Facebook-to-Face: Trade Shows Opt in to King of Social Media Platforms

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Oceanside, CA – Last week, when Facebook hit the milestone of 1 billion views on a single day for the first time in its history, it was a good bet that trade show organizers generated and received a number of those hits. Show organizers and marketers have been making good use of Facebook for the past several years as a means of reaching potential attendees and convincing them that their physical presence was more than welcome on the show floor.

“Facebook is a powerful communications tool for many of the events that we promote, especially those that cater to attendees who are passionate about their profession,” said Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes, president of Marketing Design Group. “It gives us an opportunity to create a more dynamic personality around the event brand.”

Facebook provides show marketers with an Internet presence that has a high degree of flexibility in terms of content, the ability to hold plenty of photographs and a means for exhibitors and attendees to post comments and announcements. Hardcastle-Geddes called it “creating meaningful engagements and treating followers as ‘insiders.’”

The result is a community-building environment that keeps the show buzz going well before and long after the actual event, and a higher registration rate from returning and new participants.

Emerald Expositions used a two-pronged Facebook strategy this year that helped increase attendance 14% at this year’s ASD Market Week. Camille Candella, vice president of marketing, told Trade Show Executive that targeted content distribution throughout the year maintained the show’s presence on attendee Facebook feeds. The second prong included targeted ads for the show that were posted when registration for ASD officially opened.

“We measure and optimize each campaign to keep costs per conversions low, and engagements and registrations high,” said Candella. “There are a host of other important tactics we use, such as SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and other social channels, but Facebook has proven to be one of the most valuable.”

And creating an effective Facebook page is not entirely left up to the judgment and skill of the marketing crew. Facebook’s ability to capture data helps determine what customers want and what changes need to be made in order to reach the audience. “The rich performance metrics and analytics available on Facebook are informing and shaping our marketing content,” Hardcastle-Geddes said.

With social media in general becoming second nature to trade show marketers, it’s a good bet that they will be a contributing factor when Facebook doubles down and reaches 2 billion views some day in the future.

Reach Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes at (619) 298-1445, x116, or kimberly@marketingdesigngroup.com; Camille Candella at (323) 817-2221 or camille.candella@asdonline

BIG NUMBERS FOR FACEBOOK
August 24 was a red-letter day for Facebook as it hosted 1 billion users in a single day for the first time in its meteoric history.Facebook provided some interesting context on how the world interacted with its social media platform for both personal and business purposes.

About one in seven people worldwide used Facebook on August 24, or roughly one-third of the population with Internet access.
Facebook has seen its network grow to 1.49 monthly active users since its launch in Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room in 2004. August 24 saw two-thirds of those users log into Facebook.
Users are on the move. Most Facebook users access it on their mobile devices. The average number of daily mobile users in June was 844 million.

“A more open and connected world is a better world,” Zuckerberg said in a statement marking his company’s 1 billion day. “It brings stronger relationships with those you love, a stronger economy with more opportunities, and a stronger society that reflects all of our values.”