Commentary & Analysis
At drupa, Social Media Will Help Xerox Share the Experience
By Patrick Henry
Published: April 23, 2012
When Xerox exhibits at drupa, its presence won’t be limited to stand A62 in hall 8b. Throughout the show, the company intends to maintain an equally high profile in the realm of social media—a venue that’s as vital to its drupa strategy as its physical space in Messe Düsseldorf.
Relying heavily on Twitter, and deploying a battery of social media tools of its own, Xerox will attempt to viralize not just its own drupa experience but the pulse and the intelligence of the event as a whole. A concurrent goal, says Joel Basa, an e-marketing manager for Xerox, will be to educate customers everywhere about the advantages—and the necessity—of leveraging the potential of social media for themselves.
At drupa, Xerox will chronicle its social media experience with live displays at its stand and continuous feeds to Twitter, its Facebook page, and a dedicated blog. It will encourage drupa visitors to stir their own content into the mix by uploading photos and other impressions of the show. Those who can’t be with Xerox at drupa in person will be able to take part virtually by checking in at a show web site.
1:1 Still Number One
The common denominator, says Basa, will be real-time interaction with customers through social media conversations and traditional 1:1 meetings at the Xerox stand. This interaction, Basa says, will drive traffic to the stand and generate the dialog-driven “buzz” that every drupa exhibitor wants its presence to be surrounded by.
The mainstay of the company’s drupa-facing social media campaign will be Twitter, the hugely popular microblogging service. Xerox has a triple identity there: @XeroxProduction, its main point of access for products and technology; @XeroxEvents, its global calendar of events; and @Xerox_DE, a gathering-place for customers in Germany.
Replies and messages to all of these channels are continuously monitored, and content gleaned from them will contribute heavily to the live feeds that Xerox will distribute from the show. A master hashtag, #xeroxdrupa, retrieves updates about the event from sources around the world.
“Tweetjams”—live discussion forums via two-way Twitter postings—will herald and review Xerox’s activities at the show. Facilitated by WhatTheyThink’s Cary Sherburne, the chats will take place on Tuesday, April 24, at 2 p.m. EDT, and again on Tuesday, May 22, in the same time slot. Following @CSherburne or @XeroxProduction and including the hashtag #FuturePrint in Tweets is the ticket to joining the jams.
As it did at Graph Expo 2011, Xerox also will rely on its Digital Print Facebook page to extend its show presence beyond the confines of the show floor. Besides serving its basic purpose as a bulletin board for event news and visitor input, the page also will help Xerox achieve an important commercial objective at drupa—demonstrating how content creation in the social media sphere can stimulate the production of print.
The plan, according to Basa, is to post a plug-in at the Digital Print Facebook page that visitors can install in their own Facebook pages. The plug-in, he says, lets users gather photos and other content for hard-copy output as a personalized calendar. (The details about the print-on-demand part of the workflow are being finalized.)
No social media strategy would be effective without a blog, and Xerox has one ready-made: its Digital Printing Hot Spot, which will provide, Basa says, live, “play by play” coverage of everything newsworthy that is announced or takes place at the stand. After the show, the blog will recap visitor comments, presentations by Xerox executives, and other occurrences of note.
Nearly everything that happens in hall 8b, stand A62 will be represented, in one way or another, in Xerox’s established social media channels. But, the most compelling ways to appreciate the full breadth of the company’s social media strategy undoubtedly will be found at the Xerox stand itself, where special presentations will weave all of the strands together in dynamic visual displays.
The centerpiece will be the “Social Wall,” an installation to be set up in two places in the booth. The wall, as Basa describes it, will be a live, continuously updated window onto all of the drupa-related content that Xerox can pull from social media sources including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Google+, YouTube, Foursquare, and the Digital Printing Hot Spot blog. For the benefit of those who can’t attend, says Basa, all of this content will be made available at the show web site.
There is also the “drupa visualizer,” which Basa calls a “live infographic” for capturing Tweets that carry vendor-agnostic hashtags suggested to Xerox by members of the graphic communications trade media. The visualizer also will indicate how often attendees are using the #drupa tag in their Twitter postings, also noting their geographical locations. The result, Basa says, will be a continuous, real-time rendering of trends, themes, and talk both on the drupa fairgrounds and “outside the halls of the Messe”—available to sample at the stand and at the show web site as well.
Expertise for the Asking
It goes without saying that Xerox is an old hand at trade shows, and that as such, the company never forgets the power of personal interaction even at the largest events. That respect for trade show tradition goes hand in hand with its rationale for running a “Social Clinic” at drupa, where visitors can get personalized instruction in the same social media tools that Xerox will be using throughout the show.
Xerox, says Basa, has become an evangelist for the increasing importance of social media in its customers’ business strategies. And while printers, according to Basa, “may not be in the forefront of adoption” of these channels, they do recognize the urgency of learning more about them.
That opportunity will be available at the Xerox stand twice daily during drupa from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and again from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. At these times, in 20- to 30-minute sessions, visitors can sit down for face-to-face tutorials with Basa and other social media experts from Xerox. For novices, Basa says, the tutorials will offer a way to get started in the social media sphere. For more advanced users, they’ll provide tips for deepening conversations with customers in this new and mission-critical marketplace for businesses of every kind.
Basa, who has been in his current role at Xerox for about two years, says that everything will highlight the company’s “really tight” integration of social media into its overall marketing and promotional strategy. It’s a synthesis that can only strengthen Xerox’s position as an exhibitor at events like drupa.
That’s because, as Basa says, encouraging participation in event-focused social media channels “makes a more well informed audience at a trade show”—precisely the kind of audience that every exhibitor wants to greet when the hall doors swing wide to admit the waiting crowds.