Many of us go to live events, conferences and trade shows these days either for personal pleasure or business and if you are in business they are a great way to raise your Social Media profile and meet and make new contacts. Using live events to connect with your target audience is also a great way to leave a positive and lasting brand impression of your business.
Remember that many of the followers of your business may not be able to attend some of these events themselves; it may be an industry event where only relative industry people may be able to attend. You can of course still reach many of these followers and get your message and the messages of others across through the power of social media.
Many of these events now have their own Social Media teams to promote the event and engage with visitors and stand holders.
In this blog post I want to discuss a few ways in which you maximise your day at these events through using your social media accounts such as Twitter.
As with anything in business Prior Planning and Preparation will Prevent Poor Performance and this is just as true when you are going to be Tweeting coverage from a live event or show. Many events if not all of them these days have a #hashtag that is related to the conference or event.
For those of you that aren’t aware already (where have you been) a #hashtag is a word or phrase that is used in order to mark keywords or topics within a tweet and was originally created by Twitter users as a way to categorise messages within the social network.
Event organisers create these in order to involve users and create a buzz around their own event and it means you have an easy way of following what is being said within the twittersphere about that topic. For example we attended a live event recently called Mercury Expo where the organisers had created the #hashtag #mexpo13 and it was in use constantly throughout the day in discussion of the days events.
Whatever event or show you are going to be attending it is imperative that you know what the #hashtag is, preferably before you get to the event. This will allow you to set up a search and start to get a feel for the show in advance, see what the organisers have got planned for the event and even work out an itinerary for the day.
Don’t forget to let people know you are going to the event using the #hashtag and you can start doing this from a couple of days before, you never know, we have often made arrangements to meet potential clients and other colleagues from within the industry because they are going to the same event.
If you plan on listening to any speakers or attending workshops at any of these events get to know the Twitter handles of the relevant people and connect with them, if they are discussing their talk or workshop engage with them and try and get a dialogue running. This is of course something that you can continue once at the event.
During the Event
If you are making the best use of Twitter during your daily routines for the business then you will already be using it to engage with your followers, influencers and colleagues from within your market niche. At a live event it’s a great way of letting others know what you thought of a particular presentation or workshop it can help you as a note taker of the points you find of interest and any takeaways from the event.
Make sure that you are using the #hashtag throughout in all of your tweets, if it’s a tweet regarding a particular speaker don’t forget to reference the speaker as well, remember you are still wanting to connect and engage.
At live events I always like to reference any talks or workshops I attend by mentioning the start of the talk or workshop, tweet that you are about to attend with the name of the presentation and the handle of the speaker, it’s a good way to reference for later on. We often do takeaway blogs after attending events and I find this sort of action invaluable upon returning to the office. To see an example of how we utilise this take a look at our post on the Complete Content Marketing Show Round-Up following a recent event we attended.
Don’t forget to monitor your account for @ mentions and RT’s and always respond to them, it’s manners anyway but it’s still about engagement with your existing followers and potential new contacts.
There are of course many tools that make this easier to manage such as ‘Sprout Social’ and ‘Hootsuite’, personally I like to use ‘Hootsuite’ at events as I am often managing multiple streams and this allows me to have those open all the time. I always do a search on the events #hashtag and then save the search as this will allow me to have it open as a stream so it’s easy to monitor.
Don’t forget to mix it up a little as well, tweet photographs from the event during the day as this can help engage your followers as if they were at the event with you. One last thing to remember is make sure you obey the rules of Twitter Etiquette and if you don’t understand these you can read another post about this subject here.
Most of all though enjoy the day and engage with your audience, make new friends and meet some great new contacts after all that is what it’s all about.
Watch out in the near future for a follow up post on how you can utilise Social Media to promote your own event……
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