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Using social media to promote encounters

As with any successful company, Messe Frankfurt has to maintain a presence on various social media platforms. After all, an increasing number of target groups are active on these platforms and expect to be supplied with relevant, interesting and entertaining content. Markus Quint, company spokesman and Head of Corporate Communications at Messe Frankfurt, explains the importance of social media for Messe Frankfurt and how Corporate Communications is handling the challenges involved.

December 2018

Markus Quint, company spokesman and Head of Corporate Communications at Messe Frankfurt
Markus Quint, company spokesman and Head of Corporate Communications at Messe Frankfurt

Mr. Quint, Messe Frankfurt is like many other companies. It has to have a presence on social media. How important is social media for Messe Frankfurt?

Social media plays an important role in Messe Frankfurt's media mix. However, one principle applies to all our social media activities: they must contribute to making personal encounters at our trade fairs even more successful from the customer's point of view. After all, it's all about the marketplaces and the meeting places that we create with our events. Our business model, which continues to be very successful, is based on this personal encounter. In line with this, our PR work on social media is also geared in the same direction.

What is social media's place organisationally in the company?

The relevance of social media basically depends on various factors. One of these is the target group's affinity to social media or the respective channels. Another is the added value and benefit for the respective target group. Good knowledge of the target groups and the respective topics is required to assess the relevance of the channels and the available content. Responsibility for the various social media channels is therefore decentralized or, in other words, event-related. The respective event teams can thus best create, edit and distribute the content via the appropriate channels through their knowledge of the specific target groups and the respective event topics, while Corporate Communications takes care of distributing content about the company as a whole.

Which goals have you defined for your social media activities and which target groups do you address?

Our primary objective is to offer the various target groups added value via social media. We aim to achieve organic growth of our followers. Purchasing likes or followers is a clear no-go for us. Our figures show that growth can also be achieved with good content. On Instagram, for example, we have been able to increase our number of followers from 3,321 since March 2018 to 5,488 in November. We are very satisfied with that. To be able to perform this successful social media work, we have defined target groups for our various channels and derived relevant content that we want to share with these target groups. Examples of our target groups include journalists and stakeholders from politics and business, whom we primarily address via Twitter. We mainly use Instagram to address the residents of Frankfurt and the Rhine-Main region, colleagues and potential new employees. Exhibitors and trade fair visitors are addressed comprehensively via various channels with adapted content.

Which platforms and which content do you rely on?

In the Corporate Communications department, we actively use Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. We also use Xing and LinkedIn in close coordination with our human resources department. We take a close look at which content makes sense at which point for the respective target group. The information we provide deals with topics such as internationalisation, our exhibition grounds, business figures and Messe Frankfurt's corporate social responsibility activities. Of course, we also support our event areas by means of links and networking.

Are there any "lighthouse projects" or extraordinary experiences you can tell us about?

Together with Igers Frankfurt, a group of Frankfurt based Instagramers, we realized a very nice social media project in 2016 and 2018 in the form of InstaMeets on our exhibition grounds. The project consisted of inviting a group of around 20 people from the surrounding area who are interested in photography to use the exhibition grounds with its special architecture and interesting perspectives as a photographic playground. Consequently, the invitation was also sent via Instagram. We had already received enthusiastic feedback in 2016, so we repeated the event this year. The effort involved for us was quite manageable, but we had an enormous resonance and reach on this channel due to the Igers group's high number of followers, currently numbering about 17,300, as well as its members and the Instagram pictures published over a longer period of time.

What are your future plans for social media?

We are currently testing an editing system, which will help us publish content faster than before and simplify publication across different platforms. We also want to integrate the international subsidiaries more strongly into the content planning process using this tool and offer the followers even more versatile and valuable local content. Our goal is also to create more moving image material. Video is becoming increasingly popular and offers companies many options for delivering messages to users in a captivating way. In other words, we still have a lot to do.

Thank you for your insight, Mr Quint.


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