Incorporating Social Media at Conference
Olivia Hook, NASCIO Research and Digital Communications Coordinator
It's a new year… is it also time to spice up your client’s social media plan? You’ve been stuck in a rut with your client’s social media content, so what do you do? Conveniently, you have a conference coming up. Perfect timing! Client conferences are the perfect avenue to create a bump in social media engagement. Now, this takes some planning, so it is best to start thinking about this at least a few weeks before your client’s conference.
First, come up with a clever hashtag to use in promoting your conference before the event, and also for your members to use in their tweets, Facebook posts, etc. while they’re at the conference. Keep it short so it doesn’t take up too many of that unfortunate 140-character Twitter limit. Make sure that it is relevant to your conference, and it should be different for each conference. Try something like “#Annual15” (denotes the type of conference and the year) or make it more creative. We often use our client’s acronym in the hashtag to avoid confusion. Remember, this is the hashtag that you will promote to your staff and members to use while tweeting before and during the event.
Spark engagement within your membership! We try to have Twitter contests from time to time where we offer incentives for answering questions we pose, tweeting pictures to us, or engaging in any other way on social media. This is especially relevant during conference season, and it can start before you get onsite! Try asking your followers/members what they are looking forward to at the conference, what advice they would give first-time attendees, ‘follower of the day’, etc. If you have a little extra in your budget, purchase small prizes in the form of gift cards or ‘swag’. Leftover client-embossed swag or Starbucks and McDonalds gift cards for $5-10 work great! People love to be recognized. In addition to a small prize, make sure you use your client’s social media accounts to acknowledge your prize winners. Tweet out the winners and announce them in front of all attendees each morning of your conference.
I would suggest investing in a social media monitoring collaboration platform, such as Zoomph, if you have room in your budget. Platforms like this are so easy to use and provide you with an interesting visual for your attendees while they are at the registration desk or wherever you decide to place it. These social media collaboration platforms pull an aggregation of all social media mentions of your specific hashtag from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The screen can be placed on a large monitor and will continue to move and scroll in real-time while your members are engaging with you on social media. This is an easy and super fun way to show off your members’ engagement with you before and during a conference in front of their peers.
Social media contests are fun, cost-effective, and relatively easy ways to ramp up your client’s social media presence, not to mention increase engagement with your members. Try it out and watch your followers and engagement go through the roof!