Infocomm 09, A Social Media Perspective the AV

June 18, 2009

Tradeshows are a gift to social marketers. Thousands of people, interacting with you, your company and your product. Think of the photo opportunities for your Facebook page. The opportunities to get customers to follow your Twitter accounts (product, company news, tech support etc etc). The opportunities to create buzz, interest and traffic.

Infocomm

So, with great interest, I ventured onto the floor of Infocomm ’09 to see how many companies would use these tools to elongate and enhance the penetration of the show into their customer base.

Simply put, it was a desert. Not one company I saw was driving or enhancing the show through social marketing. There were individuals tweeting from and about Infocomm (#IC09) but hardly any companies were tweeting corporately. Audix, Draper and NEC tweeted about product launches and Crestron tweeted from their party but, as far as I could tell, no one exploiting social marketing tools to gain extra penetration.

Relationships Rule

I used to service the AV industry and checking back in with some of my old dealers revealed an interesting pattern. Those dealers that focused on building relationships, communities and engaging users have weathered the economic storm better than those that focused on closing the sale.

I maintain that social marketing is not difficult it’s just time consuming and requires planning. The extra effort required to provide a social marketing perspective to a tradeshow is minimal. All that is needed is a plan and briefing of the guys working the booth. If those manufacturers and dealers who focused on the relationship have succeeded to keep their revenues ticking along I’m wondering why there was so little attempt to build the relationship through the show.

What I would have done.

  • Start a specific tradeshow/new product LinkedIn group.
  • Start a twitter feed for new products.
  • Get photo’s of booth visitors, get their names and permission to post to Facebook.
  • Tweet about product demo times/launches.
  • Follow up tweets on products launches.
  • Ask the customers if Twitter would be useful to disseminate information (shipping info, order status, support ticket status etc etc).

Next year I hope to find companies building relationship using social marketing tools. It’s not difficult, it won’t hurt and the worse thing that could happen is that you and your customers may get to know each other better.

What was your experience at Infocomm? Was there more social networking going on than I was aware of? Let me know, I’d love to know.

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6 Responses to “Infocomm 09, A Social Media Perspective the AV”


  1. Stumbled upon your blog and hoped to see at least a mention of the positive results of our work, but evidently you didn’t see our stuff. I’d like to point users to our feed: http://www.twitter.com/SGASi that we’ve been using throughout the show.

    We did pre-show announcements to our private linkedin group, our corporate email list, and did WOM to get the message out about our new company that launched last weeek.

    I’d like to also note the use of a blog for show coverage (http://www.sgasi.com) with updates including ribbon-cutting photos and more.

    As a small company in a 10′ booth, we did what we could.

    I think the questions remain here about how these very successful companies see this very new technology.

    We had at least a dozen people stop by to see what our “twitter” was all about. I made some great contacts, found a few like-minded people, and engaged our brand.

    This is no magic bullet, and I guess I was in shock that few of the dealers and networks that exist haven’t seen the ability to get a message out quickly.

    Let’s chat about this more offline, I like your enthusiasm for the platform!

    Benjamin Slayter
    Director of Marketing
    SGASi Production Services
    http://www.sga.net
    blog: http://www.sgasi.com
    twitter: @SGASi
    person: 800.999.5278

    • philipvanp Says:

      Hey Benjamin, I’m really sorry I totally missed your feeds during Infocomm. I’m glad you were out there and were seeing tangible results.

      Phil


  2. While i agree that the corporately run scene was fairly sparse, the social media realm is an entirely new paradigm for most of these companies. Frankly I’m impressed as all get-out that there was as much Twitter presence as there was considering the “new” factor and the perception of Twitter and the rest as useless gimmicky time-sinks. Still, there were some bright spots. One company (SGASi) did a Twitter-based raffle/giveaway thing (that I missed out on, darnit!) and several companies now have official Twitterers on staff – plus Infocomm itself is embracing the new social media scene (albeit tentatively) with their Social Media director, Shana Rieger.

    Now, I fully anticipate next year being a more Twitterful experience for us all. Shana has great plans for Infocomm’s Social Media growth, including an “army” of “official Infocomm Twitterers” from various companies for next year. The success (small but real) of the Infocomm Tweetup and the Crestron Tweetup were also very encouraging! Plus, S&VC and several others have been blogging live from the show floor. Finally, many of those that weren’t Tweeting and Blogging and using Social Media were interested in learning about it! Today, I gave about 3 mini-lectures on Social Media and different creative ways to implement it for the AV market.

    In all, I’m very excited about the amount of social media already present at #ic09 and looking forward to all the growth to come!

    Cheers,
    Dawn Meade,CTS
    Advanced Video Systems, Owings Mills, MD
    aka AVDawn of http://www.avdawn.com and @avdawn on Twitter

    • philipvanp Says:

      I just picked up Ben from SGASI’s comment re their SN presence at the show. It’s a shame I totally missed them. I was hoping that with all the geeks at Infocomm there would have been a bigger SN component. It will be very interesting to see who adopts and really harnesses SN to better engage their customers.

      Thanks for the comment, Phil


  3. Phillip;

    I agree that more companies and organizations need to not just participate but become activists on Social Media. We have been slowly growing our outreach to include not just industry people but end clients as well.

    Crestron did more than just tweet from the party, we posted to our blog- which feeds our Twitter, FriendFeed and Facebook accounts- everything from the booth build, individual product sections, classes and the final trip home. We will have posted a ‘video walk through’ of the booth to YouTube in the next few days-(we intended to post on Thursday night but had some technical issues).

    Social Media and ‘real time reporting’ via SM does work. During the seven days CEN-BLG(beta) was active at Infocomm, we gained 200 followers and had over 4000 hits. Twitter followers commented on the products and generated conversation beyond the original post. My metrics showed a potential reach of over 10,000 for each post.

    You make very valid suggestions about tweeting product announcements and demo times; while we did do this early on -(pre show)- i found most followers were not attending the actual show and therefore wanted more direct information. Crestron has also tied our press release RSS to Twitter and FF which combined with the blog postings generated a good deal of conversation.

    Crestron has more comprehensive coverage planned for CEDIA and next year’s Infocomm, a better timed and announced Tweetup for one. Our tweetup was small but a hoot, good conversation, bit of drink and food and a pair of tickets to the Crestron party was given away. But really the conversations were the best part, meeting the people behind the tweets and sharing ideas, stories and general kinship.

    I have long based Crestron’s social networking outreach –(including the time I managed NJ support)- based on my early reading of the Cluetrain manifesto, that there is a conversation ongoing out ‘there’ and it will happen with our without you. Best to be part of it.

  4. philipvanp Says:

    Thanks for the comment George. It’s a shame I missed you and your coverage at the show. I think it would have been a good conversation.

    It looks like your doing a great job using SN to interact with your customers.

    Phil


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