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Social Media for Conferences


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How to incorporate social media into planning a successful conference experience.

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Social Media for Conferences

  1. 1. Social Media for ConferencesStephanie HatchSocial Media and Email Marketing SpecialistMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyJuly 2012Twitter @hatchstephEmail Communication Production Services
  2. 2. Social media at conferencesMany organizations use social media to enhance theconference experience. Social networking platforms andtools help these organizations reach goals they have fortheir events. They market the event and increaseregistrations beforehand, engage participants inconversation with each other and about the presentationsduring the event, and follow up with shareable content fromthe conference to add value to the experience well after theconference is over.The following slides present some tips for incorporating social media into your next conference. Communication Production Services
  3. 3. Wi-Fi.Make sure there is good, strong, free Wi-Fiavailable in all locations of the conference andthat your participants know how to access it.Some people have their own data cards or phones, butothers will rely on Wi-Fi. Even with a phone, some prefertaking notes on their laptops and then copying and pastinggreat speaker quotations from notes into Twitter. Communication Production Services
  4. 4. Platforms.Cover the event on multiple platforms.Twitter is usually best for getting the conversation going ata quickly-paced conference, but you will have participantsthere using other platforms such as Facebook, blogs, Flickr,Instagram, etc. Communication Production Services
  5. 5. Facebook event.Well before the conference consider setting up aFacebook event for links, updates, and news.An event is a good way to update all participants and makethe event shareable on your company page. A page makesmore sense for a recurring event or series. Make sure tomarket it! Participants will not necessarily go looking for it. Communication Production Services
  6. 6. The hashtag (#).Determine a great hashtag before the conference.Make sure the hashtag is not being used for something elsealready. Also, don’t expect to start using the hashtag oncethe conference starts and hope it will catch on. You must letparticipants know in the conference materials about thehashtag and how/where to use it. This is a great way to getparticipants to communicate with each other. You will beable to watch the interactions and also learn whatparticipants are thinking about the presentations. Communication Production Services
  7. 7. Audio and video.Record audio/video and make highlights availableonline.Watch the comments on social media about the conferenceby monitoring the hashtag use. This will show you whatparts of the conference got the most buzz. Post short videosnippets of those highlights. Generally, do not post longvideo files; cut video into more shareable, smaller videos.Post audio to a shareable, social platform such asSoundCloud. Communication Production Services
  8. 8. LinkedIn group.Create a LinkedIn group for a large or recurringconference.Participants will be able to connect with each other andcontinue the conversation. You will be able to keep track ofparticipants even if they change jobs and/or their emailaddresses. Prospective participants will see the groupbadge on their colleagues’ profiles. Communication Production Services
  9. 9. Visual displays.Show information on visual displays throughoutthe conference.Use signs, posters, digital screens, etc. to remindparticipants of the hashtag, your social media information,and conference updates. Many conferences display a livefeed of tweets during the conference. Also, show thehashtag on a visual display behind or to the side of thespeaker. This will encourage participants to post what theyfound interesting in the presentation. Communication Production Services
  10. 10. Printed and online programs.List all information in the program and thewebsite.Make it easier for participants to find your Twitter handle,your SlideShare URL, or the hashtag. Always make it aseffortless as possible for participants to connect with youraccounts. When someone posts about you it doesn’t gounheard - their followers may be potential participants fornext year. Communication Production Services
  11. 11. Social media staff.Have one person monitor social media activityduring the conference.This person should watch posts using the hashtag andmentioning the organization. Regular posts should be goingout from the organization throughout the conference. Usethe speakers’ Twitter names if they have one. Reply to andengage with the participants. Schedule pre-curated poststo announce updates, such as conference events withalready determined times and speakers. Communication Production Services
  12. 12. Take questions from Twitter.Allow speakers to answer questions from Twitter.At the beginning of the speaker’s presentation announcethat he or she will be taking questions live but also fromTwitter. Do not announce this at the end of the presentation!People need to know ahead of time so they can formulatequestions and figure out how to ask with 140 characters orless. If you do take questions via Twitter, you will need togive participants a specific hashtag or the speaker’s Twittername and you will need a person to monitor and feed thequestions to the speaker. Communication Production Services
  13. 13. QR codes.Turn long URLs into QR codes.Make it easy. It is less likely someone will see a long URLon a poster or program and type it out character forcharacter into their browser, especially on a phone. Use QRcodes to help participants visit web pages more easily.Include a QR code next to each speaker’s bio on theprogram to lead participants to their Twitter profile. Includea QR code for your Facebook page on a poster. Shortenthe link with before making it into a QR code so youcan track how many people used the code. Communication Production Services
  14. 14. Create lists.Create Twitter lists and Google circles ofparticipants, speakers, conference boardmembers, and sponsors before the conference.This will make it easy for you to find someone’s Twitterhandle quickly if you want to mention them in a post. Thiswill also help you monitor what is being posted, especiallysince not everyone will remember to use the hashtag. Communication Production Services
  15. 15. Follow up.Augment the experience: continue sharing andconnecting.After the conference, your social media efforts can continueto augment the experience. Track all the tweets that usedthe hashtag and create a transcript for the participants.Create a storify from all the photos, posts, links, andquestions people shared during the conference. Follow upwith participants and invite them to join the LinkedIn orFacebook group. Communication Production Services
  16. 16. Contact• Twitter: @hatchsteph• Email for advising:• Read the blog:• Instagram: MITpics• Linkedin: Communication Production Services