How to be Master of the Twitter-verse With Your Conference Strategy This Season
This Conference Strategy is…Different
Fall is here and conference season is ramping up. I know you’ve probably read TONS of other blog posts about how to have a great conference strategy. Some of them have likely included such unhelpful advice as “Make sure you attend the right conferences.” and “Your booth should stand out. Use bright colors!”
My goal with this article is NOT to give you the same, old, bland advice. My goal is to be crisp and specific. My goal is to be different. But you already knew that. Heck, I put a picture of He-Man in my article.
I have attended many conferences over the last decade and have even run a few events myself. While I have a plethora of thoughts about how to make the most out of your conference strategy, today I’m going to focus on three specific ways you can dominate your next conference digitally. In fact, much of what I recommend you can do from the comfort of your own home…or office…or sitting in a hammock. Totally up to you.
Twitter + Conferences = A Match Made in Heaven
Let’s face it. Conferences are a necessary evil. Candidly, I have a love/hate relationship with them. I love getting away from my desk and hearing inspiring keynotes and lectures. I also love connecting with others in my industry and eating free food. But I also hate being away from my family, playing the business card game and having to be “on” all day long. I also find conferences to be super stressful, since I know our growing business has invested precious time and resources to send me there. I really want to make the most of it.
Simply put, I know that conferences can be super meaningful to my business, but they are also expensive, exhausting and disruptive. So when I go I want it to seriously pay off (and with as little effort as possible). The easiest way that I’ve found to do that is on Twitter.
Ever notice how people at conferences LOVE to tweet? It’s like a disease and honestly…I’m no exception. During a normal day I might send one tweet. At conferences, I pound away at the Twitter iPhone app with reckless abandon, with every favorite or retweet I receive feeding my addiction.
A core pillar of my personal conference strategy is to be a meaningful, non-annoying part of the Twitter conversation. In the rest of this post I’ll lay out three actionable Twitter strategies that have worked best for me over the past year.
In all of these recommendations I’ll cite real examples from Heyo’s involvement in Agents of Change 2014. Agents of Change (AOC) is a one-day conference in Portland, Maine focused on search, social and mobile that attracts several hundred marketers and entrepreneurs. It’s put on by Rich Brooks of Flyte New Media. We’ve been involved for two years now and really enjoy it.
STRATEGY 1 – Scheduled Tweets
While you can’t avoid tweeting live from the event (more on that later), you’ll also want to maximize your in-person time to network with other entrepreneurs and look out for potential business relationships. For this reason I recommend scheduling as many tweets as possible ahead of time. These could be tweets announcing your involvement, messaging different parts of the agenda, or communicating directly with speakers. Regardless, you’ll want to make sure you learn the conference hashtag and include it in every tweet you schedule. (The conference hashtag for Agents of Change 2014 was “#aoc2014”)
For AOC we scheduled as many tweets as possible ahead of time. We even timed some to go live during different keynotes or topics. This example of one of our scheduled tweets was viewed by over 1,000 people and was clicked 10 times.
(NOTE: For a list of the tools we use to help with our conference strategy, scroll to the bottom of this article.)
STRATEGY 2 – Live Tweets
You can schedule as many tweets as possible ahead of time, but the best engagement you get will almost always come from tweeting about things that happen in the moment. I always enjoy learning new principles or hearing inspiring quotes taught at these events, so I like to share these visually. People love them and they get a lot of clicks and retweets. For instance, here’s another example from AOC. It’s a smart quote by our good friend John Lee Dumas over at Entrepreneur on Fire.
I heard this quote and loved it. So I tweeted out the quote as an image. Over 2,000 people saw it and 45 people engaged with it (clicked, retweeted, etc). Remember, the best social media content is targeted and timely, so these types of tweets hit the sweet spot for your conference strategy. Remember to have your laptop of phone out while you’re listening to that next keynote so you can be an active part of the Twitter conversation.
STRATEGY 3 – Twitter Ads
If you’re not afraid to invest a little bit of cash, you can post an ad on Twitter during the event. While I feel that the organic strategies I’ve already mentioned are truly the backbone of your Twitter strategy at conferences, ads (especially Promoted Tweets) are a great way to allow those more curious attendees to check out your business right away. After all, you’ve already made the investment to generate more awareness. Why not capitalize on it immediately while your brand is top of mind?
For instance, during AOC we created a promoted tweet that ran anytime someone searched for #aoc2014. Since AOC was a one day conference, we ran the ad during the day of the conference as well as the day after. Here’s a snapshot of how it performed for us.
Our main goal with this ad was to lead the Twitter conversation and build awareness for our products and services. However, for just under $77 Heyo garnered over 10K impressions and 34 clicks. That cost us a reasonable $7.25 CPM and $2.26 CPC.
Tools for Your Conference Strategy
I honestly think that we can overdo it when we look for tools. In theory, they can make your life easier. But they can also be a massive distraction. So I try to ONLY use a tool when it’s essential and will save me gobs of time. Here’s a quick list of digital tools that I’ve used to help with these Twitter strategies.
Twitter Ad Platform
I’m always testing new ideas when it comes to how we can market the Heyo brand at conferences, but these these three tactics have helped us to have a much stronger digital presence. I’ve found that doing so leads to much stronger awareness with event participants and also makes the inevitable networking much more effective.
I’d love to hear from you. Have you tried any of these strategies before? Or have other tactics worked better for you at conferences? Drop a comment below!