Maximizing Social Media at Your Event

Photo by Victor1558 via flickr

If you are a professional association with members around the country or world, it’s likely that your annual or regional meetings won’t be attended by all members.  Rather than leave a big chunk of your constituency in the dark, social media can be a great tool to amplify conference content to members, and beyond.

Having just helped with a live event, I wanted to share some items to consider before activating social media at your event:

Listen:  What are people saying beforehand?  What are the issues that your followers in social media want to hear most about?

Plan: What is going to be your steady drumbeat of content?  Will you provide live updates from sessions?  Will you offer interviews with speakers and member attendees? What exclusive opportunity will you offer your key influencers?  What behind-the-scenes experience can you provide?

Engage:   What social platforms will you be using? Facebook? LinkedIn? Twitter? Who will be your social media “crew” to engage online and ensure all relevant content is covered?

Amplify:   How will you spread the word so event participants (both on and off line) are aware of the social networking taking place? Signage at the event? Advertising? Pre-event communications? External newsletters? Twitter hashtags? If your organization does not have a relevant hashtag, establish one beforehand and make sure people know about it and use it to help with online search results and to aggregate associated content. Also, ensure you link your various social platforms together to maximize content promotion.

If you are able to answer all of the questions above, you are probably ready to get started! If not, take some time to think through before jumping in.

A final note about technology: Ensure you plan for proper technology and resources. If you’re using flipcams, be sure to have enough memory cards and a video editor onsite. If you’re live Tweeting, be sure that reporters have a mobile device to Tweet from. iPads can be a great tool for members to take notes, Tweet, view video, etc., and can be raffled off to participants at the event.