by Andy McCaskey, Principal
Few aspects of business communications are changing as rapidly as the in-person tradeshow event. Recent trends in technology can amplify or eliminate the competitive advantage that a heavy trade show investment provided just a few years ago. [Reference]
Here are some tips on techniques and equipment that we recently deployed while providing New Media style coverage of a very large industry trade show event, along with some things to think about that will spark ideas for your next live trade show event.
The impact of connected mobile devices around the world has greatly increased the expectations of would-be trade show attendees and exhibitors alike. Advances in wireless networks with the new broadband wireless standards, powerful tablets and ubiquitous smartphone availability offer your company opportunities to involve more people with your product in its best light over a longer period of time. For a powerful combination, split your team into two groups - one at the trade event and the other in their normal home office locations, but still dedicated to the event.
Once you have added New Media to your marketing program, or perhaps used it with internal audiences for training or management information, the next step might seem to be adding video. But don’t be too hasty. What's needed is some careful thought about your marketing and communications goals, and an evaluation of your overall social media marketing program. Make sure you have the bases covered with content other than video before you make the leap.
Remember that the overall goal is to focus your efforts around using social media promotional tools to reach an involved community, creating and distributing good content. You might incidentally mention your product and services, but you must insure that your content offers value to that community and fits within the overall conversation within your industry. Adding video to your content mix is not an automatic road to higher engagement. It could be a fast track to over-reaching expectations, expense, and frustration.
If you've structured your program correctly, you are already off to a slow yet dependable start. You are publishing regularly, often enough to get noticed (weekly or bi-weekly), in a format and length that begins to allow an audience to build around your offering. Blog posts, infographics, PDF White Papers, app notes and ebooks are all forms of content that can be cross-promoted. Audio podcasts need to be delivered within a stream of other types of content that are of interest or value, and video content will need to complement that content and fit within your overall communications plan.
by Andy McCaskey, Principal
With all of the social media tools at your fingertips, your next challenge is creating and distributing good content about your product and service. A good place to start as you move beyond basic blog posts and photos is to add audio to your content mix, and then promote it with your social media tools.
New Media audio is not just podcasting, but so many people have become accustomed to that term from its traditional media adoption that it's a useful concept. Podcasting is a form of distribution that burst onto the scene in late 2004 due to the convergence of several factors, including the Apple iPod portable music player (replicated but never equaled by scores of competitors), the rapid rise of broadband penetration, and recognition that distribution of audio content could be automated and attached to popular blogging platforms, notably Wordpress. Most potential listeners still had poor connectivity, so the process of alerting a subscriber's computer to new content, slowly downloading overnight to the computer hard drive and then pushing to a portable player was a clever solution to the needs of the time. Apple iTunes quickly became the standard “podcatcher” on both Windows and Apple computers, performing the function automatically once a listener subscribed a podcast.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly can be found in just a few hours of monitoring Twitter traffic from inside and outside your organization using apps like TweetDeck. If you are going to effectively harness these new media tools for your organization, you need to be able to tell the difference and get quickly on the right track.
Why is good content on your social media channels so critical? Because disparaging word-of-mouth remarks can harm your image just as fast as compliments can amplify positive messages regarding your reputation and brand. Social media can establish and confirm industry leadership while it informs, enlightens and even entertains the community - a community of followers that have explicitly said “I’m interested” in your industry, your technology, and maybe even your products and services.
Stepping up your game is essential in today’s media. Even if you have traditional outbound marketing and PR coverage for your company and products, it’s a smart move to have a person or team with the right skill set designated to follow your company, industry and competitors on Social Media and a variety of New Media channels.
Don’t Outsource Your Personality
One of the biggest mistakes that can be made in the space is to outsource your presence to a third party that specializes in “content”. Such companies promise to fuel your brand with content marketing and social media posts, providing a full service from infographics to “SEO optimized” content, and a turnkey presence on “all” the social media channels. If you take this approach, your indexing may improve but people that sample your content will be turned off, because every industry has markers of genuine understanding. If you outsource the core of your personality, you should be prepared for ineffectual and expensive results.
by Andy McCaskey, Principal
Are you keeping Social Media and New Media in separate compartments in strategic and tactical planning?
You could lose traction in both, with the result that you do not get the full benefit from your investment in the rapidly-growing global phenomena of New Media and Social Media. If you consider these new communications tools as building blocks within important parts of your business engine, your strategic marketing investment will go a lot further. As you align your own New Media processes and activities, you will gain new insight into the maturity of competitors and be able to assess how well they deploy these new tools to strategic advantage.
As I pointed out in my last post, Social Media channels use various internet based platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus (Google+), Pinterest, and Instagram. What information gets shared over various social media platforms? It is same content and conversations that were shared among friends, business associates, and acquaintances ten, thirty or fifty years ago. Even if a particular social media (Somed) tool has been available only a few years or months, it is effective because it is "Word of Mouth" from a trusted source, extended across a social graph with vastly extended geographic and temporal boundaries.
We are fast approaching the state that connects almost anyone on the planet via the internet, now under its most recent moniker, “Social Media”. Understanding a bit about the relative position of Social Media in the world of New Media can offer an executive a deeper understanding of the changing landscape and help channel its flash, sizzle and current “trendiness” into useful business goals such as setting strategy, anticipating and mitigating risk, product development, and competitive awareness.
We define New Media as informal content, distributed via the internet, and produced and consumed by both internal and external audiences. Social Media (Somed) is both a subset of this definition and a distribution channel for New Media content.
If you have not given executive thought to trends in media and entertainment, that oversight might be a mistake. Video and audio production and distribution are radically changing as devices and consumer tastes undergo both revolutionary and evolutionary change. Monitoring and controlling how these new forms of information flow affect your brand is essential.
We are talking about “New Media”, defined as informal content that is being increasingly produced and consumed by both external and internal audiences either on-duty or off-duty. The term characterizes access to the river of information that flows around us in both professional and entertainment streams outside of traditional media channels such as trade press, radio and television.
Created on anything from new low-cost professional gear to tablet or smartphone, New Media augments and in some cases replaces traditional communications content and channels. Generational lines and preferences blur the lines between personal vs. enterprise information and professional vs. entertainment streams, while the “Bring Your Own Device” terminal flexibly displays content interchangeably in both roles.
As business leaders, we need clear policies and incentives on how employees and partners should access and use these digital media in away that reflects well on our brand. Coming from our TechZecs position of maximizing employee/partner empowerment and trust, here are some ideas indeveloping those policies:
Forget trying to withhold access - it doesn't work for Middle-East despots and it won't work for you. With smart phones and similar devices, anyone can get anywhere on the internet at any time. So let's use a more common sense approach.