Using social media prior to an event can greatly enhance the networking experience both there and prior to your conference.
Are you a business hosting an upcoming event or a conference? Back in the day, you had to wait until the morning of your conference or class to network or meet the other attendees.
Now, thanks to social media, you can make introductions and connect with people right after registration. This way, you’ll have people talking about your event ahead of time, so that conversations are already off and running the moment your event starts; exactly why you should make social an integral part of your business DNA.
Here are some ways to get people chatting, and ensure your business event is top of mind for your fellow colleagues and attendees:
1. Create a unique Twitter hashtag and promote retweeting!
When attendees hit a particular venue, they’ll already be acquainted with one another, thanks to social media. However, people don’t just RT on demand. Get in tune with them by creating content that will enhance their experience or start a conversation.
2. Record video interviews or a podcast and write blog posts.
In the run up to all of our events, we insist speakers do one of these pieces. Good speakers see this chance to engage with the audience beforehand, and therefore create even more of a connection on presentation day. This is less work than it seems; most of this can be done on a smart phone and posted right away.
3. Collect attendee Twitter handles and reach out individually.
This can be labour-intensive but it’s worth the effort. With a smaller event, making that micro connection before will be the online equivalent of opening the door personally.
Try and get a few people introduced online beforehand; this is much more elegant that broadcasting, “come to our event!” If people are meeting someone recommended you have instantly created value for them.
4. Do an online icebreaker.
Ask a question of people and get them talking. Perhaps it’s a unique fill-in-the-blank tweet, such as my favourite person to follow on Twitter is @______, my favourite thing about Australia is ______, my favourite blog is ________. Use these for their nametags at the event, while retweeting answers as they come in to get the discussion and introductions started.
5. Be prepared for the day.
Let people know the hashtag beforehand! Use your Facebook and Twitter pages to promote this information, even Instagram and Flickr. Often overlooked is promoting the hashtag visibly at the event. People who are tweeting want to be a part of the broader conversation that a hashtag provides, but too often the hashtag is difficult to find. Post the hashtag on signs and at the beginning of presentations, it can’t be visible enough!