Content chemistry & social networking (part 1) – 12 for 12 audio podcast episode 06

Once called the conversation behind the conversation, social media (or social networking) and its impact on the success of a marketing event is another critical piece of the puzzle.

This month we join with two seasoned experts in social media marketing – Cass McCrory founder of Capra Strategy and Andy Crestodina co-founder of Orbit Media – to discuss social networking and where it fits in exhibit marketing.

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Episode guide

[00:00 – 03:45] Introduction

Host: Adam Voss

[03:45 – 06:22] Leveraging Social Media Pre-Show and Preferred Tools

Guests: Andy Crestodina, Cass McCrory
Host: Adam Voss

[06:23 – 09:00] Brand Representation Online

Guests: Andy Crestodina, Cass McCrory
Host: Adam Voss

[09:01 – 11:19] Tradeshow CRM with Social Media and Valuable Incentives

Guests: Andy Crestodina, Cass McCrory
Host: Adam Voss

[11:20 – 12:14] Closing Thoughts

Host: Adam Voss


Want to know more?

Here are some links related to the research and discussion:

Latest Mashable articles about social networking.

10 Key Advantages of Social Media for Skeptics

Is there true networking behind the fluff?



Andy Crestodina

Andy Crestodina is a co-founder and the Strategic Director of Orbit Media, an award-winning 38-person web design company in Chicago. As a top-rated speaker at national conferences and as a writer for many of the biggest blogs, Andy has dedicated himself to the teaching of marketing. Over the past 15 years, Andy has provided web strategy and advice to more than a thousand businesses.

Andy has written hundreds of articles on content marketing topics for dozens of blogs and media websites. Favorite topics include content strategy, search engine optimization, social media and Analytics. He is also the author of “Content Chemistry: The Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing.”

Cass McCrory

Cass McCrory is founder of Capra Strategy and Sales Get Social helping sales & marketing professionals in the business to business space through integrated enterprise campaigns and social media.

Cass has worked in the enterprise space for over ten years delivering marketing campaigns that have driven sales and social results for companies such as Accenture, Avanade, and Starwood Hotels.


Show transcript


(Adam Voss) If you’ve ever friended, Tweeted, hash-tagged, posted or liked, you are very likely familiar with social media. According to the Pew Internet Project, as of January 2014, a whopping 74 percent of all American adults currently online use social networking sites. Not surprising, Facebook remains the dominant player with nearly one and a third billion users worldwide, depending on who shared the stats on your page. Although social media is no longer the new kid on the virtual block, it’s presence on the tradeshow floor is surprisingly absent. And while Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others seamlessly lend themselves to a range of marketing functions, few exhibitors are effectively leveraging these tools. Why is that? Retail gets it. Hollywood gets it. Why do so many tradeshow managers so seriously miss the mark? Digital evangelists at the beginning of the century predicted the end is nigh for tradeshows and conferences. The opposite now seems to be true. Marketing executives are recognizing that face-to-face marketing is more critical than ever and, as a result, increasing their investments as the economy improves. But with all this spend, how can organizations leverage social media, truly tap into to enhance the value, impact and return on investment? Well, to answer this and other fascinating questions is why we’re here, as today’s podcast focuses on a hash-tag, social media on the tradeshow floor.


(Adam Voss) Hello. And welcome to Echelon’s 12 For 12, a series of 12-minute podcasts created to info, entertain and inspire creative individuals. And as always, my name is Adam Voss. I’m an entertainer, professional emcee and fellow social media user and design geek, and I’ll be your host for the next 12 minutes.

In the same way that episode three of 12 For 12, and I know you’ve listened to it, addressed the subtle, hidden dimension of proxemics, there’s another vastly growing component of tradeshows that exists in the ether. It’s a world of chatter, the conversation behind the conversation, and the place where people in the know stay on top of peer opinion and observation. Today’s guests are experts in this hidden realm and have been players, patrons and proselytizers of social media throughout their careers. As the co-founder and strategic director of Chicago-based Orbit Media, Andy Crestodina has been providing Web strategy advice for the last 14 years to more than 1,000 businesses over the globe. An avid teacher and professional public speaker, he’s written more than 250 articles on content marketing and is the author of a book I’m holding in my hand right now called Content Chemistry: The Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing. Welcome Andy.

(Andy Crestodina) Thank you.

(Adam Voss) My second panelist, joining via phone and link technology, is here is Cass McCrory, a passionate marketing strategists and principal of Capra Strategy, a marketing and technology consulting firm with extensive experience in traditional, online and mobile marketing. . Hi Cass, welcome to the show.

(Cass McCrory) Thanks for having me.

Leveraging social media pre-show and preferred tools

(Adam Voss) Thanks for being here guys. Now Andy, Cass, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you guys would both agree that tradeshows provide a great opportunity for clients, prospects and partners to come face-to-face with a company’s physical brand. How can organizations leverage social media before, during and after the show to increase the impact of this face-to-face opportunity?

(Andy Crestodina) Well, the before-the-show thing, I think social media turns into just a giant opportunity because it is the world’s greatest phonebook. You can look people up in advance. You can find out not just who they are —

(Adam Voss) Not just ex-girlfriends.

(Andy Crestodina) Not just ex-girlfriends. Well, most — there are definitely ex-girlfriends. It depends on the tradeshow. [Laughter] But there’s a — I don’t know. I would try to look up people who are likely to be there, try to start conversations with them in advance, like spend some time on Linked In. Some shows will have their own Linked In group. You know, you can become really visible right in there just by engaging in that conversation, answering questions, asking questions. But I think there’s some research up front that gives people a big advantage because then the people they meet, the faces they see at the show aren’t quite as cold. It’s easier to start that conversation.

(Adam Voss) Know your audience.

(Andy Crestodina) Know your audience. Know who is going to be there. Connect with them in advance. Start the conversation before the show, and it’s not going to be quite as cold. Right? You’re going to walk in, you’re going to walk up to people, like, “Oh, yeah.” If you watch social media people or those who are active in these networks engage, they’re always sort of, they always have this weird moment where, “Hey, I already kind of know you, don’t I?” Because they’ve been interacting already.

(Adam Voss) Right. Right, right, right. Now are there specific social media channels that work better in concert with tradeshows, you know, promoting these type of events?

(Cass McCrory) So we really see tradeshows as business-to-business events. And so in that way, Linked In is going to be a great resource because people are already in that frame of mind of networking from one business to another business. But at the end of the day, it is all about people. So using Twitter and having personal profiles of the people that are actually hosting your exhibition at the event, involved with the actual people that are in attendance, that’s a winning situation, whether that’s done on Twitter or Linked In or, depending upon your product, Facebook.

(Andy Crestodina) I totally agree. And along those lines, I mean, just polishing up that profile. Anybody who is going to be at the show, it is without question worth it to do professional headshots, make sure, you know, get that copyedited, all that —

(Adam Voss) Right.

(Andy Crestodina) –you know, their bio, that description, write some recommendations for each other, people on your team. So make that Linked In profile really shine. That’s going to help those people have a better show.

Brand representation online

(Adam Voss) Now there’s a conversation, Andy, you and I had it at a party a few months ago, it’s like the embodiment of brand, being the face of a brand, putting an actual face behind the brand, being the CEO or the COO or somebody that’s representing that brand. Do you find that, you know, like a personal channel, like Facebook, is better for that? Or, you know, is a brand getting represented as well on a Linked In platform?

(Andy Crestodina) Well, people buy from people. Relationships happen between people. So it’s you’re putting yourself at a big disadvantage if you try to use social media from behind a logo. I wouldn’t ever try — I mean, I don’t recommend trying to Tweet from behind a logo. You should really have a face, be a person. There’s a famous marketer named Sonya Simone from Copy Blogger, who says that be a person. If you’re human and you have a face and you’re a personality —

(Adam Voss) Be human. [Laughs]

(Andy Crestodina) Yeah, be human. You have an advantage, right. Social media is supposed to be a social thing. So definitely, have a voice, have a face, have a name. I think that’s —

(Adam Voss) Cass, as you’re joining us facelessly via link and phone —

(Cass McCrory) [Chuckles]

(Adam Voss) –what say you?

(Cass McCrory) I definitely agree. I think that when businesses do write with their corporate [00:07:35.21], it’s really their corporate [00:07:38.05] become a good message for their own people to dispel their message. You know, for every company, it doesn’t always make sense to have one person be the face. And so using your corporate, even if it is behind a logo, as a way to kind of power your personnel so that they can leverage it on their personal channels, whether that’s Facebook or Twitter or Linked In, you know, providing a channel where people can leverage corporate content.

(Adam Voss) Right.

(Cass McCrory) Makes sense.

(Andy Crestodina) There’s a fun listening and research tool; it’s not social listening tool. But, you know, how when you type something into Google, it starts to suggest different search terms for you?

(Adam Voss) Yes. Yes.

(Cass McCrory) Mm-hmm.

(Andy Crestodina) There’s a tool called uber-suggest. You put in a word or a phrase, and it will give you everything Google would suggest as if you typed in the next letter of the alphabet.

(Adam Voss) Interesting.

(Andy Crestodina) It’s fascinating. So let’s say we’re in — I don’t know. We’re selling, you know, pricing model software, you know. Which pricing? Just put that into uber-suggestion, it’s going to give you 200 different phrases that people are searching for related to that. It’s really fun to read the minds of millions of people. And is a way to kind of scrape the top-of-mind topics right out of Google. And then those are things people care about.

Trade show crm with social media and incentives

(Adam Voss) Right. Exactly. So a lot of, you know, a lot of clients that are at the tradeshow from the exhibition or display side are really trying to feed the participants and viewers of their space into their CRM system, you know, their customer relationship management system. So how does pre- or post-show social media fit into this traditional CRM?

(Cass McCrory) I would [00:09:25.15] tradeshows as a product launch. You know, this is an opportunity for you to launch. So in the same way that you would have an e-mail campaign and, you know, a targeted social push and potentially some paid search when you do a product launch, you would want to do the same thing with whoever you’re targeting at your tradeshow. So looking at your tradeshow [00:09:46.02] as a launch and creating a CRM plan that covers both launch, during the event and then post-event so that you are managing this arc of engagement that you’re going to have with the participants.

(Adam Voss) Right. Well, and in concert with that, having content relevant to a launch. You don’t want to just go there and show up with your pipe and drape and your logo because if you’re not launching anything then your relevance is slightly limited.

(Andy Crestodina) Right. I think it’s kind of an easy out for brands to just do the iPad giveaway. I think you can be a lot more creative in that if you actually produce something that is valuable to your audience specifically, a piece of content that you might be able to use in lots of settings but also at the show and say, “Hey, here is the best practices guide. Here’s a white paper. Here’s the how-to. Here’s our”, you know, you have this checklist. So you really have to give someone something if you expect them to give something to you. I mean, it’s like reciprocity. It’s psychology 101.

(Adam Voss) Right.

(Andy Crestodina) So if you want to populate your CRM, you want people’s information, you’re going to have a huge advantage if you have something to offer them. It’s almost ridiculous to expect that you would be able to collect these things with like, you know, the fishbowl and business cards and, you know, we’re giving away a new iPhone. You’re going to be just like everybody else. [Laughs] Let’s do something original.

(Adam Voss) Right. And that’s not my real phone number. [Laughs]

(Andy Crestodina) Right. Yeah. Just throw that in there.

(Adam Voss) [Chuckles] Exactly.



Closing thoughts

(Adam Voss) Hi there. You’ve been listening to my conversation behind the conversation with Andy Crestodina and Cass McCrory. We talked for what seemed like days, certainly more than our 12-minute episodes could muster. It was very hash-tag social. As such, we’ve decided to leave you with a cliffhanger, breathless and alone, and cut this episode into two parts. So join us next month for the exciting conclusion of episode 6. And for a complete recording of today’s podcast, equivalent dives and other engaging episodes, as well as extras, go to iTunes, listen online at, or call me personally at home tonight. Until next time, like us and follow us on Facebook, Linked In and Twitter, and thanks for listening and for being so social. Ciao.