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[Guest Post] The Future of the American Tradeshow, Leveraging Social Media….

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The US holds approximately 2500 global tradeshows every year showcasing new products and services from around the world. It is unsurprising that the world capitalist superpower enjoys being the host of the consumer fair whilst businesses can thrive off the competitive atmosphere and wealth of opportunity available at these meetings.

The tradeshow itself was not invented as a product of contemporary capitalism, but originated from the sharing of crafts between small’s towns in Medieval Europe from an era of merchant capitalism. Such trades would often involve the sharing of knowledge and craftsman ship in addition to worthy product sets. These meetings were welcomed by all, whilst many modern shows are now based on virtual markets for which the average individual does not possess the niche knowledge, whilst some refrain from allowing public invitation completely.

Considerable marketing investment is required from a participating company to take part due to costs from the exhibition stand design, rental space and the accommodation of the sales staff. The featured product or service is likely to be a technological innovation that could incur additional costs to run. This can hamper the opportunities for smaller businesses to participate which has resulted in the increase of cyber shows whereby interactive media shares the products or services. This however, has failed to capture the imagination of business consumers and does not provide the genuine tradeshow experience and benefits through relationship building and live displays.

The Tradeshows future, should it wish to capture the imagination of the public and develop a complimentary public relations platform, should consider a wider integration of Social Media into the shows performance. Businesses can engage online communities by allowing visiting attendees to tweet their experience from the show and share the technological innovation with the world. This would not only encourage debates and a larger public participation but open up new marketing opportunities for business to build social connections for sales opportunities.

Let’s have a look at Social Media engagement and its tools as a communications medium.

Pre Show – A media buzz can be created around the exhibition stand and product display using social tools, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter. This can allow people to participate in giveaways, breakout sessions and provide personal greetings before the show.

During the Show – Realtime tweets from consumer engagement offers unique promotion and a valuable social sharing experience.

Post Show Evaluation – Social Signals and CRM software allow you to analyze the business development opportunities arising from social interaction and trace contacts around the world. Topics that are trending from the tradeshow can have your input to continue the shows featured after the exhibitions have closed.

Social Media can integrate the wider community of business and people and provide a full circle of knowledge transfer that mirrors the era of merchant tradeshows for crafts, knowledge and expertise, moving beyond a capitalist ticket of acquiring a single pass entry for the shows product display. The future of the American Tradeshow will continue to incorporate the development of new forms of social engagement for which business and consumers will reap the rewards.

Author Bio – James Barnett is an author on behalf of Nimlok providing research articles into innovative business strategy and new technology and innovation.

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