June 11, 2015
Case Study

B2B Social Media: How one medical company used video to drive trade show interactions

SUMMARY: Toshiba's slogan is "leading innovation," and that goes into every aspect of the business, even B2B social media.

At one of the largest medical industry trade shows of the year, Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. needed a way to distinguish themselves among all of the social media noise while complying with FDA regulations.

With the launch of new products approaching, the team needed a unified brand message to tease the reveal. By utilizing video content and a thoughtful social media strategy, Toshiba was able to double video views and increase interactions on Twitter and LinkedIn.
by Courtney Eckerle, Manager of Editorial Content


Diagnostic imaging company Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc.'s core customers are physicians, clinicians, cardiologists, radiologists, sonographers and hospital administrators in North America. They purchase computed tomography machines, general X-rays, magnetic resonance machines, ultrasounds, angiography and equipment for cath labs. These are usually six-figure sales.

Rose Mary Moegling, Manager of Customer Engagement, Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc., is on the Corporate and Strategic Communications team that handles social media aimed at industry associations. This includes building grant programs and long-lasting relationships that help bring benefits to members within the industry, as well as educational webinar programs, internal communications and a variety of other miscellaneous communication programs, she said.

The core customer is focused on the cost of total care to the patient, the cost of the product, department efficiency and the cost of product maintenance. Patient case metrics — like improved individual care and better health for populations — are also important considerations when buying. This is made even more important by elements of the Affordable Care Act that compensate hospitals and medical practices based on the quality of care metrics.

For this reason, physicians, medical physicists and other medical professionals are important influencers to the final product purchase.

This is why B2B social media for industry associations are so important to Toshiba. While Toshiba successfully used social media during the industry's largest trade show of the year — Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) — Moegling's communications team wanted to build upon that success and engage with an even bigger audience.


This is a show that her team is present at every year, Moegling said. The challenge is that, since the event is so large, social media channels are noisy.

"Just before and during (RSNA), there's so much being said that it just becomes cumbersome to go through all of it ... there's a good chance that people [are] checking their feed, but they're not going to catch everything," she said, adding that, "There will be people who don't post all year long and then, when it comes to RSNA, suddenly everybody's on there and everyone's talking and everyone's got something to say."

The objective for her team became finding ways to cut through that clutter to make sure Toshiba was being heard, and that the Toshiba RSNA booth saw a high amount of traffic.

"Our challenge was — how do we make sure that our voice still gets heard so that we can still effectively engage with our audiences, drive traffic to the booth, build on our messaging and still be able to listen to what the market says so that we can respond to their needs?" she said.


At the RSNA 2014 meeting, Toshiba took a different approach that included new, cohesive brand messaging.

Almost counter-intuitively, the team decided to reduce the number of booth videos from 10 down to seven, although video content had always been popular. However, these seven videos were targeted and all spoke to a common theme within the brand messaging.

The team also decided to utilize video content during the pre-show phase as sneak peek teasers, released through Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. This was opposed to using videos only during the show, when it is more difficult to make an impact. To keep the audience's attention during the show, they worked with the advertising and multimedia teams to repurpose relevant content on social media.

Throughout all of this, Moegling was coordinating with the event and exhibit teams to make sure posts coincided with events to engage both attendees and non-attendees.

Step #1. Advanced planning

According to Moegling, exhaustive advanced planning and social media may not always go together but, in the medical community, it's a necessity.

"We always start planning [for RSNA] during the summertime. That's when we go through and we see what worked last year, what didn't work, how can we improve on things, how can we make it more successful," she said, adding that they begin talking about the show in October.

Generally speaking, Moegling added, to organize the content going out, the team divides the trade show into three phases of a social media plan.
  • Pre-show

  • During show

  • Post-show

"[The pre-show phase] is when we start trying to tease people and get them planning and get them thinking about their trip because, when they get there, there's so much going on. They're planning way in advance who they're going to talk to and who they don't have time for. So we want to make sure that we're one of those that they make time for," she said.

Regulatory and legal review

While the medical community as a whole has been a little bit slower to adopt social media for legal reasons — such as heavy regulation by the FDA — according to Moegling, it has picked up more and more in recent years.

Moegling and her team have to practice a lot of caution. Anything that they post has to go through a regulatory and legal review.

"Part of the problem with the FDA is we cannot talk about anything that is not fully cleared by the FDA. Just because you have a new innovation in the works doesn't mean you can necessarily talk about it. You have to be very careful in what you say and how you say it," she said.

Her team also has to be careful about how they phrase content as far as the use of Toshiba equipment. They can only speak about what has already been approved by the FDA.

"You can't make promises that you can't back up with ... a lot of data. If you make a claim, you have to also prove it within that same post. When you have such few characters to use, that adds in a challenge," she said.

From the customer's perspective, "it looks like we're casually conversing, but we do have to put a lot of forethought into what we say and how we say it," she added.

When they do speak about a topic where the regulations are unclear, or when they are simply being extra cautious, disclaimers are important.

"If we do talk about something that's not clear, then we do have to put in language that says, 'pending 510(k).' Putting in disclaimers like that can use anywhere from 20-30 characters, so you lose your word count real fast. So you get very economical with the words that you use," she said.

Her team's strategy for this was to write a series of posts and then begin to go through and ask questions such as, "How could we say it better? How can we say it shorter? How can we be more to the point? Do we really have to spell it out that much for them to be intrigued enough to follow the link?"

Step #2. Driving conversations during the event

For the second social media phase — during the show — the team focused on what they were going to say and how they were going to drive conversations about Toshiba, always with the main objective of getting people to the booth.

Initially, they looked at what messaging Toshiba wanted to get across for that year, such as graphics that could be attached to tweets or posted on LinkedIn.

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"We look at what we'll be sharing. What news will we be sharing at the show, what are the topics of interest for our audiences, what are their biggest concerns right now in the market, what are their headaches, how can we help them address those headaches?" Moegling said.

From there, they are able to access content they have already that can be used, or organize what kind of content needs to be created. This year, organizing and creating content included making sure it fit with the new brand messaging.

"This last year our ad team was involved with creating all new messaging for Toshiba ... it was going to give us a new look and feel and it was very important for us to be able to use social media to continue that new messaging, that new look, that new feel throughout all of our channels as well, so that this new branding was readily visible," Moegling said.

In the past, she added, the team has been successful, but knew improvements could be made to social media. This new messaging helped with that.

"The new messaging that the ad team came up with was really great because, for the first time, we were able to speak with one cohesive voice. Before, we did have a common theme between all of our business units but then, when it came time to actually talk about their products, they talked about what matters for that [particular] product," she said.

For RSNA 2014, however, the team could create new overall umbrella messaging that would wrap every piece of content and social media under a single message point.

The single message point was, "Toshiba listens to you and then we adapt to you to meet your needs. Rather than applying one solution to everyone, we see you as an individual organization with individual needs and we will do what it takes to help you out with those needs," Moegling said.

Adjust for individual platforms

"Twitter, for us, is more casual ... On our LinkedIn page and through our LinkedIn groups, it's a little bit more clinical," Moegling said.

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It is important to understand the differences in how Toshiba customers are interacting with these different platforms, she added, to maximize visibility.

"It's just a slight change depending on which group that we're talking to … with LinkedIn during the show, people check it in the morning in their hotel room or something or while they're at breakfast and then they kind of leave LinkedIn alone, but Twitter is the friend they have with them all day long," she said.

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Each channel needs to be spoken to with a slightly different voice that is catered to that particular audience, Moegling said.

Step #3. Build on previous years' successes

"One of the things we did take note of in the last few years [is that] images and video really are the most engaging content," Moegling said.

Within the medical community, she added, white papers and articles are still very important, both inside and out of industry events. However, videos can be a useful investment because "people can watch it on the go and it doesn't take as much concentration," she said.

For the trade show, the team reviewed the videos they had done in the past. "We've been doing these kind of man-on-the-street-type videos from the booth floor. Live from the booth floor, here's what's going on right now — generating a little bit of excitement ... that always went over well, but we thought they could have done better. We could have done more with them," she said.

For 2014, Moegling said the team learned Toshiba was going to be launching several new products. The multimedia team then put together a series of videos that were released in the social media pre-show, and teased what was going to be launched at the booth.

"It didn't give anything away but it tapped into that whole messaging … 'Toshiba listens. Here's the customer's problem. Guess what? We're coming out with a solution.' It just kind of gave them just enough that people were, 'Well, what is that solution? I've got to go check this out,'" she said.

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The series of videos culminated during the show, and then were complemented with videos that contained full product information for each of the launched products.

"That helped us build excitement and drive people to the booth, and then it helped us keep them engaged after. Even if they weren't able to make it to the trade show, even if they were home somewhere else in another state, they were able to follow along and be a part of the excitement," she said.

The team produced fewer videos for RSNA than they had for 2013, but had more than double the number of views, Moegling said. She attributes that success to fitting the content within one brand message and building on what they had learned from previous years.

"Within social media you don't always have to recreate the wheel every time you do a campaign. Working with other people — it allows you to get the most mileage out of what's going on," she said.

When the PR team develops collateral, Moegling's team then reuses it through social media channels. Advertising is also used, she said, "depending on what it is and if it's appropriate. We can repurpose those through social media as well."

At the end of the show, the team always reviews everything that was posted. They also review the topics for what received the most engagement and what wasn't really of interest.

"If there was a particular topic that really received no engagement, we'll take a look at that and see, 'Is it something that we don't need to talk about anymore because it's not of interest? Or is it that we just didn't hit the mark on the messaging and so we need to tighten that up and be more compelling?'" she said.


When it comes to the success of the RSNA campaign for 2014, Moegling attributes it to, "the teasing it up ahead of time but ... also that unified message."

To all of the businesses — attending or not — the team was talking with one voice, she added.

"We had one core message. Whether you were looking at an ultrasound product or [another] product, both of those customers would come away with the same understanding: Toshiba listens to me and they can help me solve my problem," she said.

The results Moegling and her team were able to achieve were:
  • An increase in average Twitter engagement of 15.88%

  • An increase in average LinkedIn engagement of 1.24%

  • An increase in domestic booth traffic of 12.6% from the previous year

  • An increase in domestic leads by 8.6%

In 2013, Toshiba put out 10 YouTube videos for 1,500 total views. With the seven videos put out in 2014 under the unified brand messaging, the team saw over 4,000 total views.

Moegling attributes this success to compelling content but, most importantly, to having a unified message around all of Toshiba's products.

"It made it easier for our team to communicate but it also made it easier for our customers who are reading on the go [to] instantly understand what we're trying to say. They can look at it and grasp it. You shouldn't have to pause to figure out what I said in a tweet and what I want you to take away," she concluded.

Creative samples

  1. Toshiba messaging

  2. Toshiba LinkedIn RSNA

  3. Toshiba Twitter RSNA

  4. Booth reveal

  5. RSNA YouTube page


Toshiba America Medical Systems

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