Jun 8, 201712:19 PM#SocialBiz
with Spencer X. Smith
3 social media strategies to make the most of every conference
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One of my early clients when I started doing social media consulting was a lawyer in Phoenix who concentrated on helping businesses work through mergers and acquisitions. We met up when I was in town for a conference.
“Now that I’ve made partner, I need to make it rain,” he told me. “I’d love to get in front of those businesses that have some kind of financing who are just starting to think about selling in the near future.”
The new law partner knew that he wouldn’t get a lot of opportunities to run into these kinds of business leaders, since they weren’t the types to go to the monthly Chamber of Commerce mixers. He needed to make good on his once-a-year interactions with these entrepreneurs at industry conferences.
The advice I gave him is the advice I give to anyone who doesn’t want to be just another face at a conference: Use social media to distinguish yourself before, during, and after the conference.
Here’s how to use social media to make the most of those networking opportunities:
Before the conference
The speakers at industry conferences are great resources with whom to connect. But if you wait until after a speaker gives her talk, you’ll probably have to wait in a long line to introduce yourself. Since almost every speaker list is made public before a conference, there’s no reason to wait until the conference to connect with these influencers.
Research conference speakers on social media, connect with them on LinkedIn (send a note providing context, of course), and then start posting about those speakers on your channels. Tag them, like them, and promote them to your audiences. Those speakers will notice, and they may even seek you out at the conference. At the very least, they’ll be more likely to recognize your name.
If you’re someone who likes to prepare for conferences by doing some research on the attendees and speakers so you know who to seek out during networking breaks, then this should come naturally to you. The research is an easy task to delegate to a personal assistant, and the posts take only a few minutes to create.
At the conference
If you want people to remember you after the conference, there are two things you should do while you’re there. (Obviously, this is in addition to introducing yourself to the people you researched and connected with ahead of time.)
- Live tweet the conference. You may be thinking, “Nobody really reads conference Twitter hashtags, except the conference organizers.”
… Except the conference organizers. If you want to make an impression on the conference organizers, who are likely influencers in your industry, show them some love on Twitter. Since conference hashtags are woefully underused, if you tweet three or four times during each session you attend, you’ll likely draw the attention of the conference chair, who is probably also the person in charge of booking speakers for the next year.
Sometimes when we plan out or social media activity, we get obsessed with trying to optimize our activity to get the most number of views or the highest engagement.
But if you’re strategic about it, that one view on social media may be the only one you need.