Using social media around conferences allows you to keep abreast of real-time news and updates, engage with other interested parties and make sure your own voice gets heard. It is an increasingly important part of meeting attendance and, with careful planning, what is often a daunting task can be made simple. Here are our tips to help you get the most out of social media at conferences.
- Find out the official hashtag. Identifying the official hashtag helps you get involved in the correct conversations and discover what the main talking points of the conference are likely to be. You’ll also be able to access preview information about the event itself and see who’s going to participate in the conversation.
- Once you’ve found it, use it! Official hashtags attract a lot of attention and activity, so using it within your post can help raise the profile of your cause with others following the same conference, such as other patient advocacy organizations or potential collaborators.
- Get involved in the conversation. It’s always a good idea to actively participate in the conversation, whether before, during or after the event. Retweeting, liking and sharing posts you feel are relevant to your organization’s objectives will help build connections with others that share the same vision.
- Inform your audience of your presence at the conference. Letting your existing followers know you are attending a specific medical conference can help drive audience engagement. Questions or requests submitted by your audience can help you understand where their interests lie and allows you to focus on delivering information that matters to them. Announcing your presence at a conference also opens the door to potential new collaborations with other organizations.
- Schedule content beforehand. For smaller patient organizations without someone directly responsible for social media, or for those with busy on-site schedules, pre-planning content before a conference is key. Creating tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn posts that are scheduled to be sent automatically during the course of the meeting relieves some of the pressure and can be supplemented by live posts from the event.
- On-site posting opportunities. Take the opportunity to share original, information-rich material from the conference as this will help you stand out and give the audience more reason to follow your posts. In particular, look for visually striking diagrams or presentation slides to help drive online interest.
- Make your content engaging. If you want to stand out from the reams of information available, you need to be imaginative with your posts. Imagery, short videos and polls are all ways to entice your potential audience into checking out your content.
- Know when to take a conversation offline. Conversing openly on platforms such as Twitter does come with its pitfalls, and on occasion requires delicate handling. If a conversation moves into an area you are not comfortable with, send a simple message asking the person if you can take the discussion offline.
- Encourage your network to share your posts. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking gaining exposure is entirely up to you – but it’s not. Your followers are as much an outlet for your organization’s cause as you are, so encourage them to engage with and share your posts.
Keeping the above tips in mind will help you feel much more invested in the conference itself, have the right conversations, allow you to connect with potential new collaborators and enable you to gather more relevant information.