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10 Things I Learned at #IMEX12

By Julius Solaris
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I spent a couple of days at #IMEX12 in Frankfurt. I liked it. Here's why.

#imex12

I don't attend a lot of events about events. Being a bit of a geek, I've preferred attending tech conferences.

I did not have high expectations when I landed to Frankfurt. I knew I was going to meet good friends and tweeps, but that was about it.

I was wrong.

The show made a terrific effort to offer something new. And succeeded in it.

But let's see.

1. Networking

I met a lot of people I knew online since 2008. I enjoyed the beauty of meeting face to face.

I also gathered I need to change my avatar because, well, it does not reflect my current image. *cough* *cough*

2. Event Startups are Full On

I had a very long chat with the guys at Twoppy and EventMobi. I was amazed by how these guys, who are competitors, are united by the love of events and technology.

Talking to Derrick, Jaspar, Bob and Thorben was refreshing to say the least. It gives me great hopes for the event startup scene. It motivates me to blog about this amazing interaction.

I also enjoyed talking to the guys at Poken and amiando, who are 'veterans' of the industry, but still do a terrific job.

3. Social Media is Way Too Niche

After five years talking about the integration of social, technology and events I was shocked to see how many people ignore what these tools can bring to the industry.

Despite the initial dismay, I was amazed by the willingness to learn of all those attending the event and specifically my sessions.

There is still a long way to go, but I am optimistic.

4. Twitter is King

My whole attendance at the event has been driven by Twitter.

I asked for suggestions over Twitter, I immediately connected with interesting peeps, we had fun sharing pictures.

I even organized together with some tweeps a Tweetup with 30 people joining.

You can see the results yourself:

Picture credit: Judy Kucharuk

5. Embracing Social Pays Off

I believe Miguel Neves did a terrific job in getting attendees to use social. It was just unlucky that the wifi collapsed because of a thunderstorm just before the event.

Nonetheless, they really made an effort and I could see the result.

#IMEX12 was trending in Germany on day one. Lots of people enjoyed talking to the Social Team going around the floor explaining how to use social.

My kudos and to better luck (and bigger Twitter screens) next year.

6. The Dutch Take Social Seriously

There is something about the Netherlands, Social Media and Events going on.

I was blown away by the immediate support we got by the Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions to host our Tweetup at their stand.

They kindly provided Oyster and Champagne. Yes, you missed out.

We met Mr Holland in person and will start reading his blog from now on.

Friendly people who understand how to engage with social media savvy users.

7. The Best Coffee is Still in Italy

Despite the complete lack of any social media presence whatsoever, stand Italia made the best coffee in the house.

This is my thank you note to them.

8. DMCs are in Need of Social Media

I spoke at the great ShareToday event on Monday. It was the first time I spoke to DMCs and I was amazed by how social really fits into their communication mix.

In most cases they are passionate about their location and have great stories to tell. I am looking forward to seeing how DMCs will adopt social media.

I can foresee only good things.

9. Bloggers are Becoming Press

I was hosted in IMEX press office. PR was kind enough to give me access to their facilities. That is an amazing recognition for us bloggers and I am sure with future editions they will do even more to welcome us.

I believe blogs can add a great voice to tell the story of an event. So engage with bloggers! They will love you.

10. Events Need Better Websites

Almost 90% of the people I spoke to are in the process of rebuilding their website. They want to accommodate social, embed a blog and a more flexible platform overall.

I felt the pain of those who told me how much they paid for proprietary platforms that turned out to be useless and detrimental to their brand.

In Conclusion

#IMEX12 has been a success as far as I am concerned: great people, great ideas and good business. That's what trade shows are for.

about the author

Julius Solaris
Julius Solaris is the editor of EventManagerBlog.com, he is an international speaker, author and consultant.
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