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SHOW Issue 2 | 201255ou don't need to be a celebrity to know that the Internet has made the world an exceedingly diffi cult place in which to control people's opinion of you. Social media, bloggers and media outlets such as YouTube have made online perception a constantly updated and indelible entity.It makes the need for valuable and considered show promotion online increasingly important. Reed Exhibitions' e-business director Tesi Baur, who spoke at the recent UFI Asia Open Seminar, says the way in which exhibitions and online come together is often much cheaper and more benefi cial than organisers give it credit for. "Not too long ago, online was much easier to manage than it is today," he says. "Three years ago it was just a website, a brochure. You posted the date of the show, a few reasons why the user should come, maybe an exhibitor search and something about the visitors and the industry."Nowadays, says the UFI ICT committee vice-chair, there are more components to an exhibition's online strategy, including commercialising and making money from your website and using it to enable exhibitor and visitor workfl ows.But above all, there is social media: the biggest change to occur to organisers' online show elements in the last two years. "The big change social media brings is that your brand awareness is not in your hands anymore," warns Baur. "People talk about you on MANY PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS WILL LEARN ABOUT YOUR SHOW ONLINE. REED EXHIBITIONS' E-BUSINESS DIRECTOR TESI BAUR DISCUSSES NOVEL WAYS TO REAP THE UNTAPPED BENEFITS OF SOCIAL MEDIACREATING A STIR

SHOW SUPPORT56Issue 2 | 2012 www.exhibition-world.netLinkedIn, on Facebook, sometimes on very small communities, and you may not be aware that this conversation is going on."This means the way in which your potential visitor experiences your company is far more out of your control than it was two years ago."But it's not a factor to be regarded with anxiety. As Baur points out, social media can be used for marketing that is not possible in other mediums. He highlights a video Reed Exhibitions France created for its B2B show Viscom, as one example of ideal marketing for zero outlay. One of the show's visitors became a brand champion overnight when he posted a video of his trip to the event on YouTube, generating a buzz through positive online feedback."You see the exhibition from this visitor's point of view, you see exhibitors, you see products, you see him talk to other exhibitors and visitors, and his journey back to his village on France," says Baur.The whole video is edited with music and accompanied by comments underneath. Baur says that you would think it cost around ?10,000 (US$13,200) to make. "It has nice pictures, exactly the right message the team want to get across, a visitor coming to the show and returning home very happy. That's the story," he says."The funny thing was, this user produced this video with his iPhone, and we completely didn't know he was doing this. The last comment on the video was 'I'm returning home from Viscom, I met a lot of contacts, I've seen a lot of products and I will come back next year'."All this from a user? Best promotion ever - for nothing. This is social media."Another of his favourite examples came from the Cibeles Madrid Fashion Week, organised by IFEMA Spain. According to Baur, the organiser created a song to accompany the event and a video was posted online, with IFEMA employees ranging from the cleaner to the president, as well as exhibitors and visitors, all joining in.The video picked up 20,000 fans on Facebook. They then put the song on at Madrid's Plaza Mayor and on the evening before the 52nd edition of the Fashion Show, members of the pro-show 'Soy Cibelino' Facebook community met to dance to the fashion show's new theme. "After 10 minutes there were 500 people in the main square of the capital city of Spain, dancing to the song of the fashion show," Baur says.Of course, this event was turned into a video and placed on YouTube and Facebook again, and now has 40,000 fans on Facebook, with thousands more on LinkedIn. "They created this with a low budget, with a creative idea but not much money, a communication channel that stays forever." As Baur points out, your fans stay on Facebook, and your followers stay on Twitter or LinkedIn, and you can talk to them for as long as you want."It's a very good example of how to use social media to enhance brand awareness."So why not consider Baur's last line of advice. "If you have a show you want to develop, you could ask your users to produce a video with their iPhone, with the best video winning ?5,000. "Suddenly you have fi ve camera teams free of charge, more or less, on the show fl oor. This is how you can use social media for your show."Of course, the power of social media can work two ways. Today's brand champions can be tomorrow's fi ercest critics so there's no point using social media to promote a poor product. But social media's marketing value is evident, used wisely it is an effective and low-cost marketing channel. AboveThe Soy Cibelino crowd on Madrid's Plaza MayorThinking of refreshing your exhibition's website? Here are fi ve common mistakes:. Too much or too little text. No colour concept. No site layout. Confusing navigation structure. Poor functionalityTHE WAY YOUR POTENTIAL VISITOR EXPERIENCES YOUR COMPANY IS FAR MORE OUT OF CONTROL