Coverings 2011 capitalizes on social media, adds smartphone app to arsenal

HomeNewsCoverings 2011 capitalizes on social media, adds smartphone app to arsenal

LAS VEGAS—With, among other things, an active Facebook page and a whole lot of tweeting going on, Coverings 2011 is fully immersed in the latest social media. It’s a foray into the digital age that’s bearing potential benefits for all audiences— exhibitors, attendees and a global community of those who have a keen interest in the world of tile and stone.

To this end, a bar code system—QR Code—is now being added that, through an iPhone app, enables you to access the online registration for Coverings in a jiff, noted Jennifer Hoff, president of events for National Trade Productions, which manages and produces Coverings. “Snap a photo of this electronic tag with your smart phone and let it automatically connect you to the Coverings registration site. In the works, too, is an at-the-show usage of QR Code that will add even more incentive to visiting as many exhibitors as possible.

“By aggressively leveraging these evolving communications platforms, we are able to stir a continuous, instantaneous and spontaneous dialogue between all Coverings constituents in all corners of the world,” she explained. “It’s really a tremendous extension of the professional networking that has always been a hallmark of Coverings.”

Coverings 2011 takes place March 14 to 17 at The Sands Expo & Convention Center here. International in scope, the trade show features more than 1,000 companies displaying the newest products, techniques, tools and applications in the tile and stone category. Its continuing education component includes a full schedule of topical conference sessions, many yielding CEU credits, plus live hands-on demonstrations, all offered free of charge.

Visitors to the Coverings Facebook page will find ongoing delivery of news and information, supplementing the conventional dissemination. But, it’s the social interaction of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn that appears to be creating the most interest. It takes the shape of an exchange of opinions, observations, comments and tips from the community of followers who log on.

“One of the great advantages of Facebook is that it lets us put a magnifying glass on very specific parts of the Coverings show floor, helping visitors gain a sneak peek of the latest products to be unveiled and, subsequently, better plan how they can maximize their time to see what’s top line on their agendas,” Hoff said. Scores of attendees at the 2010 show this past April communicated with one another via Twitter, and, on their own, they even organized to meet face-to-face during the show. Via real-time tweets, they swapped tips on what to see, which exhibitors had exceptional products not to be missed, and shared thoughts and information, all within the constraints of 140 characters.

Many also were bloggers, who actively reported on their experiences and finds at the show. Coverings offered its own real-time portal into the show for its virtual fans with more than 50 “TwitPics” images on the Twitter Web site documenting products and booths and contributing to the buzz.

Facebook promotion

According to Hoff, NTP developed a Facebook promotion to help drive registration to Coverings 2010, and there are plans to build on the success of that concept with at least one new version for 2011. There’s also a portal to a Coverings YouTube channel, where exhibitors are posting videos about their new products or offering a glimpse into the technology and manufacturing of their designs. Coverings also hosts a LinkedIn group allowing attendees to network online with other tile and stone industry members, while exhibitors can use it to offer information on products they plan to debut at the show.

“Obviously, we’re learning day-by-day the different ways to engage these new media outlets and make them useful for our various audiences,” she said.

“Bottom line, Coverings is leaving no stone unturned in offering exhibitors and attendees, alike, every possible option for staying informed about the show and maximizing their networking opportunities,” concluded Hoff.

For more information on attending or exhibiting at Coverings 2011, call 703.683.8500 or visit coverings.com or Coverings on Facebook at facebook.com/CoveringsShow or on the Twitter handle, @Coverings.

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