HOW TO USE TWITTER AT CONFERENCES TO MAKE MORE CONNECTIONS AND JOIN THE CONFERENCE DISCUSSION
So you have gotten the courage up to attend your first conference or maybe your attending a conference with colleagues but want to make new connections. Now it is time to figure out how to connect with others, interact with other delegates and reach out to the conference community.
How does anyone stand out from the crowd in such a busy environment I hear you ask? No, you don’t need flashy clothes, the newest gadgets or the brightest idea. What you do need in a twitter account and teh courage to reach out to other Twitter users. The whole idea of Twitter is to stimulate conversation so it works a dream when you are at a conference.
Twitter will give you the chance to get deserved an undeserved attention, block out the noise and make connections.
Join the tweet machine to get value from your next Conference. Here is how you can use twitter to get the most benefits from your new conference network:
KNOW THE TWITTER LINGO
Conference hashtags are the key to getting involved in the conversation. Oftentimes the conference hashtag that will be used throughout the conference proceedings will be announced at the beginning of the conference in the first session or the organisers will make sure that it features in the conference programme. Don’t be afraid to ask at registration or interact with other delegates at the welcome reception to ask them what hashtags they are using. During the conference simply type the hashtag into the Twitter search box to listen into the online discussions #getinvolved
140 characters Make the most of short sentences using calls to action, quotes and visual content.
Twitter handles and lists Search and create twitter lists of conference speakers and delegates
LISTEN TO THE CONVERSATION
The art of listening is still as powerful online as it is offline. Use twitter to keep on track of all the latest discussions, opinions and topics of interest to delegates attending the conference. By listening before engaging you allow yourself to become familiar with new areas of debate. It also gives you some time to form a viewpoint and develop an argument before meeting delegates or getting involved in the discussion.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
Only join the discussion if you are contributing something relevant. Tweets will go unnoticed or worse get negative responses if they intereupt the flow of conversation or conference session with unrelated information, links or images. Here are some ways that you could join the conference conversation:
Ask a question
To start a discussion you can reflect on a talk from a keynote speaker and ask a question relating to the topic. This is a great way to engage with other delegates.
When you are scrolling through your Twitter feed you will find interesting content that others may find useful or interesting. Don’t pass this content out, interact with it: share it, like it or retweet it to show the twitter user you care. Start to build those valuable relationships.
When you are tweeting use facts and stats! Numbers catch our eyes more than words when we are scanning online. Also, facts are useful and can be used in future research. Give the other twitter users something to grab on to.
Everyone loves a good quote. It is even better if you can quote someone saying something from the conference that will make sense to the whole group of twitter users using the conference hashtags. This should help to build up your likes and profile.
It is always worth remembering that people today are bombarded with information and a lot of the social media posts that people scroll through is unrelated to their field of study, research or work. When you are attending a conference you have the chance to capture and repurpose advice, tips and facts.
Use your twitter profile to provide the most useful information for your audience and you will see increased engagement.
Most people attending a conference for the first time will also be travelling to the venue for the first time. You can use twitter to give travel tips and receive travel advice from other delegates. Some travel specific topics to think about include: the weather, accommodation surrounding the venue, great places to eat, nearby attractions and transportation links.
CONCLUDE THE CONVERSATION & SAY THANK YOU
On the last day of the conference make sure to tweet a thank you to any twitter users who were following your posts. You can also add some contact information if you wish to continue the conversation offline.
If you have some twitter tips for conference attendees we would love to add them to our advice above.