This blog post is for educational purposes only and is a hypothetical situation being used for an Introduction to Multimedia class for the University of Florida. I am following the WPPI expo, March 7-9 for a chance to see how they use IMC to market the tradeshow and how they utilize their social media channels.
The WPPI tradeshow is the largest premier conference and expo for Wedding and Portrait photographers to showcase and demonstrate their latest products. It is a combination of educational seminars by industry leaders, an exhibition for the latest products and services and a networking event for over 13,000 people.
Social media promotion before, during and after
Promotion for the WPPI expo for 2016 started in March 2015, soon after the last expo was over. On WPPI’s Facebook there were posts for hotel suggestions for next year’s show. In December they were running an early bird special to push registration for the event.
During the expo, the show is being promoted with banner ads on the WPPI website and on its social media channels, Facebook and Twitter. They also used Snapchat, with username rfwppi as a way to engage users and give out prizes. In addition to the many regular posts on Facebook and Twitter, they also created a recap of each day in video and photo format to show how much fun the expo is. I think this a great way to engage fans and a potential way to promote next year’s event when needed.
After the show is over, WPPI will begin to promote a members only photography competition call “The First Half.” There aren’t that many posts about the WPPI expo after the show. There was one post on Twitter for a save the date for next year’s expo. They also retweet if someone uses a WPPI hashtag in their post, but I only saw 3 of those.
The channels that WPPI expo uses the most are Facebook, Twitter and a WPPI blog. The most responses were on Twitter but only an average of 5 likes and a few retweets on any one post. The highest number of likes was 28 and that was way above average. The second channel is Facebook, with each post getting an average of 3 likes and a stray comment here and there. They also use Snapchat to engage, but only WWPI knows for sure if people are viewing these. The Facebook post with a call to action to follow on Snapchat for the week of March 4 did have 3 comments, so I assume it had some additional responses throughout the week. The posts on the WPPI blog are informative pieces about exhibitor booths, speakers, the latest technology, and unique things that popped up during the event, like a live wedding.
The content being promoted on Twitter and Facebook are mostly posts for the booths. They had posts about raffle drawings, free products, presenters, discounts, new technology and video and photo recaps of the day.
On the WPPI website there is a link, as well as a banner ad for registration. There is also a link to sign up to be a WPPI member. There is a tab on the site for hotel and travel that promotes the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and a list of other hotel discounts. On the travel portion, they are offering ground transportation discounts for LASxpress and Las Vegas Monorail.
Hashtags, retweeting and highlighting
The WPPI expo is using #wppi and #wppi2016 as the specific hashtags and Twitter handle @RFWPPI to promote the show. As for promoting booths in their social media posts, they will use the company’s preferred hashtags or handles. They are also retweeting posts and adding either a hashtag specific to that company or their Twitter handle.
Some of the social posts also have links to the company’s website. For example in a post promoting the Canon booth, WPPI uses both of the photographer’s Twitter account names, #Canon, a link to the Canon website and the booth number.
If it is an event going on during the expo, lets say a workshop for example, they will include the Twitter handle, location and a link for more information. In this post below, it’s workshop for newborn photography and the link is to a blog post about the photographer @AnaBrandt
The main sponsor of the WWPI expo is PhotoPlus, which is the umbrella company for WPPI, Rangefinder, Shutterlove, PDN and Photo Forward. These are all co-brands that are promoted on the PhotoPlus site. WPPI is an offshoot and it has a website landing page with tabs about the expo. If you are signing up for membership for WPPI, you are actually signing up for PhotoPlus which gets you many discounts for the expo including:
- Savings of up to 30% on WPPI Expo.
- 30% discount on entry fees for WPPI photo contests.
- Vendor discounts on gear, software, insurance and much more.
- Monthly e-newsletter including special events, contests, new benefits and more.
- Free Full Platform Pass for the 2016 WPPI Conference + Expo.
Under the hotel and travel portion of the website, the sponsor OnPeak is being promoted with a statement that it is the Official Housing Sponsor of the WPPI expo with a link to book lodging through OnPeak.
Examples of IMC
Additional IMC examples promoting the WPPI expo and conference are the newsletter and Rangefinder magazine. You can sign up for the newsletter and magazine on the website and they will send you a monthly subscription. The magazine is actually called Rangefinder and it has a digital version as well. The magazine promoting the WPPI is the business edition and the title of the actual article is WPPI Survival guide. I don’t believe there are any other channels used to promote the expo. This event is targeting a very specific industry and I think by utilizing mostly online marketing, I think they are hitting the target.
Another way the WPPI expo is using IMC is through their mobile app. The app is one of the best apps I’ve seen for a company. It has everything an attendee would need to know about the 3-day expo.
You can view your schedule for the day, maps, events, social media channels, connect with other attendees and get alerts. There is even a section to take notes.
You can also view the list of exhibitors and browse by category or name. Once you click on an exhibitor, there is a bio page. From there you can add to bookmarks, share the information, add notes add to schedule, get directions from inside the expo or locate the booth on a map.
There is also social button on the home page of the app for Twitter and Facebook. All of the Twitter posts that include “WPPI” in the tag including: #wppi #wppi2016 and @RFWPPI show up on the live Twitter feed.
When the show is open, there is a button that will tell you which events are currently running so you can decide to attend or not. There is also a locator to find exhibitors near you.
The app also sends you alerts or push notifications of what’s happening. I signed up for the push notifications, so many times throughout the day I would get an alert for something that was happening. These would range from happy hours and contests to classes and workshops and everything in between.
Branding is consistent throughout the website, banner ads and social media channels. They use a shades of pink color scheme on the WPPI logo, Mobile App and Twitter. On the banner ads, Mobile app icon and home page, Facebook, Instagram and anywhere that WPPI is promoted they use cloud-like images with shades of pink. This really ties the branding together; it is very unique and memorable.
The fact that the WPPI expo went heavy with the social media posts during the event really caught my attention. I liked the fact that they were focused on engaging with the attendees and keeping the information up to date on the channels. The posts were fun and relevant to the event and they made the most out of the three days.
The other highlight I have to mention again is the WPPI mobile app. I really enjoyed how user friendly and engaging it was. The app had everything you would need to attend the conference, with no need to carry around a notebook or set events on your calendar, everything was integrated. I also like the fact that Twitter and Facebook were built right in to the home screen of the app. You could know what was going on without toggling between apps.
Although WWPI did a great job at posting during the event on Facebook and Twitter, I felt they could have done a little better utilizing some of the other social media channels, like Instagram and YouTube. Instagram is a perfect platform to promote a photography expo because it is a photo-based channel. They could have shown off some the photographer’s work and let viewers know which booth they were at.
While they do have a You Tube channel button on their website for a direct link, it is not updated. The last video posted was 2 moths ago and the featured video was from 2013.
YouTube is a great platform to show clips of the expo classes, speakers and even some of the giveaways. It would be a great start to promote WPPI 2017 when they wanted to start posting about next year. There could be links to WPPI 2016 YouTube to show what you would be missing if you did not attend.