During the last month I have been engaged by two healthcare organisations to work on their conferences to increase online audience participation and engagement. Here are a just a few of my key takeaways broken into the three key phases of the event:
1.Social Media Pre Conference Engagement
Engaging with your audience needs to start far before the conference.
Start following those that may be interested in attending and listen to what their key interests are.
Set a hashtag and if it is healthcare related be sure to register it with Symplur a health hashtag site. The site allows you to not only register the conference for further publicity but it also helps you collate metrics at the end of the conference by aggregating key influencers and top tweets etc.
Advertising – targetted Twitter and LinkedIn advertising is a must. Develop your campaign and target hashtags and other Twitter handles of relevance
Consider Google Adwords
Profile the key speakers from the conference and ensure you have their hashtags collated for easy reference during the live-tweeting part of the day. Preparation for this is key.
Educate those that are attending the conference that Twitter will be a part of the day and for them to get involved. Give them simple instructions to follow
Build momentum for the event with regular tweets, change the banner of your Twitter page and other relevant channels to reinforce the event.
2. Social Media Conference Engagement
During the event live-tweet the proceedings of the day summarising speaker content
Be sure to retweet relevant tweets from the day
Follow those that follow you. You will note on the day that you will increase your following quite substantially
Run Twitter polls during the day typically in the key conference sessions. These are multiple choice and real time so don’t forget to have the results on the screen for those to follow. The polls can be accessed of course by those in the room and those that are following the conference online – it’s a great way to engage those that cannot attend.
Show the Twitter stream on the day. There are a range of free and paid tools such as Twitterfall, Symplur and others that you can use to show the activity. Depending on the level of experience in the room limit the times you show the tweetstream if you believe it will be too distracting – assess your own audiences level of maturity. A digital marketers conference will be different to an industry where social media uptake is less mature.
Take photos, videos , live stream and vox pops of the audience – to ensure your tweetstream is engaging. This content is also ideal for future internal communication newsletters or client newsletters etc
3. Social Media Post Conference Engagement
Don’t forget to thank those in the room and those online for participating!
Showcase some of the user generated content via tools like Storify
Wrap-up the leading content of the day into a blog and distribute it on your social media channels – don’t forget to mention the results from your Twitter polls
Actively participate and engage with your new followers regularly
These are just a few ways that social media can really help to not only engage your audience during the event but help you build a more engaged and relevant following for the future.