This Beauty Runs Skin Deep: A Look at Cosmoprof North America’s Social Media Event Planning 2014

Assignment Snapshot: Follow the Cosmoprof North America trade show taking place July 13-15, 2014. Summarize their use of IMC, social media and other channels for the purpose of promoting this show. The following post is for educational purposes only. It is not a formal or paid review of the trade event.

I’m not someone who cruises the beauty aisle, delights in make up or enjoys getting my hair done. It’s not that I’m not feminine…I just held a softball bat years before I ever thought of picking up a make-up brush. Then naturally I entered a business where looking sharp, pretty and fashionable pays. So eventually I found my groove. I know what I like to wear. I’m loyal to my make-up. My lotion. My hair care products. My nail polish. I’m a creature of habit. So I’m the last person in the world that would know what Cosmoprof is or does. Until this week.

What is Cosmoprof North America?

logoCosmoprof is a business-to-business beauty trade show event held in Las Vegas, Nevada. From manufacturers to distributors, salon owners to spa professionals, it is the only event for the beauty industry in North America that encompasses all sectors of the industry under one roof and is exclusively dedicated to business development activities.  It is organized by North American BeautyEvents LLC a joint-venture company between BolognaFiere Group and the Professional Beauty Association.  The 2014 Cosmoprof NA featured 930 exhibitors from 38 countries.

What social media channels are they using? How are they using them prior to the show, during, and after? Type of content?

Cosmoprof NA expands its reach by using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linked In, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube and its own website. Additionally, they have a mobile app for Android and iPhone that according to one of their YouTube videos, was redesigned for this year.

Prior to the show, they used each channel in some way to promote the show with the website and app being the primary place for registration, event ticket purchase, schedules, directions, maps and other logistics items. They didn’t post a large amount of content on their social channels before the event. In fact, I expected more.

Their Google Plus page isn’t worth spending any time on. The channel seems to be a default, created only because they use YouTube. There is no additional content on the page and they have 1 follower as of this post.

YouTube featured this video which also appeared on their homepage before, during and after the event:

I found this video misleading. It was shot during the 2013 event but was labeled as “CPNA 2014 Event Highlights”. It also stayed up there after the event (and still is there as of this post) also leading a site visitor to believe that the video was from this year’s show. They didn’t need to do this because they had a welcome video discussing this year’s highlights, promoting their re-designed app and mentioning the hashtag that all should use for the event:

While this video wasn’t as flashy as the first, it was informative, showcases the app and points out relevant networking information like #cosmoprofna. This video should have been the featured one on the website for the event.

Pinterest is used by Cosmoprof to post the products showcased. This is a great channel to showcase beauty products because we know women use Pinterest. We know women like recommendations from Pinterest and we know beauty products rank high in items that people are researching on Pinterest. The Cosmoprof NA people clearly are not promoting it and did not use it during the event. The screen grab you see below was at the start of the event. They had 52 pins and 274 likes. I just looked right now…5 days after the event closed and those stats are still the same.

pinterestnoposting

Pinterest at the start of Cosmoprof NA 2014. By the end, none of the stats had changed.

 

Linked In was used sporadically before the event to drum up excitement, promote speakers, promote specific events and to push registration:

 

It was not used through the event, however. The below screen grab was captured on the last day of the event.  You can see the most recent article was posted 12 days before! (…and as of this post, it is the most recent entry).

Most recent entry on Linked In. Still there as of this blog entry.

Most recent entry on Linked In. Still there as of this blog entry.

 

The Cosmoprof NA website did not change much during the event except to showcase that it was open and then once closed, to reveal a countdown until next year’s event. Otherwise, the content was the same before, during and after:

 

 

You will note I did capture a screen grab 2 hours after the event closed and it still said it was open. When I looked at the site again later this week, the countdown to next year was up. I think the countdown is a great idea. I would have had someone designated to put that up the minute the show ended. It’s a nice touch and it shows that as a brand, you are really on your game.

Facebook was used to promote before the event, featured mild engagement by the brand during and nothing since. Their last post as of this blog was July 15. I did notice that exhibitors and attendees were engaging on the page. The content focused on products and demonstrations. Some posts were used to solicit people to come see their booth:

 

At the start of the event, Cosmoprof’s Facebook page had 5,088 likes and 111 visits. As of this post, it has 126 visits and 5,139 likes. Overall, I would not call that a huge success in engagement considering how many people attend this event.

The greatest engagement and use before during and after the event was on Twitter and Instagram. Both platforms were used to promote product, speakers, events and for people to interact with each other. Twitter was where Cosmoprof was most engaged and exhibitors seemed to dominate Instagram. For the duration of the event, Cosmoprof redirected users to Websta which is a web viewer for Instagram when using a PC or laptop. On both platforms, both Cosmoprof and attendees posted consistently:

 

Despite what I would say was decent engagement on Instagram and Twitter, there was not an overwhelming change in their numbers. Twitter went from 2,688 followers at the start of the event to 2,726 as of this post, an increase of only 38 followers.

Hashtags, retweeting, highlighting certain booths, events?

Cosmoprof did a great job retweeting and highlighting booths and events. They used Twitter as their primary channel for this. I used Tweetdeck to showcase this:

 

Hashtags seemed to be a bit of a challenge. There was not consistent use of just one hashtag. Even Cosmoprof tweeted under different hashtags despite promoting one (#CosmoprofNA) in their welcome video. I think this is in large part to a lack of consistent promotion of that hashtag. It isn’t featured anywhere prominently on their website. It may have been in the materials upon arrival to the event but it is not showcased well online.

I saw multiple hashtags: #cosmoproflv #cosmoprof2014 #CosmoProfNorthAmerica  #cosmoprofna #Cpna2014 #cosmoprof. You can see them throughout the screenshots in this blog. Additionally when I did a search of the preferred #CosmoprofNA on Websta/Instagram on DAY TWO, this came up:

Hashtag search with preferred #cosmoprofna comes up empty

Hashtag search with preferred #cosmoprofna comes up empty

How are sponsors being promoted?

Sponsors were promoted at the bottom of the website, through email (highlighted below under IMC), within the Twitter feed and within the app activity feed.

Can you find other examples of IMC?  

The best use of IMC was within their email campaign. A couple of weeks before the event, I signed up to receive email newsletters from Cosmoprof. I have created a slide show below of some of the ones I received. I found their email to be just the right mix of aggressive but not over the top. When I joined their Linked In Group, I received an email. When I downloaded their app, I received an email. Within both of these were other promotions for the event. Before the event, I received emails showcasing sponsors and special exhibits. Each day of the event, I received a “highlight” email. I found the Cosmoprof email marketing to be one of their best assets:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

They showcase their social channels at both the top and bottom of the website which is smart. Another aspect I liked was the “At a Glance” section you see below:

 

One small critique, I would have promoted the app higher on the page next to the social buttons.

Is branding consistent?

Cosmoprof features a soft blue-green hue, a clean, crisp font and a beautiful woman in a flowing dress as their brand representation. It was consistent through most of their channels (Except Google Plus) and could be seen in the exhibit hall:

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What’s a highlight that stood out to you?

A few highlights worth noting about Cosmoprof North America: I found the app to be very user-friendly, well laid out and to contain everything I needed. It was slick, easy to navigate, promoted engagement and was always up to date.

 

I thought a particularly strong feature was the ability to create an agenda and send yourself reminder messages about events. We all know how it goes when you are at these things and you get caught up networking and schmoozing and can easily miss something you wanted to.

Another highlight was the interactive map.  We have all seen and used interactive maps before but what made this one particularly strong was the social media showcasing. Take a look:

What’s something you felt was missing from their social media effort?

If I was grading Cosmoprof I would give them a B.  They are better than average but not quite great. Overall there was an attention to detail, focus and overall organization lacking. These are my recommendations in no particular order:

  • I would pick 2 channels and really focus on posting to them as a brand and letting attendees and exhibitors know that.  Cosmoprof could have put on their site and in email blasts that Twitter, Instagram and the app would be their primary focus for communicating during the show and then publicize that everywhere, including printed materials at the show.
  • The hashtag needed more promotion. It needed to be featured in every email blast and prominently on the site and everything Cosmoprof posted should have featured #CosmoprofNA.
  • I would have had a flash page ready to go right at the show end thanking sponsors, attendees and adding the countdown. I would have done something similar on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram.
  • The website still has old content on it now. It hasn’t changed except for the countdown to next year.
  • I would post the keynote speech from Mark Cuban on the website and YouTube page and push it out on all channels. He has name recognition and it’s a good way to promote the brand.
  • Feedback. Emotions and energy is high in the hours and days after. I saw no posts soliciting feedback from attendees. What can be done better? Highlghts? I would use Facebook as home base for this feedback and use Twitter and the app to drive people to post feedback on the Facebook page.
  • Pinterest: Since Pinterest was used primarily to showcase products, I would have had a board created specifically for the trade show where exhibitors could post if they wanted to. Pinterest is a great avenue for purchase.

I didn’t know of Cosmoprof until this assignment. One thing I do know? I would have to take an empty suitcase just for the trip home from this trade show!  I bet the freebies are outstanding!

Cosmoprof North America has wisely entered the social arena.  Beauty is skin deep though so the saying goes.  In today’s sophisticated world however, brands have to go beyond the surface. Cosmoprof North America is on its way.  A touch more foundation, a dusting of detail topped off by a brush stroke more focus and 2015 could be the year Cosmoprof NA masters it.

Just For Fun

Ok, so I am not really the celebrity crush kind of person. When I was younger though, I had 2 big ones: River Phoenix and George Michael. What can I say? I have interesting taste. In this week’s just for fun I give you an anthem of my teenage years. I’ll let you figure out what it has to do with this week’s post.

I love that it’s about blowing up images and breaking stereotypes. The irony, of course, being that every major super model of the time is showcased here. Ladies & Gentlemen, Mr. George Michael:

One thought on “This Beauty Runs Skin Deep: A Look at Cosmoprof North America’s Social Media Event Planning 2014

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