There are many ways to use social media for your next event. Here are just a few to consider. Add your ideas in the comments area.
1. Identify a hashtag for your conference.
A hashtag is a key word or abbreviation preceded by the hash or number symbol such as #EC10. Hashtags are adopted by event organizers to encourage conference participants to use in their tweets. Hashtags were created as a way to search and aggregate information on Twitter. More information on hashtags.
2. Search to see if anyone else is using your hashtag using one of the tools listed below.
If not, list it with these same tools. There is not an official hashtag registration system.
Tagalus – a user-defined dictionary of hashtags.
Define your hashtag by tweeting @Tagalus Define (list your hashtag) as: (definition of hashtag)
- @Tagalus Define #EC10 as EventCamp 2010, an unconference for event professionals.
- Response : @Twitteruser http://tagal.us/tag/EC10
Ask Tagalus if a hashtag is currently defined or being used.
- @Tagalus Define #EC10
- Response: @Twitteruser EC10 = EventCamp 2010, an unconference for event professionals according to CC
Twubs – uses a wiki system to disseminate information on a hashtag. It has a special conference solution that creates a conference hub of all things related to your event: content tags, members and contributors, photos, related websites, RSS feeds, Tweetups and event schedules, and videos.
It is currently free while in Beta.
What The Hashtag – a user-editable encyclopedia for hashtags found on Twitter. Sign up for an account and register a hashtag. WTHashtag provides great analytics to track the past seven days’ use of hashtag, top contributors, number of RTs, percentage of tweets from top contributors, etc. Users can also print a transcript of tweets mentioning a hashtag from a specific time period. Great for note taking.
3. Use the same abbreviation and hash symbol for Flickr photos and YouTube videos.
Ask attendees to tag their personal photos and videos and upload them to your Flickr and YouTube conference pages.
4. Promote the Twitter hashtag and Flickr, YouTube tags early and often.
Include it on all marketing material and event communications.
5. Create a YouTube Conference page for videos created by staff and attendees.
Market early and often.
6. Hold pre-conference social media contests and provide free registration, lodging and travel to winners.
Ask potential attendees to write a blog post, tweet a special code and or create a YouTube videos on why they want to attend the event.
7. Create a Facebook Conference Page.
Tips for creating a great conference Facebook page. The difference between Facebook Groups and Facebook Pages for your nonprofit or conference. 12 Steps To Creating A Bootylicious Facebook Page.
8. Create special short videos about conference speaker and location and upload to your conference YouTube page.
Embed these videos on your Facebook Conference Page, your conference Website and distribute via your email and social media marketing pages. Use Animoto to create slick videos using pictures and text.
10. Create a Twitter list of all your conference speakers that attendees can follow.
How to use and create Twitter lists post by Mashable.
11. Provide a website widget of the Twitter hashtag that users can post on blogs, personal pages and websites.
Make a widget using TwitterFall, TwitterFountain, TweetGrid or Widgetbox.
12. Create a conference speaker hub that aggregates RSS feeds of each speaker’s blog posts.
Many conference eCommunitites solutions have this feature built into their program for your conference Twitter feed, Facebook page and blog posts. If you are not using a conference eCommunity, consider iGoogle, Netvibes, Nomee, Pagecasts (a public version of Pageflakes), Twubs, Wakooz or other aggregator.
13. Create a conference hub that aggregates all online information about your conference including a Twitter hashtag, Facebook page, conference and speaker blog posts, Flickr tagged photos, YouTube conference video page and more. Twubs provides a great conference solution for this or use one of the free features like iGoogle, Netvibes, Nomee, Pagecasts (a public version of Pageflakes), Wakooz or other aggregator.
14. Create a LinkedIn Event and invite people to link it to their LinkedIn profile.
How to use LinkedIn Events.
15. Create a Facebook Event to invite your organization page followers
16. Create several conference badges that are hyperlinked to the conference website.
Badges can be placed on personal Facebook profiles and blogs. Badges can say things like I’m attending event x or I’m speaking at event x.
17. Use a conference eCommunity.
Tips on how to choose a conference eCommunity. Several conference eCommunity options to consider.
18. Set Google and Twitter alerts for the conference hashtag and name.
Monitor and listen to what others are saying about your conference. Respond as needed.
19. Secure part of the general session room for a bloggers and Twitter hub.
Tips on how to create a successful Bloggers and Twitter hub.
20. Invite specific industry influential bloggers to attend and provide free registration to them.
Contract with them to provide live blogging and tweeting in exchange for free conference registration.
21. Create a daily electronic conference paper using Twitter hashtag at http://paper.li/.
Promote the paper daily via email, Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter.
22. Create a Conference Slideshare page and post speaker PPTs there.
23. When booking speakers, include a pre-conference Webinar, blog post, eNews article, Blogtalk Radio interview along with the face-to-face presentation in their contract.
This will extend the conference learning experience as well as market content and speakers to potential attendees.
24. Make the conference a hybrid event and live stream general sessions to those who could not attend the face-to-face experience.
25. Use social media press releases.
Tips on creating social media press release.
What are some other ways to use social media for your event that you would you add to the list?
Devin Sizemore says
This is a great process to follow when creating, promoting and running an event. Thank you for providing so many tips. Depending on the size of the event you may not want to use all of them, but you have provided a lot of tips to choose from. I definitely agree that the Twitter #hashtag creation is important. I do have a question though. As far as I know there is no way to create an event on your business’ Fan Page and invite the “fans” of that page. How do you recommend getting around this?
It’s incredible how much twitter has changed things in no time at all, really. It’s quickly become the first port of call when it comes to promoting a new event.
Jeff Hurt says
Thanks for reading and commenting. I like your statment that Twitter has become the first port of call when it comes to promoting a new event. Nice analogy!
Shawny Burns says
I heard you speak at Event Solutions in Vegas and was inspired!
Alexis van Dam says
As added value to an great event, I would suggest livemindmapping of keynotes or presentations. Participants can directly view topics presented/ discussed on a screen. People are more likely to be involved in the matter and ask questions. These mindmaps are of great value when the event is over. These mindmaps embody the real insights, examples and Q&A´s from the presentation. LiveMindMappers from Connection of Minds have facilitated for examples TEDxAmsterdam, TEDxRotterdam and numerous other events. MindMaps have also been created next to a twitter editor. This combination works out very well.
How to you control who can contribute tweets to a meeting? What if every restaurant, bar and sightseeing company in the city wants to tweet out specials to delegates? A few tweets might be welcome, hundreds of tweets soliciting businesses would be a challenge.
Jeff Hurt says
Good question and here’s the short answer. You can’t control it and actually, that’s a good thing. I’ve found that most audiences police the tweets and if solicitations come through, the crowd takes care of it. I’ve been using twitter for meetings since 2007 and never had that happen. Some exhibitors may put tweets into the stream but if they overdo it, they get a backlash from the audience. Plus, I really doubt that a business would target a conference sending hundreds of tweets. It’s a waste of their time.
Chris Tompkins says
Great article! I think the one thing that still surprises me to this day is that conferences need to be reminded to assign an official hashtag for their event….and promote it! We promote our clients presence at conferences all the time, and it still makes me shake my head when we have to get the hashtag created for the conference itself. In this social media heavy climate, conferences really need to wake up to the power of social.
Jeff Hurt says
So true, so true. Thanks for reminding us how important that hashtag is…especially since Twitter, Flickr and Instagram all use them too. Thanks for reading as well.
Great article! — My question for you is what do we do after the event? My company recently used a Twitter account for an event we hosted. The account was named after the event w/ the year (so essentially it was for a one time use). Now that the event has come and gone we were wondering what the best practice was for the account. Do we rebrand it for another event, close it down or continue to tweet? I would appreciate any feedback! Thanks 🙂
Jeff Hurt says
I suggest keeping the Twitter account and changing the name for next year’s event. If you’re not hosting the event next year, then change it to something that attracts the target market and still deals with the industry. That way you can continue to converse about topics specific to that audience.
Thanks for reading, commenting and reaching out too!
Craig Hadden (@RemotePoss) says
This seems like a very comprehensive list, so thanks for sharing.
What’s your opinion on whether to put a hashtag, logo, or Twitter handle on every slide? Would love to have you join this discussion about that: