Toys R Social:International Toy Fair Nuremberg

Maybe we don’t immediately think of business when we think of toys. But, of course, toys have to be invented, made and sold as well, and with the amount of toys being created all around the world each year it’s not so easy to keep on top of everything. That’s where the International Toy Fair comes in.

The Spielwarenmesse — which is the German name of the toy fair — is the leading international fair for toys, hobby and leisure and takes place in Nuremberg, Germany, once a year. The fair has been around since 1949 and it’s the place to meet for around 2,700 manufacturers and more than 70,000 buyers and retailers from all around the world.

How do hashtag campaigns and B2B go together?

We wanted to know a little more about how an essentially B2B-only event uses social media and hashtag campaigns to connect visitors and exhibitors. So, we talked to Christian Ulrich, Spielwarenmesse’s Director of Marketing about where toy buying and social media intersect.

Spielwarenmesse is an international toy fair and pretty firmly in the B2B area. Can you tell us a little bit about how you are using social media for this event?

It’s true, B2B and B2C are generally quite different. But one shouldn’t underestimate how significant personal and direct interaction is in B2B communication. B2B isn’t about rapid purchase decision but, rather, about building trust with the customer.

People are connected on Facebook, Twitter, etc. And every B2B customer is a private person as well. Social Media allows us to start a dialogue with our customers and listen to them.

Behind-the-scenes views of the toy fair are extremely popular. It’s not so much a marketing campaign as simply letting our customers get a more personal glimpse into our company. We want to show the people behind the company and how we’re putting our passion towards setting up the next Spielwarenmesse event.

Customers get a preview of what to expect in Nuremberg. We also provide useful information for exhibitors, visitors and journalists this way.

Where and how are you planning to display the social media wall?

We’re embedding the Social Wall on a landing page on our website and featuring it prominently in a teaser on our homepage throughout the fair.

A screenshot of the social wall teaser on the Spielwarenmesse homepage

We’re also setting up a screen of the social wall right in our TrendGallery, a 1,000 squaremeter area dedicated to the 2016 toy trends, curated worldwide by our TrendCommittee, and product presentations. The winners of the ToyAwards reside in the TrendGallery as well.

Also a part of the TrendGallery is the Toy Business Forum, where expert talks will shed some light on how trends develop, how to discover them and how to emphasise them in-store.

Since the TrendGallery will be the hub for all things new and novel, it’s the perfect place to put up our social wall.

Which hashtags are you using and why have you picked them? Which social media channels did you pick and why?

We’re not just using the German hashtag #Spielwarenmesse, but also #inttoyfair, consistent with our English language Twitter account. Moreover, we’re promoting our highlights with hashtags: #TrendGallery, #ToyAward, #TBF16 (Toy Business Forum).

#SpiritofPlay and #ToyCity Nuremberg are also often used in our communication missives on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

How are you promoting the social media wall? / How are you motivating visitors and exhibitors to share on social media using the right hashtags?

Promoters at the exhibition centre are pointing the social media wall out to visitors. We’re also using a selfie campaign to draw people to the TrendGallery and the social wall. Three promoters, dressed up as the main toy trends and armed with selfie-sticks, are going to be receiving visitors at the main entrance.

The selfies taken there will be posted to our Facebook wall and, thus, to the social wall as well. The photos can also be printed out and picked up at the social wall station in the TrendGallery. They will definitely make a nice keepsake for visitors.

Of course, we’re also putting up posters in the exhibition halls to promote our social media channels, the hashtags and the social wall.

Photo of the social wall screen and some prompts for using the hashtag
The Spielwarenmesse social wall resides at the TrendGallery and playfully motivates visitors to use the hashtags and get their selfies done.

Spielwarenmesse definitely proves that — though woefully underused — there is absolutely a place for hashtags and social media in the B2B world, especially with such an international audience.

How about you? Got any experience with B2B hashtag campaigns? Let us know in the comments!