social media.

The bottom line: by strategically choosing your platforms and taking time to calculate what you can realistically do with your resources, you can maximize your return on investment (ROI) and delight your customers when they engage with you on social media.

Step 3: Decide what kind of content you will share

So far, you’ve considered how much of your staff and financial resources you can dedicate to your social media strategy. But don’t stop there. It’s vital to consider your strengths. Each social media platform has a unique set of capabilities, and some will be more applicable to your business than others. For example, if you run a professional photography school or an art studio, photo sharing sites like Instagram would provide a great platform to showcase the visual aspects of your business. If you provide drone videography services, you may find sites like YouTube® work better. Look at each channel and consider how they will work with your business. 

In “How to Choose the Best Social Media Platform for Your Business,” author and online marketing expert Scott Levy suggests, “When it comes to choosing which social media platforms you’ll utilize, select those that offer the best potential for reaching your ideal audience and broadcast the type of media you’ve decided is best suited for your company.” When it comes to selecting social media sites for businesses that are large, or social media for small business, most companies don’t have the resources to be successful on every platform. So, instead of having lackluster representation in a lot of places, be amazing on a few of them.

Here are some popular platforms and the type of content they work best with, according to Levy. 

Pinterest

This online bulletin board is great for content sharing because it allows users to save items for future reference—pinning—and share them. Pins are image-driven, so strong visuals are important. Users can comment on pins, and click on pins to access external webpages. Says Levy, “If you focus on wedding planning, travel destinations, interior decorating, fashion or foods, you can say a great deal about your products and services through your stunning photos or videos.” 

LinkedIn

According to Levy, LinkedIn is great for connecting people, engaging in group discussions about specific interests and showcasing your expertise. LinkedIn is also a popular publishing platform. It is a great option to get exposure for your original content, and to position yourself as an expert in your industry. 

YouTube

YouTube is a great sharing site for videos. The key, says Levy, is to make your video engaging, as no one will watch a boring video. But that doesn’t necessarily call for high-end production. What makes a video good? Levy explains, “It’s a good idea to watch a number of YouTube videos and see which ones generated hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of hits. Videos that show people how to do something, demonstrate your product or service, or introduce a new or unusual (visual) product can help you benefit from YouTube.” 

Twitter

This platform provides a continuous real-time conversation in short, text message-like posts. It’s ideal for companies that want real-time engagement with their audience and are willing to put in the effort to maintain it. “If you have breaking news, updates, questions for your followers, or if you want opinions now or even need to announce a recall, Twitter is the way to reach out to people,” Levy said.

Facebook

Facebook has extensive reach and power. Its worldwide user-base is enormous. While there is some sense of immediacy, Facebook doesn’t have the same rapid-fire vibe that Twitter does. It’s more about building a relationship with the audience. “Almost any business can benefit from having a Facebook page,” says Levy. “But Facebook isn’t about selling. Your goal in using Facebook for business is to let customers get to know the people behind the logo … If done correctly, your fans become loyal followers and Facebook can be a very significant lead generator.”

As you can see, the type of content you want to share has a big role in choosing the right social media platforms.

Step 4: Consider large, medium, small and niche platforms

The temptation for many businesses is to focus on the largest social media platforms, like these:

Big Social Networks’ Monthly Active UsersFigure 1: Big social networks’ monthly active users

Depending on the size and scope of your business, going for the most popular platforms could be a valid choice. But social media is about more than the number of users. It’s important to remember that the bigger the site, the more competition you face. A social media campaign that could easily get lost on a popular site could gain real traction on a niche site. So when you’re considering platforms, dig deep. It may require a little legwork, but you could see a huge payoff in market saturation. Here’s how to go about it according to Patel.

  • Consider joining what Patel calls the big four: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Patel says Google+ is a social media game changer. “When you combine Google authorship with the world’s dominant search engine, and create a social media platform that integrates them, it’s no wonder that Google+ is turning up as a dominant form of online social interaction.”
  • Consider what Patel calls the lesser three: Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube. You may also want to consider location-based sites, such as Foursquare® and Yelp®, particularly if you have a brick-and-mortar presence.
  • Consider even smaller sites. Patel clarifies that these sites are still massive, but they appeal to people who have shared interests. These sites include Tumblr®, StumbleUpon® and Reddit®.
  • Lastly, explore niche sites. A social network that is specifically created for your target market may provide more return on your investment of time and energy. How do you find the right niche social site? Patel recommends simply putting your keywords, along with the words “social network,” in a search engine to see what’s out there. Niche sites won’t have the big user numbers that Facebook has, but you’ll get a more accurate sample of your target market when you find the right group.

Step 5: Research future social media platform capabilities and rise to meet them

Remember how we said your social media strategy shouldn’t be set in stone? In “The Top 7 Social Media Marketing Trends Dominating 2016,” author Jason DeMers says it’s helpful to look at the trends that are taking center stage in social media right now. This information allows you to tweak or even overhaul your social media strategy to capitalize on current conditions. Here’s what’s trending:

  1. Hyper-relevant content rules. Users are beginning to prefer in-the-moment content, and most platforms sort posts by relevance. That means better posts get better play.
  2. Live streaming is gaining momentum. Video has been increasingly popular on social media, but these days, users want more. With the advent of Facebook Live, chances are, demand for live-streaming content will only increase.
  3. Social interaction is changing. New types of interaction are emerging, including one-sided conversations on Snapchat and applications like Messenger for Business on Facebook, aimed at customer service. The range of options is constantly growing and new capabilities are emerging. Staying on top of this can put your business on the cusp of the next big thing.
  4. A more personalized experience. As we mentioned, users want content that is relevant. Social media platforms have heard the demands for customization, and they’re doing their best to meet those demands.
  5. Social media apps are trying to keep people in-app for as long as possible by offering greater functionality. Experts say this trend will increase as it relates directly to app revenue. “Some of these functions include in-app search functions, embedded content, and in Facebook’s case, even a personal digital assistant,” DeMers says. Savvy marketers don’t have to adopt all of them, he says, but will want to recognize that broader app functionality is a trend that will likely shape the future of social media marketing.

So, there you have it: five steps to finding the right social media sites for business. Once selected, you’re well on your way to discovering success in user engagement, sales conversions and brand loyalty. Remember, you don’t have to do all platforms well; the key is to select the platforms that work best for your business. Focus on communicating effectively. In time, armed with a thoughtfully-developed strategy, your business can experience measurable ROI, improved customer relationships, and business growth through the power of social media.

SOURCE: Platform Overload—Choosing the Right Social Media Sites for Business