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Using Social Media To Make Your Conferences Count

This September, I am greatly looking forward to attending a number of conferences including the QuEST Forum’s 2014 Americas Best Practices Conference and the ASTRA Women’s Business Alliance ‘Connect to Success’ event. These conferences provide value on so many levels – from networking to renewed inspiration to sharing best practices, and of course, new business opportunities. But one opportunity I know I have been missing is using social media (beyond the occasional tweets and image posts I have done previously) to take the benefit of going to these events to the next level.

Staying more connected and vocal on social media is not only good for boosting your own and your brand’s profile and association to a particular event, but can also be really useful for the people who couldn’t make it; by sharing live insights you can support your wider community in real time.

So, to encourage us all to make better use of the social media tools at hand so that we can maximize our investment in both time and cost that attending conferences represents, here are some tips and insights to get the ball rolling.

  1. Pre-event build up

Twitter

– Generate some excitement with an upbeat tweet that you’ll be attending. Follow this up by highlighting key workshops / speakers you’re particularly looking forward to (and remember to give them a mention using their handle if you do – e.g. ‘looking forward to hearing @diversitymattersalex speak…).

– Also, on Twitter of course, the hashtag is king. Check to see if there are any official hashtags the event is using but also use hashtags that pertain to the theme of the conference, e.g. #diversity, #WBENC, #smallbusiness.

LinkedIn

– Post an update announcing your attendance and add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you are a Premium Linkedin user, you can also search by interest to see if there’s anyone attending that you can try and connect with beforehand.

  1. At the event

Twitter

– Image posts work really well on Twitter and are perfect for driving re-tweets as well as providing non-attendees with a visual connection to the event.

– Providing key quotes from speakers (again with the requisite hashtags and name check of the speaker) is a great way of sharing knowledge with your community and this also helps show what is standing out for you – thereby reinforcing your brand and your own point of view.

– Be sure to follow what others are up to and then join in the conversation. You can do this by searching by name or hashtag. The great joy of Twitter is its immediacy so try to do this fairly often. If a particular topic has caught your attention, feel free to kick off your own conversation – especially if it’s in your area of expertise.

– Follow good Twitter etiquette and favorite or retweet interesting or useful tweets. Quote any retweets to add your own spin on the content.

– If you happen to be a speaker or panelist, enlist a colleague (if you have one with you) to tweet on your behalf

  1. Post conference follow-up

Twitter

– Keep the buzz going by tweeting your conference highlights (not forgetting the hashtags and handles). Thank event organizers and standout speakers. Expand your ‘Twitterverse’ by following relevant people using the conference hashtags – you never know, you may get a ‘follow’ back!

– Follow up with connections you made during the conference. Direct message (a function available if you both follow each other) to move the conversation forward.

Blog

– Make use of longer-form content to reflect on key highlights of the event, your take-aways, how you’ll be putting them into action and how your audience can too.

Linkedin

– Post a status update thanking the organizers, giving a shout-out to a favorite speaker and look forward to the next event.

I hope these tips have provided some food for thought. As ever, I’d love to hear any suggestions or best practices you may have on this subject. In the meantime, if you’re looking for wider tips on making the most of trade shows, you can download our free guide here.

Until next time!

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