How IMEXLive Captured the Trade Show Buzz at IMEX America
If you logged onto the 2013 IMEX America homepage during recent trade show and conference in Las Vegas, you instantly got a taste of what was happening on the showfloor in real time through IMEXLive. It was like getting hooked on reality TV.
The overlay (or pop-up) page featured a live webcam, a number of appointments currently in session, and search of exhibitors and educational sessions, as well as a live stream of content pulled with show-related hashtag searches from Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram.
The show itself had a strong social media presence and generated its own content, including video highlights, IMEX Daily, press releases, podcasts, IMEX TV. "Social media angels" roamed the floor in search of stories and ideas to share with the world.
"We really wanted to focus on the experience of people around us and their perspectives," said Miguel Neves, senior online community manager at IMEX.
He added, "We were conscious about not creating a hybrid event. The idea was to let people who were not here feel the buzz and to inspire them to come out here and have conversations in person."
Beyond being a virtual social hub, IMEXLive also served as a place to quickly respond to issues and answer question. "If someone is at the show and can't find something or just wants to tell us something, we should be able to respond and engage with them," Neves said.
Gerrit Heijkoop with Netherlands-based How Can I Be Social (HCIBS) that co-produced the portal was impressed by the amount and quality of content that exhibitors and attendees generated on the floor.
"The content had gotten so much better than previous years," he said. "Instead of repeatedly ‘shouting’ 'Come visit my booth', both exhibitors and visitors were really engaging in either interesting conversations or sharing some ‘love’ for others."
The team was also surprised by the sheer volume of information coming at them and learnt that even with all the automation, it's still important to have "human filters" monitoring the channels.
"Make sure to allocate a significant resource in terms of skilled staff," Heijkoopsaid. "Not only people who understand the ground rules of Social Media, but who are also knowledgably about industry specific topics and political sensitivities. They should take it seriously while at the same time keep light hearted and experimental about it."
Another valuable lesson that the team got out of the experience was learning more about the social media efforts of the stakeholders ahead of time and finding ways to collaborate. "Everybody is experimenting and we're probably doubling down on resources," Neves said. "For example, people are producing their own video. If we knew about it in advance, there could be a possibility of having equipment in place for videos."
Debuted at IMEX Frankfurt earlier in 2013, America IMEXLive received more than 9,000 page views, each lasting six minutes on average. Overall, the show generated 15,486 tweets, involved 4,087 contributors, as well as achieved a reach of 3.6 million and exposure of 39.4 million.