In this week’s assignment we were asked to follow a live event for the Wedding&Portrait Photography Expo. The event was a week long affair happening between March 3rd through March 10th in Las Vegas. The description on their website states, “The WPPI Wedding & Portrait Photography Conference+Expo is the premier industry event for photographers and filmmakers specializing in the creative and business aspects of wedding and portrait photography and filmmaking.” At the WPPI Expo around thirteen thousand wedding photographers and filmmakers came together to learn about different techniques, network, and grow their business.
As our class focuses on different aspects surrounding IMC and Social Media, the purpose of the event was not our main focus for learning. What we wanted to learn was how organizations promote events using social media channels in real time. It of course helped that photography is an interesting topic and seeing event promotion for a topic I love was awesome! As social media marketers, learning how to promote live events is such an advantage. Throughout this week, I followed how the event unfolded via social media. As this post is for educational purposes, I divided this post into questions I was given to analyze their use of IMC and other social media channels. Here we go!
What channels are they using – which seem to gain the most response?
The main social media channels WPPI has on their website are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. For the event itself there seems to be an even amount of engagement between their Facebook and Twitter. Using the hashtag #wppi2016 I saw several posts about the expo on their Instagram. Their Youtube, however, was last posted on in 2013. This seems a shame considering that some of the workshops are for filmmaking. I can think of no better channel than Youtube to showcase this aspect of their event.
How are they using social media channels prior to the show, during, and after?
Prior to the show they posted on multiple channels information on booths, workshops, and speakers that would be at the event. A lot of their earlier promotion I saw on Facebook. They also created a sign up button on their Facebook page. I think that is a great way to promote events prior to them occurring.
During the event we saw saw more direct interaction involving day to day activities. They posted frequently throughout everyday of the event. I would often check my Facebook page and see a new post from WPPI.
They also had a fun run they posted about that same day. I think the amount that they posted highlighted all that was happening during the event. In doing so, they showcased how fun the event was for participants.
On Twitter I noticed posts happening more frequently. During the award show I saw post after post promoting winners.
After the event they reflected on everything that happened during the event. This is when I noticed another example of IMC with links to the WPPI blog posted on all their channels. For example there is this about guest speaker Sue Bryce.
I also saw them tying back to events that happened earlier in the week, such as their fun run.
What type of content are they posting?
One of their strategies for posting included promoting workshops happening during the event, events surrounding the expo in Vegas, booths at the expo, and guest speakers. Having a wide range of promotion content is something I think that WPPI excelled at.
They directly speak to their audience in a fun and engaging way. Look at this one post from Twitter highlighting the event in Las Vegas.
They also frequently posted about booths at the expo throughout both Twitter and Facebook. Check out this post from Facebook.
They added a hashtag for the event as well. #wppi2016 was posted frequently posted on their social channels. This allowed guests at the expo to have a more interaction with each other at the event. This post from Instagram is a perfect example.
How are sponsors being promoted?
Sponsors are being promoted through multiple social media channels. A talent when posting about sponsors is integrating them into your social channels while still being on brand. The last thing that you want to do is make your audience feel like they are hearing a sales pitch. Most of their posts about sponsors at the WPPI Expo flowed well with their over all campaign. I think the fact that all of their sponsors were pertinent to the event helped them.
This post about Chimera on their Twitter page is a perfect example of seamless sponsor integration.
Then there is this other one for HoneyBook on their Facebook page.
Is branding consistent?
Following this mindset on how sponsorship post need to be “on brand” let’s consider what the WPPI social media campaign is about. In order for branding to be consistent we need to see a similar aesthetic and language style throughout each social media channel. This can be tricky at times as channels have their own strengths and weaknesses. Facebook, as I have prefaced, was a major channel for engaging their audience. I thought they they had a more formal approach to this channel.
On Twitter they had more a playful banter to their posts. I liked this one tweet below in particular.
Highlights and Missing Pieces
The highlights and missteps for the event are two sides of the same coin.On one side, I now have crazy Instagram goals from this assignment. Seeing the work of photographers set the bar high for my future Instagram posts. Just by stalking their Instagram page, I felt inspired by the photographs they posted. Loved this multiple photo post they have. It really demonstrates the power of photography.
On the other side, as much as I loved the photography I thought that they didn’t showcase all the amazing photographs they had at their disposal. The phrase, “a photograph says a thousand words,” might be a cliche, but some cliches are there for a reason. Photographs grab our attention like no other medium. For WPPI to not take advantage of this as much a they could have, shows little insight. The entire event was centered around the art of photography, yet I hardly saw the work of photographers showcased enough through multiple social media channels. Having a photography contest on social media during the event would be one way to get more involvement from the photographers there. They also highlight the portfolio of the particular photographers who won. I saw these photographers and industry leads holding their awards, yet I had no real clue what they were being awarded for. One idea would be to have A Photographer of the Day posted on all of their channels. Along with this idea, I saw some Instagramers tagging photos during the event. This is amazing work that they are displaying, yet it posts like these were not as frequent as I would like to see them.
At the end of the day, I loved seeing social media in action. Studying live events give aspiring social media marketers something to reference in how these events work in the industry. The WPPI expo was a fun first introduction to this process.