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6 Strategies to Make Your A/E/C Industry Conference Experience "Social"
- Blog it. After the conference is over, it’s time to pack it up until next year, right? Wrong! It’s time to blog! Use your experience as an opportunity to blog about the event. The whole reason that we even go to tradeshows and conferences is to learn and connect, but why keep this knowledge to yourself? Take a few moments after the event to reflect on what you’ve learned and compile it into a blog post. If you found an interesting takeaway, chances are your clients and prospects will want to hear about it too. Or consider expanding on a topic that was presented at the tradeshow that is new or unfamiliar and share your opinion or experience on the subject. If you are sponsoring or exhibiting, you might consider reaching out to the host to see if they will allow your firm to contribute a guest blog post either before or after the event.
- Use the social media "trifecta." Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn that is. Be sure to use these social media tools to let your followers, friends and connections know you will be attending the event in advance. For Twitter, be sure to identify the official hashtag of the event ahead of time and use it in any applicable tweets. It’s also key to monitor what others are saying about the event using the search options within each network to monitor key words and phrases related to the event and to respond to mentions. Finally, in addition to gathering the standard lead info (name, company, title, email) ask prospects if they or their firm have social media profiles – then follow and interact with them. Engage with the people you meet by connecting with them on LinkedIn, following them on Twitter, or inviting them to like your firm’s Facebook Page.
- Snap and share photos. When you are not busy learning and networking, use tradeshows as an opportunity to snap lots of pictures to showcase your firm’s personality (not to mention your booth if you are exhibiting!). People naturally love photos, especially on sites like Facebook and Google+ which offer some of the best platforms for photo-sharing. Plus, adding photos to your company’s Google+ page will help boost your search rankings. Often a conferences or trade show will have its own official Facebook page or designated place to submit photos. In this case, the host may create photo albums with shots submitted by attendees and use it to promote future sessions.
- Arrange an interview. As much as conferences are a place to sell your company and its services, they are also a place to learn. Plan ahead and look at the roster of keynote speakers, topics and even attendees. Think about who you’d love to learn more from and reach out to them to see if they might consider participating in a brief interview the day of the trade show. If so, follow tip #5 and capture it on video. Or if you simply take notes you can share the interview (or video) within your blog. Be sure to promote the interview on social media. You can even glean and share quick "tweetable" tips from these kinds of interviews with industry experts.
- Capture video. Whether you’re an attendee or your firm has its own booth, video is a great way to integrate your conference experience with social media. Short videos are a great way for your colleagues and prospects to view and easily digest information, so consider bringing your flip cam or simply use your smartphone to capture video clips from your next conference. Some ideas to consider are filming a brief interview with one of your employees sharing what they gained from the event, footage of a particularly interesting speaker, or if you are exhibiting consider capturing some quick video of the activity at your booth. This should give you some great content for your YouTube channel. Be sure to share on social media, or embed in a future blog post.
- Work your location with check-ins. If you are exhibiting, encourage attendees to check in at your booth using Foursquare or other location-based social networks. While some of these networks are often overlooked in the A/E/C space, they are great for tradeshows since they focus on, you guessed it, location! When attendees check in at your booth, it provides an endorsement for your company and also helps spread the word to other attendees. Be sure to offer a reward either in person at your booth or online through your social networks to entice attendees to check-in.