Could social media enrich your conference?

Nowadays most of us play around on our phones and spend time on Facebook or Twitter, but is the conferencing community making the most of these kind of tools?

Experience tells us no. While many events are popular and well attended, their impact is kept within the four walls of where it is held and the online world remains uninformed of important developments.

Day Office

In this blog post, we’ll give you a few quick tips that could help you on your way to improving your conference’s online presence:

Hashtags

Hashtags are a funny phenomenon. When they work, they can really add to an event you are holding and improve its online penetration – but getting it wrong can spell disaster.

Nobody wants to hold a conference and only have the organiser and a couple of other sympathetic souls using its hashtag so you should ensure you go the whole hog and generate publicity for the it before the event starts.

It’s also worth considering having a good hard think about what it is that you want your hashtag to achieve. Do you want better attendance? Do you want to ask delegates a question?

The sooner you think about this and develop a strategy the better, as a well placed hashtag could even make it into the top ten trending topics in your region, or even across the UK as a whole – massively improving your chances of holding a successful conference.

Photos galore

Post photos. Lots of photos.

Social media types love photos as they are easily re-tweetable and – thanks to a new update from Twitter – appear in users’ live new stream without needing to be clicked.

Make the images interesting. They should be relevant, have as many “big name” industry players in as possible and should be taken with professional equipment – not just a smartphone.

Online pictures have a much greater tendency to go viral, so your social media team should come together to come up with a plan to generate as much buzz as possible.

Vine

Vines are seven second video clips hosted on a website of the same and normally shared on Twitter to great effect.

But they are incredibly difficult for businesses and event planners to utilise effectively.

Try and put together a funny stop-motion animation to publicise your event, or do quick interviews with interesting delegates – but make sure to do this in a side-room so background noise isn’t as much of an issue.

Content marketing

Content marketing is easily one of the most important developments in the online advertising space in recent years.

Having a website with regular content in the form of news posts, blog articles, videos or podcasts will keep bringing people back for more and help your company to become an industry leader.

But what can you write about for your conference? Easy, just attempt to write a daily news story about the industry that your event is relevant to, or hire a content marketing company to do the work for you.

Encourage real-time interaction

Encourage conference participants to engage with your online social media presence by retweeting messages and giving coverage to delegates who post about the event.

If you don’t think you’ll have the time to do this, why not hire someone? Bring in a social media executive to help your event reach its potential, as a half-baked effort will fall flat on its face and do little to assist your summit in attracting more attendees.

However, you shouldn’t look too desperate and push people too far in engaging with your social campaign as this could alienate people that aren’t as interested in the online side of your sector and could even leave a sour taste in the mouth of some of your delegates.

Livestream speeches

Livestreaming is nothing new and conferences have long been subject to a live visual presence for large keynote speeches.

But while this was previously expensive and left generally to the the deep pockets of large technology industry events like E3, CES and the Tokyo Games Show, smaller conferences can now also get in on the action.

Livestreaming websites like Twitch, Justin TV and Ustream allow conferences to broadcast speeches to followers from around the world and this could really give your event the boost it needs to become an industry name.

If, for example, you plan to hold an oil drilling technology conference, don’t expect to see thousands of people watching your keynote presentations though, as it will likely only be sectoral experts that take the time to tune in.

But all of this is for nothing if you don’t have the right speakers. Take the time to find rising stars in your industry and put them at the top of your conference’s billing – especially if they have a large base of followers.

&Meetings

With all of this information, you’ll actually need an event space to host your conference.

We have a number of spaces of varying sizes across the capital and with free internet and refreshments, it’s sure to be a hit among delegates.

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