Stockholmsmässan is one of the world’s leading and most flexible organisers of meetings and fairs – and a Twingly partner. On any of it’s event-specific websites (e..g Formex), the company has embedded the Twingly Blogwatch widget which links to blog articles discussing the industry or topic relevant for the fair. Petra Rudberg is Digital Media Manager at Stockholmsmässan. We asked her a couple of questions about the importance of social media for public fairs and their upcoming platform relaunch.

Tell us about your experience with the Twingly Blogstream widget so far. What where your toughts when you decided to implement it into your websites?
Twingly offers us the chance to include our fairs visitors’ experience on our website. Fairs center around personal encounters and bloggers are generally good at describing those. We can give you lots of reasons on our site why you should come to one of our events, but many people prefer to hear objective opinions.

How important is feedback from the blogosphere for Stockholmsmässan?
Very important. We are following blogs within every topical sector where we run a fair. There is a lot of conversation surrounding any topic or industry we are covering with our events. Reading what bloggers say gives us inspiration and ideas how to develop and improve our fairs. In fact, bloggers are as important to us as traditional journalists and media, and we regularly invite bloggers to our events, giving them the same attention as we give to other media representatives. Bloggers are welcome to both our events and our press meetings.

Your websites are very appealing from a visual standpoint. Now you are in the process of creating a new concept for all your event-specific sites. Could you explain to our readers what the main goal and improvement will be?
Thanks, we are glad to hear that. The visual aspects have a high priority for us. The main goal with our sites is to give visitors an impression, a hunch what to expect at the event. People coming to one of our sites want to know who the exhibitors and participating organisations are, and what kind of products or services they offer. With the upcoming relaunch, we will put exhibitors into the spotlight. Another measure is to make our sites more interactive. Twingly Blogstream helps us with that, but we also plan to integrate closely with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The ideal situation is that everybody – visitors, exhibitors, journalists and bloggers can have a dialogue via our site.

Today, all your websites seem to be based on a similar template, but still look differently. Will you stick to that approach?
Yes. We run many different fairs with varying needs and context. Some cover physical goods (like Stockholm Furniture Fair), others services or knowledge. All have different requirements, hence we want to make sure they get a web presence which suits their needs and target group. With our new platform there will be even more ways to adjust and customize a specific event website.

In what way will you integrate Twingly into the new concept?
The Twingly widget will have a high visibility as it already has today. We hope we can show you parts of the new design in the beginning of December.

What are for you the most exciting trends within social media?
I’m glad that the initial social media hype has calmed down a bit. It’s not a competition about who has the most followers. The most important benefit is that we can have a conversation with people – like in our case with those interested in our events. I also find the mobile world pretty exciting, and how this brings social media to every aspect of people’s live. At Stockholmsmässan we are currently creating apps for our events. Visiting a fair is a social experience which often leads to a lot of new contacts – exactly like social media.