Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Using Social Media at the Fancy Food Show: How We Did it…

Posted by Melissa

To promote use of social media at the trade show,
the organizers set up a social media lounge, which
featured a live stream of tweets with the show's hashtag
To promote the PA Exhibit area at the Fancy Food Show in Washington, D.C., we followed our own advice and took the before, during and after approach to utilizing social media.  Here’s how and what we did: 

As soon as we secured our booth space, we started promoting the PA Pavilion on twitter.  Approxmately six months before the show a designated hashtag was created for the Fancy Food Show along with the hashtag for the trade association putting on the show:  #sffs12 and #NASFT.
From that point on we incorporated both hashtags in all our trade show related tweets and started following the hashtag.  We tweeted the booth numbers of the PA Pavilion exhibitors and about the products and brands that would be represented in the PA Pavilion.  We also started retweeting things that would be interesting or helpful to other exhibitors, which started conversations between us and other exhibitors.  Primarily we kept promoting PA’s presence, especially the companies within the PA Pavilion through twitter.  We also learned about the official tweet up for the show by following this hashtag.  In addition, we posted a few times on facebook to reach an audience on a different platform.

We tweeted pictures from before set-up, during the show and tear down of the PA Pavilion booths.  Since we had eight participating companies, we tweeted individually about each company as well as collectively. What did we tweet about?  We put out messages about visiting the PA booth, what types of products/brands were in PA booth, about other PA exhibitors, retweeted facts about the show itself and educational seminars that occurred during the show.  We really promoted the PA booth several times a day through different tweets to attract participants to the "PA Aisle".  All these tweets contained the hashtag, so they were seen by everyone monitoring the hashtag at the show.  Our focus was really promoting the companies in the PA booth, while still providing other relevant show information. From set up to tear down, we shared the PA companies’ Summer Fancy Food Show experience via twitter.

Throughout the show, as well as after the show, we thanked everyone who interacted with us on twitter. A simple thank you for recognizing our tweets and either sharing them or replying to them is important. We also thanked everyone who participated in our booth and who met with us during the show.  We blogged a recap of the show in three different ways:  the show itself, pictures and this social media related post. 

Things to Consider for Next Time:
This year we didn’t actually have our own booth - there was such a demand for space by companies that neither the State's Center for Trade Development nor the WTC had a spot within the PA Pavilion.   Next year we hope to have a small portion of a booth to better promote the PA food industry in general.  This will allow us to have fun giveaways that feature PA on foursquare, twitter, and facebook!

The Pennsylvania Pavilion at the Summer Fancy Food show was organized by the World Trade Center of Central Pennsylvania in conjunction with the Commonwealth’s Center for Trade Development and it was funded in part through a STEP grant award from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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