This week’s topic in MMC5006: Introduction to Multimedia Communications covered trade show and event marketing with a special focus on social media. We were asked to follow the social media marketing and engagement endeavors of Cosmoprof North America for their 2014 cosmetic trade show event in Las Vegas beginning Sunday, July 13th and ending Tuesday, July 15. The following are details from my personal findings, analysis, and opinions and are for educational purposes only.
Cosmoprof on YouTube
One of the great things Cosmoprof did to build excitement for their 2014 trade show was to post a video highlighting last year’s conference. This video was added to the Cosmoprof North America YouTube Channel on July 2nd and also featured on the website’s front page.
Cosmoprof also uploaded a welcome video to their YouTube channel, but I did not see it listed anywhere on their website. I am assuming it was used as part of a welcome package distributed only to registrants and/or played live at the event and perhaps on local hotel channels. If this is the case, I feel that the company may have missed an amazing opportunity to gather more attendees because the video was well done and highlighted some really fantastic things about the show’s credentials as well as offerings including several awards (“Marketing Genius Award”, “Most Innovative Trade Show Organization”, and others), information on the free Cosmoprof 2014 event app, and a spotlight on an interactive experience for brand’s to learn how to better market themselves through social media using Springbox, Strike Social, and Bamboo.
Additionally, the video provided social media information and links for attendees to participate live in the social conversations and it also established the official hashtag (#cosmoprofna) for participants to use when sharing information related to their Cosmoprof 2014 experience.
I did notice that the highlights video was not cross-promoted on Cosmoprof’s Twitter Profile or on Cosmoprof’s Facebook Page. It seems to me that this was another missed opportunity to share some really exciting content. Additionally, thus far, the event’s YouTube page has not been updated with any new content.
Cosmoprof on Facebook
Facebook was one of Cosmoprof’s moderately active platforms. In the two weeks prior to the event, Cosmoprof posted six times. One post asked the question “What are you excited to see at this year’s #Cosmoprof?!” (Notice the hashtag is not the same as the established #cosmoprofna established in the welcome video.) It received a dozen likes, but no comments. Four other posts featured some blog posts to build some excitement, three of which were from the Cosmoprof Official Blog and one of which was from another related blog called Beauty Frosting.
During the event, Cosmoprof used Facebook to highlight a couple brands. It also shared two more blog posts, three consumer-generated videos, and a photo of their Discover Beauty Award Winner.
As of the date of this blog post, July 20th, Cosmoprof has not posted on Facebook since the last day of the event.
Cosmoprof on Linkedin
Cosmoprof’s Linkedin group is one of the social media channels listed at the top of the trade show’s website, however it has very little activity on it over the last couple of years. About a week prior to the show, though, Cosmoprof’s Director of Marketing, Daniela Ciocan, added a discussion to the group to help build awareness and engage potential attendees.
It is smart of the brand’s marketing director to reach out on Linkedin prior to the event, but I feel this platform may have been underutilized. Of course I do not know what went on behind-the-scenes on this Linkedin, but this is a group of industry professionals all in one place. It seems to me that this would have been the perfect venue for generating more excitement, encouraging attendance, and engaging with Cosmoprof’s target audience for a B2B event.
Cosmoprof on Pinterest
Cosmoprof North America’s Pinterest Account was another social media connection included on the show’s main website. However, upon visiting, I discovered very little new material. The most recent pin was just a couple weeks before the show date and most were at four or more weeks prior to the show.
I also noticed that the profile header was not updated for the 2014 show with correct show dates, but still displayed 2013 dates and location. I found this to be confusing since it was still the active link from the updated trade show website to Pinterest, and there were some relatively recent pins. Perhaps this detail was simply overlooked.
Although Cosmoprof does not appear to have opted to use their Pinterest profile to pin pre-show or live-show content, perhaps it has intentions to use it for showcasing post-show highlights, brands, and/or products?
A quick Pinterest search of “Cosmoprof 2014” brought up plenty of pins associating themselves with the event using the show’s name. Perhaps Cosmoprof’s marketing plan for this particular channel is to allow the consumers to do the legwork and generate the fantastic content and, thus, event advocacy? This could possibly be a viable strategy.
Cosmoprof on Instagram
Cosmoprof North America’s Instagram was definitely one of the more active channels. The brand did not do much to promote on Instagram in advance, (which certainly could have been very beneficial with some teaser content), but it was sure to make good use of the platform during the show by sharing beautiful images of products, attendees, exhibitor’s at their booths, and event happenings. Cosmoprof engaged with its audience by asking questions, making catchy comments, and encouraging them to check out exciting new products. It used @ mentions in some posts and also used hashtags, though not consistently.
On the last day of the event as well as a couple days following, Cosmoprof North America’s activity dropped from the average 14 Instagram posts to only three or four a day. The post-event images on the 16th and 17th shared 2014 highlight events, and then no other posts were made (at the time of this post). Cosmoprof need not worry too much, though, because their exhibitors and visitors are busy at home sharing plenty of content on Instagram and mentioning the event along the way!
Cosmoprof on Twitter
Cosmoprof North America’s Twitter is by far the most active of all their channels, both by the show itself and its audience.
On July 9th and the days leading up to event Cosmoprof tweeted links to blog posts to provide relevant content. It also retroactively searched for Tweets mentioning the show and retweeted those to generate excitement. This was a great idea because it created more content and provided social proof that others were talking talking about the show. Plus it likely made those who were retweeted feel special and therefore probably helped to solidify those relationships a bit more as well as inspire others to mention the show in hopes of being retweeted too.
During the show, Cosmoprof was very busy tweeting live. Over the three days, it generated over 225 tweets and retweets. Most of these highlighted booths and products, but some of them also promoted user generated content and positive comments by attendees. Other special content included the Discover Beauty Award winner and event images.
Cosmoprof has only generated one tweet since the close of the event, and that was one last congratulations to their 2014 award winner made on July 17th.
Social Media Marketing Recommendations for the Future
Cosmoprof’s hashtag usage on Twitter is the biggest aspect of its social media endeavors that seemed to need the most clarity and organization. Some posts had hashtags and others did not. Throughout most of the event, each individual booth number was used as a hashtag. (See image of sample tweets above.) However, this practice was also abandoned at times, and probably for the best since it acts to divide the focus of the audience rather than unify it. In my opinion, though, the biggest Twitter hashtag misstep for Cosmoprof North America was that the brand not use its own hashtag (#cosmoprofna) set forth by the marketing director in the Welcome Video. Fixing this for next year’s event would be my number one recommendation to this company.
My number two recommendation would simply be to engage in more conversation with the audience. Cosmoprof did a great job of sharing the exhibitors’ and attendees’ content, but I did not see it liking or responding to comments made to, or about, the event. (This was especially evident on Instagram.)
Lastly, if sponsors are a part of this event, I might recommend mentioning them and thanking them publicly across social media channels. However, since I didn’t notice any sponsor information, I am not sure if this applies to this particular trade show.
Other Elements of IMC and Branding
Cosmoprof North America seems to do a good job of covering their bases with regards to their digital IMC strategy. The website is nicely designed and offers an email sign up. (Therefore the brand clearly uses email communication). Additionally, marketing efforts include a healthy multimedia mix of video, photo, a mobile app, and blog posts to promote the event.
Regarding branding, Cosmoprof is especially strong in the area of properly conveying brand image and doing so consistently across channels. The brand logo and the event’s images were implemented on most social media platforms as well as on video and the event signage. (Look back through the images in this blog to see evidence of uniformed signage.)
On the whole, it is clear that Cosmoprof has created a reasonably strong strategic social media marketing presence. Obviously, the brand has not won these awards for not doing so!