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The current obsession with selfies proves that people love to share what they’re doing with their friends and colleagues. Instagram is a great way to harness this trend and supercharge your trade show exhibit experience with energy and enthusiasm.
If you have any doubts about the value of social media to improve trade show exhibit results, check out EXHIBITOR Magazine’s just published 2014 Social Media Study. (The report says 80% of companies are integrating social media into their exhibit marketing programs—versus just 58% in 2012.)
Back to Instagram: Just picture it: Your trade show exhibit filled with happy prospects and customers—all posing for the camera, your logo, demos and exhibitry in the background—shared with hundreds of their contacts.
3D Exhibits just did an Instagram wall for Thomson Reuters at the annual meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). Who ever said librarians aren’t much fun should have seen the Thomson Reuters exhibit. There were smiling faces and iPhones snapping away all over the place.
After shooting their images, people sprinted to the Instagram wall and watched to see their photo appear among the constantly-refreshing montage of images.
If you’re thinking about adding an Instagram wall to your exhibit, here are a few things to consider:
Ten Things To Consider When Creating An Instagram Wall for Your Trade Show Exhibit
- An Instagram wall will work best with a social-media loving audience. It’s important to know your trade show audience demographic to ensure that your customers and prospects are comfortable with social media and therefore likely to participate. For younger audiences, especially those with a good percentage of millennials, participation is a no brainer—almost a natural reflex. For older audiences—or audiences who feel strongly about protecting their privacy—an Instagram wall probably won’t work. A good test would be to survey your customers and find out what percentage are already on Instagram. The higher the percentage, the more likely your activity is to be a success.
- An Instagram wall works best if there is an activity in your booth. Thomson Reuters’ Instagram wall was a component of a larger integrated trade show marketing program that included an educational game that drove attendees from station-to-station in order to accumulate points and earn prizes. This quest aroused attendees’ competitive spirits, heightened the energy level in the booth and got people in the mood for a little photo fun.
- Place your Instagram wall where it will draw attention. Your Instagram wall should be large, bright and where everyone notices it to achieve maximum impact. Thomson Reuters located its Instagram wall along a busy aisle. The wall was positioned at an angle, a few feet in from the edge of the carpet so passers by would notice the images, then step into the exhibit to view them.
- Make sure people know that you have an Instagram activity. With all of the exhibit hall commotion, visitors don’t automatically notice every activity available to them in your booth. Thomson Reuters promoted its Instagram wall to attendees via an Instagram Squad—a group of exhibit staffers equipped with cameras who explained the activity and even offered to shoot photos for them.
- Supplement the user-generated images to get things going. Audiences are shy about going first—but you need momentum to keep those photos coming. Get the ball rolling yourself by having your staff shoot a couple of dozen photos for your wall as soon as your show opens. Thomson Reuters peppered its wall with photos shot by camera-equipped members of the exhibit staff.
- Decide on your technology well in advance. There is lots to decide here, so take the pressure off yourself by planning what you want as far in advance as possible—and giving your trade show technology team ample time for programming. Questions to ask yourself include: How will the technology work? What type and size of display? Do you want one photo to show at a time or a collage? How frequently should the display refresh?
- Include a hashtag related to your show or company (link to http://mashable.com/2013/10/08/what-is-hashtag/ ) so people can easily locate your Instagrams. Thomson Reuters used #AALL2014 so the images would be visible to everyone following the show on social media.
- Like your participants’ Instagrams. And while you’re at it, get other team members to like participants’ Instagrams too. It’s hard to squeeze another item on your todo list in the middle of a show, but thanking your participants expresses your appreciation and gives attendees the validation of knowing that their images were viewed.
- Consider a prize to spur activity. Thomson Reuters didn’t use one, but if you really want to stir up a selfie-frenzie offer a prize for one or two participants chosen at random.
- Start promoting your Instagram activity pre-show. Build excitement and engage your audience before your show through an e-blast that invites them to post photos to Instagram before the event starts. Designate a hashtag and offer a prize or incentive for posting.
Have you tried an Instagram wall? If you have, we’d love to hear about your experience. If you’d like to hear more about what we did for Thomson Reuters, email me at ngenarella@3DExhibits.com.COMMENTS
How do we love our new 3D Exhibits home? Let us count the ways…
1. Collaborative workspace. Our new office has conference rooms, presentation rooms and several lounges with comfy couches. Everything we need to sit down and brainstorm together on new trade show exhibit designs and programs.
2. Awesome technology. We’re wired—and it’s not just the coffee. We can seamlessly access reference and materials from our conference rooms, share our portfolio with visitors from multiple locations in our facility, and collaborate with colleagues in our other offices.
3. It shows who we are. There is absolutely nothing corporate about our workspace. Like working with 3D Exhibits, it’s inventive and a little irreverent. And it’s as colorful as we are. Red and lime green. High ceilings. Reclaimed doors. A very large statue of a head. Being here is just a whole lot of fun.
4. Room to grow. If you visited us before, you probably noticed that we were getting a little cramped. Now we can stretch out a bit—even take a jog around the office.
5. We can exercise our passion—literally. You may not know this, but as an organization, 3D Exhibits places a high priority on fitness. Many of us workout regularly and some of us even run marathons and do Iron Man competitions—including our president, Gene. Often we run 5Ks together for charity as Team 3D. So of course our new facility includes an onsite gym that enables us to keep both our brains and bodies active.
6. Going green. We’re doing our part to reduce the number of plastic bottles we use. For our own health—and for the good of the environment—we’ve installed an Elkay filtered water system.
7. Our building references where we’ve been. We’re proud of our history. So yes, you’re seeing that right. That’ s the 3D “evolve” logo that was featured in our EXHIBITOR exhibit five years ago in the photo at the top of this post.
We hope you’ll stop by for a visit soon. We’d love to give you a tour and start you on your own 3D Exhibits Journey.
Color can be a powerful tool in designing and building a trade show exhibit that communicates your brand’s personality—especially when that brand includes subtle attributes such as approachable, tranquil, artsy, imaginative and designy.
Applying this technique to your booth design adds an emotional component to your visitors’ exhibit experience—and elevates immersion and memorability. It’s a sure fire way to make attendees not just see your brand, but feel it.
Lunada Bay Tile applied the tonal approach to its new exhibit design with great success—leveraging its California bay-inspired corporate palette of aquatic turquoise and stone to visually evoke the Zen emotions one would experience while gazing out over a Pacific oceanscape. Here’s how:
Four Tips For A Trade Show Exhibit Design that Expresses Softer Brand Attributes
- Limit Your Use of Strong Colors. Logo colors are bold by design, so the trick here is to apply that color in moderation. Lunada Bay Tile leveraged its corporate turquoise for its corporate identity, some product samples and a few small accent pieces (origami swans) in its lounge. It then balanced those selective bright splashes of color with larger neutral areas of white, pebble and sand.
- Integrate Toned Down Shades. Reinforce and support your logo color—and create a subtle visual transition between that color and your neutral or white areas—with toned down shades of your signature brand color. (This is how you create that overall softer look and feel.) For example, Lunada Bay Tile’s pastel blue couches greatly enhance the air of tranquility in the exhibit—and act as a transition between its bright turquoise logo and the primarily white environment.
- Display Product That Reflects Your Color Palette. You don’t have to display every color sample in your line—or even a fraction of them. Limiting your product presentation to shades that support your tonal scheme will reinforce the image and mood you are trying to create. If visitors want to see other colors, they will ask—or you can offer to show them via samples housed in drawers, literature or through images on a monitor.
- Integrate Soft Textures. Nothing says approachable, warm and comfortable like soft and squishy. Enhance your environment and mood with items that actually are soft to the touch-such as couches, carpet, pillows, fabric and upholstery.
Exhibit rental is on the rise.
EXHIBITOR Magazine reports that the number of companies using custom rental for at least some of their shows has increased 32% in the past three years—with 37% of survey respondents renting an exhibit at one or more shows per year.COMMENTS
Marketers want to tell their trade show booth visitors so many things—what their product is, what it does, how it works. But before prospects will listen, you have to start by convincing them you’re worth their time.
The way to do that is through a concise graphic message that clearly states how your product benefits them. You have to answer their top of mind question—which is “What’s In It For Me?” (WIIFM).COMMENTS