Heading to a conference? Wait! What’s your social strategy?

So you’re planning to attend a conference. Great! We hope you have a great time, but before you head out, do you have a plan for how you’ll engage while there? You’ve already invested time, travel and energy, so make sure you’re fully prepared to maximize your experience.

We all know that a major reason for attending conferences is to learn the latest tips and tricks, trends or tactics in an industry, but it’s often the people you meet and the networks you develop that provide the real value. Let’s face it; it’s not easy to build meaningful relationships, especially when hundreds, maybe thousands of strangers surround you. Like it or not, some of us are simply not as forward as we’d like to be and find it difficult to walk up to a random person and strike up a conversation. That’s OK. Let social media work for you.

Before you head out, it’s important to discuss your goals with your communications agency and let them guide you by crafting a social strategy that will help you achieve those goals.

It’s pretty uncommon these days to find an organization without at least a minor social presence, and more and more companies are developing social strategies that align with their overall business goals, rather than just throwing content out into the social ether and hoping it resonates. If you invest in a social presence without a clear strategy, you risk giving your competition a distinct advantage. The same could be said for heading to a conference without a plan.

Another thing to consider is how your reputation can be enhanced or destroyed on social media. Do not go to a conference without a plan on how you will engage with influencers, keynote speakers or media in attendance. Stalking, over-sharing and shameless self-promotion are all very real pitfalls that many people and companies encounter while trying to “engage” on social.

Here are a few conference social best practices from Red Fan:

  • Actively follow the event hashtag and don’t wait until you get there to start using it. Share which keynotes or sessions you are excited to attend, which networking events you’ll attend and more­—all using the event hashtag. Be sure to engage with posts from others who are also using the hashtag. You will likely come across some of the more influential attendees.
  • Don’t be shy. If there is someone that you want to connect with, send him or her a tweet and introduce yourself and mention that you’ll be attending the same conference or session as an icebreaker.
  • Don’t forget be active on social while there, too. There is a lot going on, but make the time to tag other attendees, retweet or re-share other people’s content and engage with the conversations going on around the event online.
  • Turn your online conversations and hashtags into meaningful relationships by making the effort to say hello to panelists, speakers and other attendees during breaks or immediately following sessions. Virtual conversations are great but nothing beats a physical handshake to secure a lasting connection.
  • Take lots of photos!

And remember, at conferences, despite all the wonderful social channels out there, Twitter is still king!

Still not quite sure how to harness the power of social media at your next conference? Give us a call; we are ready to help you create a social strategy that will allow you to make the most of your investment.

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