If you're not already considering social media when planning or attending an event, you had better start! It plays a very important role, starting before the event even kicks off, to well after it's over. We wrote another blog that explains why and how you need to plan and manage social media for your event. We'll wait here while you read it (if you haven't already).
Welcome back! Now that you have decided to make social media part of the program, we've got a few hot tips for you on how to do it right. (Yes - we're giving away our industry secrets here, but sharing is caring, right?)
The agenda is likely published online at least a month ahead of time, so take advantage and read up! Make notes about what sessions you don't want to miss, what speakers you want to strategically engage with (before and on-site) and what topics will be covered.
Plot your session attendance beforehand.
How do you know what sessions to hit? Well, think about your audience. Think about what aligns with your brand. Think strategically about speakers - research them. Who do you want to develop a relationship with? Who do you want to promote? Think about how you can re-purpose the content you learn into more content! (blogs, tweets, etc)
Find out who's attending.
See if you can get a list of attendees beforehand and create Twitter lists of their handles. (Maybe one for speakers, one for strategic partners, one for influencers, one for competitors or one that's more general.) This way you can start engaging with them and their tweets before the event even happens, and of course, while you're there. Depending on this volume of people attending (and the capacity of your sales team), you could even have them review for you and highlight some key people they want to nurture. (Suuuuper strategic!) And then while you're at the event, as you meet people, add them to a list. You can utilize this to follow up after the event - especially those suuuuuper hot leads!
Schedule some relevant content.
As you research the sessions and speaker topics, make note of any past content your business/brand has created that you think will likely align here. Schedule some posts to align with the timing of the sessions and use the event hashtag so it gets picked up by anyone and everyone following along. Everyone will be thinking about the subject matter already, so you're smart to strike while the iron is hot and hopefully get some reach, shares and clicks.
Save your visuals.
If your business or client is presenting, you don’t want to have to rely on the poor quality photos of the screens. Save your supporting images or your slides as image files so you can quickly and easily attach to your tweets as the presentation flows through. Tweets with good quality visuals almost always get higher engagement, so if you don't have to rely on crappy Smartphone pics and unflattering angles - don't!
Create a dashboard.
Live tweeting makes for a very busy day. You have to ensure live tweets are going out regularly, but also that you're engaging with anyone who's also tweeting on site! The easiest way to do this is to set up a dashboard in your social media management software (we use Hootsuite!) that tracks mentions, key influencer lists (which you built above, right??) and of course, the conference hashtag. That way, you can see it all at a glance and engage with what you need to.
Arrive to sessions early.
Don't be late. Seats often fill up fast. And if you're live tweeting, you need to get a seat at the front (they're way better for photos). Ideally you'll want a desk seat (so you can use your computer and not have to rely solely on your phone). And while everyone is getting settled, take note of all the speakers names and twitter handles so you can easily reference and tag in posts.
Maybe some of this seems obvious, but it's important, tweeters! Here are a few things you are going to want to have on hand to make your long (and hopefully fruitful) day a little more bearble:
Always have on hand your conference agenda. (I like having the print version since I want to keep my computer and phone screens on social at all times.)
Snacks! Sometimes you need to use those lunch times for scheduling or responding, so you don’t always have time to eat and it’s anti-social to sit with others focusing solely on your technology when you’re supposed to be “networking".
Water - stay hydrated!
A sweater or a scarf. Conference rooms are almost always cold....
An extra power source and chargers. (Your battery life is NEVER going to last you all day. Trust me.)
Create great images.
In case you didn't get the not so subtle mention about the importance of great images above, I'm going to talk about it again. Because it matters! There are lots of ways to add awesome supporting visuals. Like:
Use free stock images (search, download, attach, post!)
Use WordSwag (app) or Canva (depending on your device). Consider have your graphic designer prep a branded backdrop beforehand and adding text to it, as quotes roll out. (Taking it up a notch like whoa!)
Have a good camera! High quality professional cams are great but sometimes it’s just faster to use your phone. Consider these tips for taking tweetable pics though, so they don't turn out crappy.
Say it with me now: I will not tweet crappy visuals!
Alright, that's all I've got for now. And there's a lot of high quality tips up in here, so you should be off to a great start. Two things before I go:
1) If you want to see live tweeting in action, my team will be live tweeting from Social Media Week LA June 13-16, 2018. Follow along the hashtag #SMWLA for a tonne of great takeaways, and spot our logo popping up in that stream with juicy stuff (and great visuals!).
2) If you love the sounds of making the most out of an event your brand is attending (maybe you're exhibiting?), but this sounds like waaaaay too much work for you or your team - we've got you! Contact us today to talk about booking someone from our team to attend live and take care of it all for you!