I’ve worked in social media marketing for many years (including running social media for the largest digital marketing conference), and I speak about social media at over 20 conferences a year, so I have seen a lot in terms of how conferences are using social media. That being said, many conferences are still skeptical about how exactly they can use social media for their event and what the tangible benefits are.
In this post I want to share some of the key reasons that every conference should pay attention to social media.
1. Use Social Media To Learn About Issues
When I was working with ad:tech, we used social media during the show to monitor for potential issues. The PR firm had a designated listener who followed social media posts about the conference to learn about issues, and alert the appropriate team members.
At the beginning of the show the registration lines were EXTREMELY long, and people started to complain. The social media listener learned this and alerted the staff who was able to allocate more people to the registration tables. By following social media mentions about the show the conference was able to see the issues and take action.
2. Use Social Media to Market the Show
I wrote a post with tips on how meeting planners and event organizers can use social media to promote their shows. Social media is a great way to build awareness prior to the event to generate more excitement and ultimately more sign-ups.
This is probably the most popular use of social media.
3. Use Social Media to Check on Your Speakers
In every show their are good speakers and bad speakers. Many conference organizers try to use polls to get a feel for how different speakers are doing, but the problem is getting people to fill them out.
Social media can give you a real feel for how your speakers are doing. One of the conferences that I attend uses social media as a way to see real-time feedback on their speakers. By looking at organic and natural tweets they are able to see which speakers people love and why. At a recent show the organizer looked at social media as a way to evaluate their speakers to help make decisions for next year.
4. Use Social Media to Communicate Information at the Show
Despite all of the planning that goes in to a conference, the reality is that things sometimes change at the show. A conference that I recently attended had to change the location of a networking event the day of.
While they made announcements at the conference, they wanted to make sure that everyone had the correct location for the event. So, rather than expecting people to write down (and write it down correctly) they used their Blog, Twitter and Facebook to get the new information out. This way people could access the information on their mobile phones as well.