We're down at Social Media Week in Los Angeles this week and it reminded us of how great it is to be prepared before you head to a social media conference (or any conference, for that matter). We've put together a quick list of tips for you to review before you attend the next event in your calendar.
1. Have Business Cards, Hot Off The Press
You're going to meet a lot of industry people--potentially even some new customers, partners or even people to add to your team, so be sure you have a way for them to contact you after the event is over. Best way to do this? Hand out your business cards. That's what they're for. A good business card should depict your company branding, provide your name, title and contact information (including your social media profiles). Need help getting these just right? Our designers have you covered.
2. Have A Way To Recharge
These days, almost all conferences are active on Twitter, and encourage their attendees to join the conversation (especially a social media conference). You're likely going to be tweeting up a storm with your favourite takeaways, while flipping back and forth between the event app, and this is going to cause your battery to deplete at a rapid pace. Power outlets are sometimes few and far between, so free yourself from the anxiety-inducing search for a recharge, power cord in hand, and bring a recharging device! You could pick up a Mophie case and just flick it on when you're running low or bring a power bank, fully charged, to plug in.
3. Plan Your Schedule
Schedules for events are almost always made available beforehand, so be sure to review the schedule in full and highlight which sessions you want to be sure not to miss (on the plane ride down is a great time). Lots of events will have multiple sessions happening at once, so you don't want to be struggling to read session descriptions on your precious 15 minute breaks when you should be worried about locating Conference Room C and hitting the lavatories.
4. Nourish Thy Self
The fourth commandment of attending a conference! Know where you're going to get breakfast, lunch and those imperative coffees throughout the days. Some events provide food and refreshments before, after and during, but some don't. There is nothing worse than realizing, midday, that you have no access to food and no idea where you are or what's around. Another way to combat this potential malnourishment--pack snacks! Some healthy eats in zip lock's will come in super handy in your purse. (Make sure you don't pack "loud" snacks though; no one likes the dude in the back crushing a crinkling bag of chips.)
5. Getting To And From
Often, events are in different cities that you're unfamiliar with. (Social Media Week is in 17 cities around the world!) Who knows what the local traffic is like, what the parking situation is or what options you have for getting around? Be sure to research this beforehand so you know how much time it will take you to get to/from and you can budget accordingly. We like to take Uber to and from events, so parking is a non-issue and you have someone else navigating for you, but it's still wise to pull up the route on Google Maps the day before to suss the time it will take AND give yourself extra time, just in case. You'd hate to miss the Keynote!
6. Personal Temperature Controls
Most conferences I've been, the rooms are FREEZING, but this one was crazy warm. Regardless, the venues are big, and you're not going to have control over how hot or cold you are during the days, and weather, as we all know, is often unpredictable. Combat this by packing layers (a big warm scarf or a cardigan) and packing a small personal fan to bust out if you're feeling the heat. Bonus: In case of rain, pack an umbrella (especially if you're wearing white).
7. Stay Fresh
Conferences provide ample opportunity to network and connect, and you want to do that looking your best. Be sure that you pack a make up bag of essentials so you can refresh throughout the day (and especially before the cocktail hour). We recommend a red lipstick... so you really stand out in the crowd (plus, for us, it's totally on brand). And, maybe deodorant. Never a bad idea.
Hope these social media conference tips prepare you for your next event! What events are you attending for the rest of 2015? And what were your favourites so far this year?