The AME Social Media Council also talked with Andrea Kozek (see Part 1 of my report on our conversation) about trade shows, since we are looking ahead to the AME fall conference in Dallas and deciding on our approach. We know our exhibitors are doing the same thing, and maybe we have some opportunities to collaborate with them. Everyone wants to know how much it will cost and what the ROI will be. Andrea warns that it’s hard to quantify.
What do conference attendees want that social media can deliver? Social media may allow exhibitors to leverage onsite resources by talking to customers in real time, as more people use social networking apps on their phones. Live tweeting is growing.
Hashtags* are becoming extremely important. They organize Tweets about a topic. For the AME conference, it’s #AMEConf2011. If you have a hashtag search in Twitter or an app like Hootsuite, you can meet people or have a conversation online as if you were sitting at the same lunch table. Or you can arrange to sit at the same lunch table. The hashtag should be heavily promoted on the website, in brochures, in email promotion, etc., and used on all your relevant social messages.
We know that people who attend our conference are excited about their experience and place a high value on what they learn and who they meet. We want to spread the excitement through social networking to more people so they want to share the experience this year.
A conference creates a captive audience and social media is one more way to get individuals to seek you out and pay attention. Whether you’re an exhibitor, the conference organizer, or perhaps a workshop leader, Andrea suggests that the secret may be to give the social media users something that other attendees can’t get. Some possibilities?
• VIP seating at a keynote address.
• Dinner coupons at local restaurants. Check with the local business liaison to conference. Unique content available to social media users.
• An exclusive place to go like our planned Social Media Lounge. Andrea suggests requiring a code or password for entry that will be shared socially.
• Form a user group at the conference
For followers not at the conference, there might be live video clips, professionally produced or not. Questions might be relayed to speakers. You can remind people of upcoming keynote and technical sessions, and tweet inspiring ideas and tips. Sharing the experience may bring some of those people to next year’s conference.
I’m grateful to Andrea Kozek for sharing her time and experience with our council. She’s a social media maven to watch, and Brady Corp deserves kudos for devoting resources to experimenting with social media to learn how it can benefit the company. If nothing else, it should be proud of being an early leader in the social media race.
Would you like an invitation to one of our exclusive Social Media Council conference calls? Email me at Karen.email@example.com and I’ll see what I can do. No promises, however.
Brady Corp www.BradyID.com
Facebook: Brady North America www.facebook.com/BradyNorthAmerica
Association for Manufacturing Excellence Annual Conference sponsor and exhibitor
Andrea Kozek, Social Media Manager
*Hashtag - prefixing a keyword with a # sign on Twitter in a tweet.