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Social media at a conference

Social media has become a huge force in several spheres of business, as well as being a useful tool in people's social lives. However, it is very often underused. At a conference, social media can be invaluable to the point where you might wonder how you ever survived without it.

While some just use the technology to keep in touch with people, others have recognised the many business opportunities it can create. Social media can be used at a conference to augment your experience, allowing you to get much more out of it in terms of knowledge, business contacts and even enjoyability.

In order to best use social media, you will need to put a bit of work into it before and after the conference as well as on the day. This will require very little of your time, but will pay off magnificently.

 

Before

The period before a conference is often used for preparation, but few realise how helpful social media can be for this. First and foremost, it allows you to research the speakers, the topics that are likely to come up and the event itself. There will be plenty of prominent people posting on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn that you should follow in the week before the event.

Look for event-specific hashtags on Twitter to see what other people are saying about the conference. This allows you to see what advice past attendees have for newcomers, which means you can prepare yourself for specific aspects of the event. This could be something as simple as wearing warm clothing if the venue is often cold, or tips on which sessions to attend.

Social media also allows you to get a head-start on your networking. If you can connect with conference attendees in the days before the event, then you will have a starting point for discussions on the day. You can arrange to meet specific people for a coffee and a chat, so you're not starting from square one when you meet people on the day.

 

During

Once you are at the conference, you will want to absorb as much information as possible. However, if you get any spare time you should use it as an opportunity to market yourself and your company through social media.

If you want to come across as more of an authority in your industry, posting on social media about the conference will help solidify that image. It will make it clear to your followers that you care about developing your own knowledge and staying on the cutting edge of your sector, while potentially also giving your company more exposure.

Using hashtags and tagging the venue and the event in social media posts also enables you to be found by interested parties. People interested in the conference will be able to see what you post, raising awareness of you and your business in general. You should find that most conferences have a specific hashtag you can use to make sure your posts get seen by more people.

 

Afterwards

Once you have returned from the conference, you can continue using social media to your advantage. This stage is a continuation of the work you have put in before and during the event, but it is necessary in order to have been as effective as possible.

Firstly, social media enables you to easily keep in touch with the contacts you have made at the event. Don't do this for everyone, as some might find it too informal, but for many businesspeople it is a quick way of contacting others without needing to arrange a call or a meeting. This will help solidify your relationships, leading to greater collaboration in the future.
You should also finalise your self-promotion with a few posts about your conference experience. Again, your aim is to come across as an industry authority, so be sure to talk about what you have learned and how it can help other businesses in the future.


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