IAEE Releases Roadmap for Implementing Social Media Strategies

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Dallas, TX – Social media may be fast-moving and often free of charge, but it also requires patience and resources if it is to become an effective tool for trade show organizers, a new white paper from the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) concluded.

The IAEE Social Media Task Force said in its October 15 paper that getting the ball rolling on a social media strategy and seeing it mature cannot be done overnight and will require show organizers to put in the necessary time and manpower.

“Time is the new currency for social media,” the paper said. “An organization that decides to jump into social media for an event without making the appropriate investment in time is likely to be disappointed with the results.”

As social media catches on with more and more attendees and exhibitors, increasing amounts of time and effort will be needed to organize larger volumes of content, monitor traffic and implement measurements. Decisions may also have to be made on what show content is provided for free. “The future of social media involves more strategy than tools,” the paper said.

The task force said it required “many months” to build a coveted online community around a trade show. The job would be best left to a small team of employees that would develop the specific goals and strategy and could call on others to pitch in as needed. Potential recruits include:

  • Speakers: Speakers and presenters can provide input for pre-show and post-show social media and also make themselves available to answer questions and otherwise interact with a cyberspace audience.
  • Industry volunteers: Members of the show’s target audience can help lead online discussions on specialty topics.
  • Younger professionals: While they may be junior in rank, they are highly in tune with the social media environment.
  • Older professionals: They can draw on their experience and name recognition to attract an audience. Retired industry executives also have time on their hands.
  • Vendors and consultants: Established and aspiring “thought leaders” have expertise and forward-looking ideas to offer.

A key piece of advice from the IAEE task force is keeping an eye on the ball, which is building attendance. Building up the value of face-to-face events through social media will be the ultimate payoff from this still-developing technology.

To download the white paper, go to http://www.iaee.com/pdf/SMTF_White_Paper_LORES_2010

Reach Susan Brower, IAEE staff liaison to the white paper subcommittee, at (972) 458-8002 or sbrower@iaee.com