The social media leaders of CES 2016

The conference garners thousands of attendees, millions of followers, and an equal amount of social media activity and paid media dollars to boot.

IBM's Ginni Rometty on stage at CES (Image via the CES Facebook page).

As a social media professional, I’ve spent countless hours working behind the scenes at large events to help my clients promote their brands, share their messages, and create engagement with important audiences. There are a few events each year that drive some of the most activity on behalf of brands, the first of which is the Consumer Electronics Show.

The conference garners thousands of attendees, millions of followers, and an equal amount of social media activity and paid media dollars to boot.

Each year, I’m excited to see the best of the best top their previous success from prior years and learn about new and interesting ways to use social platforms to gain visibility and interaction on the all powerful hashtag, #CES2016.

In this post, I’ll provide a high-level overview of this year’s leaders. Here are three that stand out so far:

The company is on a mission, marred by declining stock prices and woeful reports from Wall Street, so it is using CES as an opportunity to get back to basics and remind the world why nearly every journalist, media outlet, company, brand, celebrity, and athlete includes a @twitterhandle on everything they do.

Twitter makes everything more shareable, and its work at the conference demonstrates this idea through a live experience called "Twitter City," a content series on #GoLive, and the very elegant Moments platform. This work is showing how, at its core, the platform is a place to discover information, and how the network continues to push and blur the lines between advertising, journalism, and social networking.

— Richard Alfonsi (@ralfonsi) January 6, 2016

CES began with a keynote from the company’s CEO Ginni Rometty, who spoke about the future of cognitive computing and how it will power many of the gadgets and electronics on display. Years back, the company went through a marketing and communications transformation, pioneering what has become an industry standard and a commonplace buzzword, employee social engagement. At the conference, IBM used this approach to show the marketing and communications community it is still the undisputed leader in this category.  

The company leveraged its vast network of IBMers, business units, partners, and followers to spread the word in advance of Rometty’s keynote and share highlights during the speech. This paid off in the form of massive amounts of retweets, amplification, earned media, and positive posts in multiple languages around the globe.

The company is experiencing a renaissance, and #CES2016 is its coming out party. It is taking the notion that content is king to a whole new level by creating and distributing interesting videos that demonstrate the value of their products in fun and engaging ways.

The work is paying off, as it is one of the leaders in the online conversation, with engagement and amplification from key journalists, analysts, and mass amounts of attendees and followers.

This is just a sampling, as there are several other brands making their mark. Runners-up include Samsung, MasterCard, General Motors, and Kodak. Each has found clever ways to stand out in a very crowded hashtag market, providing new standards for how the industry will use social media at future events.  

Adam Snyder is chief digital officer at Kwittken.

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