Want to take your trade show and turn it into a compelling, not-to-miss industry event? Try strapping a few live action cameras to some of your attendees, let them loose on the showfloor, live stream their experiences on Facebook and voila – you’ve not only given your at-home audience a glimpse of what they’re missing, you’ve also turned your event into a cutting-edge attendee marketing machine!
One Atlanta-based trade show did exactly that, and with overwhelmingly positive results.
As a biennial trade show and conference for the woodworking, design, and material processing industry, the International Woodworking Fair (IWF Atlanta) isn’t a stranger to harnessing the latest video and social media technology to drive participation and increase engagement before, during and after the event.
For its 2014 show, IWF partnered with CNTV, a media company specializing in conventions, trade shows, exhibitions, events and conferences, to help launch its IWF TV YouTube video campaign, which ended up amassing over 500,000 views and almost two million impressions.
But for IWF 2016, held Aug. 24-27 at the Georgia World Congress Center, IWF Vice President of Sales and Marketing Jim Wulfekuhle wanted to find something new to help build on the success and momentum of IWF TV.
Since the event draws a strong regional and drive-in audience, Wulfekuhle began looking for a new technology platform that would not only capture the excitement of the trade show floor but also lure in last-minute decision makers to the event.
“Around a month out from the show I decided at three in the morning (that we would) put GoPro (cameras) on four buyers and business owners at the trade show,” Wulfekuhle said. “That led to discussions with CNTV, who we were already using for the second time, which led to (the idea of using) Facebook live.”
For those unfamiliar with Facebook Live, this live video streaming service allows users to instantly broadcast live videos from their mobile devices to their Facebook news feeds.
With just weeks to go until IWF 2016, CNTV got busy bringing Wulfekuhle’s idea to fruition.
“CNTV’s team has produced thousands of hours of live broadcasts, so it was a natural fit for us to help IWF TV extend its video marketing presence via Facebook Live,” Greig Powers, COO of CNTV said.
He added, “While we’ve created many live programs for a variety of clients over time, what was different about this project was the idea of visually bringing in a buyer’s point of view while also taking advantage of the built-in audience Facebook ‘likes’ provide.”
Using GoPros strapped to the chests of four buyers, CNTV broadcasted multiple views of the business owners walking the showfloor, visiting booths, engaging in conversations with exhibitors and trying out a range of products and services.
After working a little editing magic, CNTV then broadcast the footage on IWF’s Facebook page, giving viewers an authentic, first-person view of the IWF trade show experience.
“While many people can create a live Facebook stream from their phone, what’s evident is that professional touches (improve) the viewer experience and reflection on the brand,” Powers said.
To ensure reliability and quality, CNTV’s behind-the-scenes video team used professional equipment and television broadcasting techniques to ensure a valuable and authentic viewing experience, including:
· Multiple camera views
· On-screen text for higher engagement
· Audio quality not possible with a cell phone microphone
· Coaching of on-camera buyers to increase their on-screen effectiveness
· Content plan development and timeline to assure show objectives are met
· Possibility of streaming to multiple platforms (such as YouTube)
· Use of recording for other uses (i.e. playback in hotels, shuttles, convention center monitors)
“The end result, from a show marketing perspective, is that viewers found out what they’re missing if they, too, are not on the trade show floor,” Powers said.
He continued, “We believe this led to some professionals who were within a reasonable distance of Atlanta to attend the show last-minute. It will also generate buzz for the next IWF Atlanta and created content that can be used year-round.”
IWF’s digital marketing strategy appears to be paying off. Ranked as IWF’s largest show since 2008, the 2016 event saw a 19 percent rise in attendance compared to its 2014 event, with 17,125 attendees and 1,079 exhibitors spanning 532,565 net square feet of exhibit space.
According to Wulfekeule, IWF will once again partner with CNTV for its 2018 show and has plans to use 360 live cameras to further enhance the event’s robust video and live streaming efforts.
So why should more show organizers consider harnessing the power of social media and live streaming for their events?
“Social channels are such a powerful tool for marketing events, and Facebook places a huge emphasis on live content,” Powers said. “Live streams are prioritized to the top of users’ feeds, and on top of that, creating live broadcasts leverages the ‘likes’ that event organizers work so hard to grow year-round.”
He continued, “Previously, the most common way to live stream required a new audience each time to arrive at a certain time and web page. With Facebook, the audience is already established and we can deliver the live content directly to an app that tens of millions of users already have. Live content also adds spontaneity and authenticity to event marketing, which younger audiences crave.”
IWF Atlanta will return to the Georgia World Congress Center Aug. 22-25, 2018.
- Association Show News