It’s not surprising that during live events and conferences, large spikes in social media engagement take place. After all, people are drawn together around a specific topic of interest and are experiencing real-life, face-to-face connections. Social media is a perfect extension to build upon those connections, allowing real opportunities for your brand to evolve.
Here are 5 tips to help you increase your brand visibility and make stronger, lasting connections at events:
1. Find the event Hashtag:
Most industry events now have a hashtag. Not sure what a hashtag is? It’s an aggregated conversation around a topic, which can be followed real-time. Start here to learn more about hashtags.
Find the hashtag being used for the event you’re attending and use it wisely. Typically this can be found on the event’s website or its social media postings.
2. Use the Hashtag frequently leading up to the event:
Post about your brand’s excitement for the impending conference and include the event hashtag. If you’re a speaker, share what you will be speaking about and when. If you’re a sponsor, share how thrilled you are to be part of the event and what you will be showcasing. The event management team will most likely engage back, and perhaps retweet your content, because they want to create buzz as well. Tagging the conference is also helpful to get you on the radar. This is a great way to tap into the conference’s already established audience, as well as the people who you want to meet in person!
— Cierra Savatgy-King (@pigtailmedia) September 5, 2014
Tip: Keep your posts short so there is enough room for people to easily retweet your content on Twitter and not exceed the 140 character limit.
3. Monitor the Hashtag AND the event’s social pages before the event:
Discover who else is posting about the event and connect up with them. Follow them and let them know you’re excited to meet and learn more about what they do. Events and conferences are always easier when you have a beginning relationship established. Use it as an icebreaker opportunity!
4. Post live content at the event:
Make sure that handy dandy smartphone is fully powered-up and start tweeting away. Share photos of beautiful design elements, people, and entertainment. Quotes from speakers are always popular content at events. Remember to keep it nice and short so the event manager can reshare your content and get your brand front and center. Always include the hashtag and conference social media profiles (if space allows).
— Valarie Sparks (@SparksSocial) July 31, 2014
Tip: If you’re using your computer during the event, use a tool like TweetChat to follow the hashtag conversation during presentations. It cuts out all the chatter and gives you a laser focus on just what you want.
5. Follow up, follow up, follow up:
Think of social media as the new age rolodex. Depending on how social media savvy the event audience is, it’s possible there was so much activity that influential speakers or brands weren’t able to see your efforts to connect up online. Or perhaps they didn’t even see your messages at the event. A day or two after the event, search the hashtag to see who might be fitting to strike up a conversation with. Send a speaker a follow up question about their presentation or props for an impactful quote they made. Reach out to those you did meet and let them know how much you appreciate the conversation you had.
It’s not rocket science. It’s just connection. While it can be overwhelming, social media really is just new sets of tools for connecting and building strong, meaningful relationships to people and brands. With a strategy in mind, these tips can open the door for you and your brand, making a conference that much more impactful.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cierra Savatgy-King has over 10 years of experience working in the entertainment and hospitality marketing field, and started incorporating social mediums as a marketing, branding and customer service tool when people were still asking, “What’s Facebook?” Four years ago, she started Pigtail Media, an experiential, social media marketing group for the hospitality industry. She’s a recording artist, loves to travel, and stays a kid at heart by doing lots of cartwheels and handstands.