Social media mistakes made by conference organisers (part 2)

Groups of people at conference function

I know you were all clinging to your computer for the next installment of this blog like it was Game of Thrones day, but the wait is over.

(If you need to catch up, Part 1 is here)

Now where were we? Oh, that’s right …

Not looking after your speakers

Providing speakers with instructions on social media in the conference invitation / kit is vital. Make sure you ask if they are on social media and promote them on your profile, particularly if they are not being paid to appear. Promote their institution or organisation and be generous in thanking them publicly. If they are on social media make sure they know your handle and your key hashtags.

Your speakers are your best marketing asset.

The conference speaker kit should also caution speakers to make it very clear at the start of their presentation to indicate if they do not want the audience to post information to social media. If speakers say nothing, it is assumed that all of the information they present, including taking pictures of slides, is acceptable.

WiFi restrictions

If you deliberately want to block people from posting information during the conference to social media, make it clear in your marketing material.

Don’t let people buy a ticket, turn up to then find out there is no Wi-Fi or the venue is blocked. Social media savvy delegates will be furious and the backlash on social media can be very harsh, potentially damaging your speakers’ reputations and yours.

It also means that you will not get the benefit a social audience brings to an event in gaining followers and improving your influence on social media.

Speakers who are big users of social media also need to know if you are selecting a poorly connected or blocked venue –this significant reduces the value to them in limiting their exposure and influence. Check Wi-Fi speed and bandwidth before booking a venue.

Not promoting the official conference hashtag at the meeting

The hashtag and the conference social media profiles need to be on every item of conference material:

• Artwork for posters and adverts
• Delegate handbook (make it a full page)
• Tables at the conference dinner
• Delegate name badges or lanyards
• Conference concierge desk and registration desk
• Opening slides of every session
• Opening address

Do I need to go on?

You can’t over promote the official conference hashtag. If you don’t make it obvious, the strongest voices on social media will just make it up for you at the risk of fragmenting the hashtag aggregation and dramatically diluting your conference impact.

To sum up, create a hashtag strategy, activity monitor Facebook and Twitter, look after your speakers and let everyone know how and why to chat away (preferably with WiFi).

Michelle Gallaher

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