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October 30, 2014

How to use Social Media to get more out of your Next Conference

Let’s say you are attending a conference.  You have some clear objectives on what you want to learn.  You know which vendors you want to visit and the seminars you plan to attend. How can you use social media to get more out of your conference plan-of-attack?

With the rise of platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn, it’s easier than ever for conference organisers to put their in-person events online, in real time. And while this is great promotion for the conference, it’s good for you, too. Being active on social media during an exhibition can help you with business branding,expanding your network and getting more out of the entire conference experience.

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1. Always be positive!

Most conference tweets are filled with words of encouragement, inspirational sound bites from speakers and news on the latest innovations people have seen at the event. So what should you be tweeting? Simple – The same thing!

Feel free to share your thoughts or opinions on what’s happening, of course, but your goal should be to keep that good energy going and be positive on social media. Even if you don’t like one of the speakers or completely disagree with something he or she said, be respectful online.

Remember: Not only will that person probably see your tweet afterward, but if you use the conference hashtag or tag the organizers, a lot of other people might see your comment too.

2. Coming to grips with Hashtags and Handles…

Conference hashtags are a very effective way to find all things conference-related in one place, figure out who’s at the same event you are, and share your own thoughts and comments.

Make sure you’re using the right one. Nothing is more awkward and frustrating than feeling like you’ve been tweeting up a storm about a great conference only to find that you’ve been using the wrong hashtag the entire time.

For Example, take Hannover Messe, the World’s largest Technological shows - all social conversations take place under the Hashtag #hm15.

If you want to namedrop the show, or have a direct conversation use their Twitter Handle - @hannover_messe.

Finally, use other relevant Hashtags to get your Tweets in front of a relevant audience e.g. #Technology #Innovation #Instrumentation.

3. Interaction and Engagement

Social media has the word “social” in it for a reason. In other words, don’t be afraid to reach out to other people on Twitter or LinkedIn who are covering the event as well! This is where the beauty of that conference hashtag comes in; just click the hashtag and comment, favourite, and re-tweet away.

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An exhibition will usually have a live social stream within their website so this is a good way to see all the posts, active exhibitors and visitors in the same place. You can see below an example of an exhibition the Process Industry Forum team attended last week!

Conference_sheet

 

Also, don’t forget to take your online social interactions offline. If you’ve met someone at the conference who you generally like, make plans to meet up for lunch or find each other during a networking session. These can be some of the most valuable connections.

4. Always be respectful!

That said, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in live tweeting at the event that you totally forget that you’re there to network and listen to great speakers.

If you are in a breakout session where there are only 10 people in the room with you, we would advise that you put your phone away and pay attention — you can always sum up your thoughts on social afterwards.

The key to finding that happy medium is posting enough so that it’s informative but not so much that it seems like you aren’t really paying attention to the event.

5. Be social, not serious.

Last but not least, remember that social media is meant to be fun, so have a good time posting about the event. Not every post has to be an extremely serious piece of commentary of what you’re doing; you can also show the other sides of the conference, too.

 

AuthorThis is a guest blog from Rachel Wilson, Operations Director at   Process Industry Forum. In that role she writes for a wide spectrum of professionals from graduates to design & maintenance engineers to marketing and sales professionals

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