Maximize Social Media Presence At Conferences

Good morning, internet fans. It’s Ryan Perry with Simple Biz Support. I have Sarah Giometti with Provaro Marketing on the other end. Today is Wednesday, March 4th. Hard to believe we’re already rolling into March. I do need to do a special shout-out to my sister, Randi, whose birthday it is today, but we should really talk about Sarah and Sarah, we don’t have fish behind you today, and we don’t have the normal office look. Where are you?

Sarah Giometti: I’m actually at GDC down in San Francisco today.

RP: Alright, GDC. It sounds like a construction company.

SG: Nope, it is the Game Developers Conference.

RP: Okay, very cool. Well, that’s kind of interesting because we’re actually going to talk about maximizing your social media presence when at a conference and so, you’ve actually got a couple of tips and we wanted to talk about it from the business owner’s point of view because a lot of business owners go to events. They go to conferences, trade shows, wherever. And the idea is to get as much exposure for your business while you’re there, and I think social media is one of those areas that often gets overlooked and so, you’ve got some tips and tricks for people on how they can improve their visibility while at those events.

SG: I do, I do. So I’m here today. I’m actually not here for me. I will promote myself that I’m here, but I’m here with one of my clients AppResource.Direct. They are a resource directory for app developers and the companies that serve them. So I’m here helping them promote their social media and increase their brand while attending these events. This is something that is really, really important for companies. Most business owners usually attend at least a conference every one, two years, maybe more than that, that you want to make sure that you’re participating in the live culture that’s going on.

SG: A lot of times at events like these, at least in the world that I live in, I attend a lot of tech-heavy events, that Twitter is a really big piece of the live component online. And so, you want to make sure that you are participating in the conversations, that you’re using the event hashtags, the same ones other people are using. So, as people are reading the newsfeed that is appropriate to that hashtag or of just that hashtag that you’re showing up, and that you’re part of the conversation, you’re tweeting out good information, you’re responding to other people tweeting. So you really want to be engaged in the online piece of attending a conference because one, it shows that you’re, one, you’re engaged, you’re modern and social, but it really expands your exposure while online and while at the conference.

SG: I’ve met people at the conference. We’ve arranged on Twitter how to meet somewhere at the conference at a certain keynote address or a session so you can meet people that way too, because you go to a conference to learn but you can also go with an agenda to meet people or accomplish certain tasks.

RP: Okay. And just to clarify, when you say that you’re going Twitter… Twitter because it’s quick, it’s simple, it’s fast, people are typically using Twitter to communicate and we’re using hashtags to follow what’s going on at that event. So at GDC, I’m assuming one of the hashtags might be “GDC”. As you’re looking for your feed or you’re searching the #GDC, you could find what other people are talking about you might be interested in. Now, if you’re a vendor at GDC, as an example, you want to create your own buzz. Why do you want to be wrapped in with GDC? Why not create Simple Biz Support? I’ll hashtag SBS and promote my own brand.

SG: Because people at the event aren’t going to be looking for that, so you can do both hashtags so you can kinda get exposure for that hashtag that you’re trying to get a buzz for, but since people at the event already have the buzz going for the event. So here, there’s two primary hashtags. There’s #GDC15 and #GDC2015. Those are the two biggest ones that we’re seeing being used here and people are going to search by hashtag, so that’s why just using your own and not mentioning the event, you’re not going to show up in the event feed and you’re not going to get noticed. So you want to make sure you’re got the event hashtag in addition to any other hashtag you may want to get exposure for.

RP: Okay, perfect. And then, you mentioned you’re actually there? You’re not there for Provaro Marketing, but you’re actually providing internet or social media support for a client. What are some of the things that you’re doing for that client today in order to promote their presence in order to draw curiosity and a crowd to their booth?

SG: So, leading up to the event, we put out a lot of content that was related to the event. We followed who the speakers are and we tweeted their content, had conversations with them leading up to the event, and then the client has been here for the last two days and they were handling a lot of the onsite stuff. I’m here today to help them with that and what we’re doing is, like today, I’m following around. I’ll be tweeting for them so that they can concentrate on the meetings that they’re having, the people that they’re talking to, and I’ll be handling the social media, taking that off their shoulders for them.

RP: Alright, very nice. And so, in doing that, they’re really able to focus on their business and you’re able to put a marketing spin on it that maybe they wouldn’t be able to do in the first place, I would imagine.

SG: Right, yep. Exactly.

RP: Alright, perfect. So, beyond hashtags, are there any other ways that you can… What about like Foursquare or some of the other social media? Are they really relevant or is it just, simply pretty much expect to be on Twitter when you go to a conference?

SG: Every conference will be different, so it depends on what your industry is or what the conference is. In a place like this where it’s very tech-heavy, Instagram might be a big one, Twitter is definitely blowing up. I’ve been watching it the last fews days and Twitter, with that hashtag, there’s tons and tons of tweets going on. So what you really need to do is see what the event is promoting, where they’re saying, “Hey, play with us on this social media platform,” and see and check the different ones that you are already actively participate in. If you don’t actively participate in… Most conferences have more than one that they have active, going active during the event. So pick the one that you’re already active on and look to see if there’s activity from other attendees on there and participate in a conversation. So it’s not just using the hashtag and putting out your own content, it’s seeing what other people are putting out and responding to them or retweeting them, so again it’s engaging and participating in the conversation on whichever platform is the primary one for the conference that you’re at.

RP: Okay, perfect. And I’m going to ask a really crazy, out of the box, you’re probably not expecting it question. So if you don’t have the answer I’m okay with it, but I’m going to throw you under the bus, I’m going to scare you, I just want to make sure you’re ready for this.

SG: Alright, hit me.

RP: We’re on our mobile device, we’re using Twitter, we’re hashtagging, we’re actually communicating with people. Do people actually meet face to face though?

SG: Yes. I have.

[chuckle] I have met people face to face utilizing that, by having the conversation and we’re conversing back and forth on Twitter, we decide at the end of the day maybe we grab a drink at the end of the event. Especially if you’re out of town for an event, you’re staying there for the night. Obviously, I’m in San Francisco so I’m going home ’cause it’s only an hour drive. But when, say, you’re going to Icon at the end of the month, you’re going to be in Phoenix, you’re not going to be going home at night, you’re going to be staying at a local hotel. So it’s a perfect opportunity as you’re conversing with people throughout the day and participating to say, “Hey let’s grab a drink at the end of the sessions today before dinner”or “Let’s go have dinner”. The last time I was at Icon I was with Robin and we had dinner with random people that we had seen throughout the day, they were sitting in a restaurant and we just joined up and share a table and had dinner together.

RP: Very cool, so it’s really neat that we can take technology and by focusing our conversation and listening to the crowd that’s going on, it’s a great opportunity for networking at that point is what it sounds like. To be able to connect with people, meet up with them, talk to them, converse, out of those relationships you never know what’s going to happen. Especially when you have so many like-minded people together, so I think that’s great. And you mentioned Icon, unfortunately you weren’t able to go last year, but the really cool thing about Icon was they actually created their own App that you downloaded. And so it had all of the schedules, it had the map of the facility, but it also had its own social engagement part of it also, all contained within its own application. So you had that to use, and then of course Twitter was heavily used also, which I thought was really cool.

SG: Yeah, they had that when I went two years ago and that was the first year they’ve had it, so I’m sure it was way better last year and it’ll be even better this year. So you can communicate within the app, but you can also communicate in Twitter and talk to people back and forth. And absolutely networking ’cause you’re at a conference, you’re full of like-minded people and you’re going to… and it’s a great place to network and meet other people that are within your industry, like-minded people, that kind of stuff.

RP: Alright, perfect. Well I have to say we’re getting close on time. I’m sure you’re very busy and I know you’re in a whatever they call it, a paddock or something, you’re not actually in jail, but I’m impressed with the bandwidth there. You get so many people a lot of times the bandwidth is really poor so bandwidth has come through really good, but unless you have any departing words, I think that ties it up.

SG: Nope, I don’t. I think that’s about it, I saw my clients just walked out the door so I probably should go join them and do my job.

RP: Alright, wonderful Sarah, so if you’re looking to convert more at a conference, especially if you’re a vendor, you’ve got a booth, social media, typically Twitter is going to be the way to go, but there are, depending on the event, there may be other social platforms to look into, and definitely make sure you’re use that hashtag, and use the hashtag that everybody’s using so that you can be found. Alright, with that I’m going to let you go and we will see you next week.

SG: Great, thanks so much Ryan.

RP: Alright, have fun today.

SG: Thanks, you too.

RP: Bye.

SG: Bye.


About the Author:

Ryan Perry is the founder and CEO of Simple Biz Support, Inc. Ryan started video blogging in 2009 as an alternative to written blogs to create visibility and credibility online. During the workweek, he enjoys helping small business owners harness the power of video to grow their companies. On the weekends, he enjoys hiking and searching out waterfalls throughout the state of California.

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