Checklist: Create a Stellar Social Strategy for User Conferences

If you work in social media, particularly in the enterprise B2B space, you already know that the social landscape is dotted with dozens of tech and user conferences throughout the year. We’re all familiar with the giant ones: Oracle Open World, Dreamforce, SAPPHIRE NOW, Strata Hadoop… What they all share is a comprehensive social media strategy months in the planning.

If you’re stepping into a role where you need to create a social strategy for your company’s user conference, use the checklist below to get started.

The main goal for promoting leading up to the event is to drive registrations, generate buzz and get your audience excited about attending the event.

  • Create a great hashtag: Keep it short and sweet so it doesn’t take up too many characters. Make sure it’s branded to reflect the company or event name, and so that attendees can remember it easily. Great examples of event hashtags: #OOW16 for Oracle Open World 2016, #Dreamforce16 for Dreamforce 2016.
  • Integrate on the website: Make sure social icons are featured on the event website. Include “Click to Tweet” links next to top sessions and include speaker Twitter handles in their bios.
  • Influencer amplification: Pull together a list of social influencers in your network, whether they’re executives from your own company, analysts, media, or other parties. Draft social copy (2-3 posts) and send it to them every other week to help amplify your content.
  • Social promotion: Post regularly about the event, with increasing frequency as the event approaches. Highlight key speakers, top sessions, major events, and discount codes, all pointing back to the website.
  • Promote high-quality content: Make sure you’re promoting more than just the website. Include blog content highlighting event themes, video and sharable graphics featuring top speakers.
  • Social Listening: Monitor hashtag usage & retweet positive sentiment leading up to the event.
  • Paid Social: Budget permitting, launch paid campaigns on LinkedIn (InMail, sponsored updates), Twitter (Twitter cards, promoted posts), and YouTube (Annotations, InDisplay). Make sure to use tracking links to measure the amount social media is contributing to registration numbers.

During The Event

The goal at this point is to take the physical experience and extend it into the digital space. The idea is to have a consistent presence at the conference on your social channels without drowning out your audience by posting too much.

  • Live tweeting: Provide a steady stream of live updates using the hashtag, posting sharable soundbites and to promote awareness about key events like opening receptions and networking luncheons. To lessen the burden during the event, pre-schedule posts around key sessions during the event.
  • Live displays: Adding displays and monitors showing live feeds of social activity encourage users to live tweet and participate in social campaigns.
  • Social listening: Monitoring social activity during the event is a key activity. Make sure you’re listening to your audience, responding to questions, flagging negative commentary and reposting content from top influencers.

Post Event

Post-event is all about metrics: hard numbers, feedback, and sentiment. Make sure you’re delivering your report to management in a way they can truly understand your successes.

  • Hashtag tracking: How many times did your audience post using the event hashtag? This is an important metric designed to measure the volume of activity around your event
  • Standard metrics: Don’t forget to include the standard metrics your team typically includes in a report: clicks, engagement, reach, engagement rate, interaction rate. If you have access to numbers from the year before, definitely include percent increase or decrease for each metric to better contextualize the numbers
  • Sentiment analysis: Pick out the top posts around major aspects of your event: keynotes, roundtables, opening receptions, etc. Pull out positive and negative commentary so that those reading the report get more than just a bunch of numbers- they’ll be able to see the human element social media brings to the table

Have questions or items to add to the list? Put them in the comments below or Tweet me @tnatzke!