We’re all using social media when we have an event to promote, go out and network, etc. But just like you should develop a strategy to promote your event using social media, you should also have a strategy when you attend a conference or popular event, and social media should be a part of that strategy.
Conference season will be in full bloom before we know it. When you learn how to use social media before, during and after a conference, you maximize your connections and get the most benefit from attending!
Preparation Before the Conference
- Find out who’s attending the conference. Set up meetings before, during or after the event in advance. Once the conference gets started, you may lose track of time or lose those people you know you want to connect with.
- Checkout the speakers ahead of time. Not just their names, but their bios, websites, previous engagements, etc. This will give you an idea of their style, their experience, and it will also help you frame your mind to ask the right questions and get the best bang for your buck.
- Make sure you know the event hashtag or the event page so if you do any live feeds or posting you’re showing up in the live feeds. Remember, people that can’t attend the event follow along with live feeds during events. This will exponentially increase your social media visibility!
- Whether you’re at a meetup or there’s a Facebook page associated with the event, check in. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been somewhere and people don’t check in and then complain that there was no way to know who attended. I can’t find you if you don’t check in or give me a heads up via text, live tweets or something “live” to let me know you’re in attendance..
- Use your smartphone! Use apps to collect attendee information, scan business cards, download .vcf cards, etc. And be sure to include a note or two about the person with their contact information. Those notes will help refresh your memory after the conference.
After the Conference
Make sure you’ve connected with all those people across different social media platforms, not just one platform.
- Send out LinkedIn invitations to connect almost immediately, with a note like “it was great meeting you at the xyz conference” so they’ll be more likely to connect. Please don’t send the canned LinkedIn auto-message.
- Create a specific Google+ circle for the event and add those connections to that circle.
- For some, you’ll want to send Facebook friend requests. Like those fanpages while you’re at it.
- You’ll probably want to connect with everyone via Twitter. Group them in a list to make it easier to interact with just these folks.
- Checkout their blogs, and keep an eye out for event recaps so you can comment.
For those local people you really connected with, schedule a time to catch up in person. Keep the momentum and conversations going, and transform those conversations into a relationship if you so choose to.
There you have it, 10 easy ways to strategically use social media before, during, and after a conference. If you develop an event plan the next time you register for a conference, you’ll get much more out of your networking at the event.
What other ways do you use social media as a conference attendee? Please let me know by leaving a comment!