Social is in the sidebars, not the swag

For many HR pros and B2B supplier folk, going to conferences and expos is just part of the job. Of course, who goes fluctuates with the economic ebb and flow and whether or not it was worth past returns in education, marketing and business development. (And obviously the world was looking a little bit brighter at SHRM 2011 with over 17,000 attendees and nearly 700 exhibitors and sponsors.)

No surprises that there are four very important activities that take place at conferences & expos:

The first and second are pretty clear: the brand marketing primarily delivers shiny objects and swag to the attendee buyers and influencers (along with some quality messaging and content that sometimes makes it above the din), while the learning is key for attendees, and the primary reason they're sent to conferences, with only the exception of the product/service shopper subset with a shopping list (the folks exhibitors and sponsors salivate).

But the last two, networking and business development, the two that I've lived and breathed for what seems like a long, long time, are the most critical activities for buyers, suppliers and influencers alike. (For a great recent discussion on influence, see John Sumser's recent post Thinking About Influence.)

Prior to conferences, many of us (again, buyers, suppliers and influencers) reach out to colleagues, prospects, partners and new individuals we have yet to meet face to face to schedule sit down meetings, informal sidebars, time permitting, which usually it isn't. But we try nonetheless.

And it's in those sidebars where the true social of business happens -- the connections that lead to friendships, partnerships, jobs, business and sales -- you name it. That's the business development part.

But c'mon, you know me. All things social rock and social media marketing is an important part of your Human Resources B2B marketing plan. Even a little swag is fun to take home to the B-hive.

But there is still a marcom thinness to all things social. Today we're selling to the business at large, and that includes executive management, IT, operations, finance, HR, recruiting, talent management, training, and the list goes on and on.

It's become a much more complex marketing and sales effort than ever before, and there is just as much diversity and complexity with marketing and PR tactics that goes beyond a Tweet or a top 25 list.

So join me for two upcoming webinars titled HR B2B marketing is much more than social. Dude.

Sign up for July 19, 2011 here.

Sign up for July 26, 2011 here.

Right on. These will be mint.

(Cross-posted at Marcom HRsay)

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