Conferences and Social Media

The Art of Relationships in Real Time

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Posted: Oct 6, 2014

Somehow we’re already well into fall, and do you know what that means? Conference season!

Conferences are more than just a great way to absorb information, learn from leading experts, and have an excuse to enjoy room service for a night. They also provide valuable opportunities to build your professional network, so you have peers to lean on throughout the year.

We put together some of our favorite “conference must dos” to share and learn, together.  

First, you should consider joining Twitter before you see that first keynote, because Twitter is hands-down the best tool for sharing in real-time. Get your Twitter app downloaded, load up Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to start tracking the hashtag, and get your notebook ready.

Now onto the handy tips!

Use the hashtag. 

The hashtag will be the consistent place where people will be sharing. In the two weeks leading up to your conference, visit the conference website and locate the event hashtag while you’re figuring out your conference plan of attack. Follow along in the weeks leading up to the event to see how people are sharing and who’s active.  

Let people know you’re at the event. 

When you arrive at the conference, share something like, “Can’t wait to dig into another inspirational #Conference14! Going to be a great few days of sharing and learning.” You could also tag people who you’re particularly interested in seeing—for example, “Looking forward to seeing @NAME talk about “NAME OF PANEL. #Conference14”  

Share a photo. 

If possible, share some photos of the event. That helps people imagine the setting—and we all know people just like photos. Maybe you can take a selfie with someone you met at the conference or someone you know giving a panel. 

Quote “a-Ha” moments. 

The best way to introduce yourself is to share those moments that make you light up. Did someone say something that has your head nodding? Catch yourself in the moment and share that thought. Be sure to use the handle of the speaker so they know you appreciated their work. They might share it themselves or start a conversation with you.

Follow the hashtag.

Not sure about how to structure your thoughts into tweets? Follow the hashtag and see what others are sharing. That will give you insight into what’s resonating. Feel free to “retweet” or “favorite" other tweets, too. It’s a nice way to express appreciation or get on someone’s radar. 

Follow people who you want to keep in touch with. 

Twitter has a very low relationship barrier. If you see someone that you’ve wanted to connect with or you want to stay in touch with after the conference, simply follow him or her. Since the network is so open, it’s easy to do and you’re more likely to have success with following than with connecting on LinkedIn or Facebook, if you don’t already know them. 

Don’t over tweet. 

Don’t feel the need to share every little thing. Again, just follow along to understand how frequently others are sharing and use that to inform your pacing. 

Tell people when it’s over. 

When the conference concludes, make sure you post some wrap up thoughts and thanks. It’s a nice way to help the conference leaders know how they did, and also say goodbye to people who you’ve likely been following along with throughout the event. 

Above all else, social is a great jumping off point to connect in-person. Over the course of the conference, don’t forget to put down your device, embrace the moment, and introduce yourself.

If you have plans to be at Design Week Portland, ELGL 2014, ComNet 2014, or the Pacific Northwest Drupal Summit, don’t be shy—stop us and say, “hello!”

Twitter: @kimervin
Kim Ervin is Pyramid’s Senior Social Media Strategist. She develops social media strategies and campaigns which aim to deepen connections between organizations and their communities. When not sharing the ins and outs of social media management, Kim is likely reading and researching ways to change the world on multiple screens. You can connect with her on Twitter @KimErvin.