4 Twitter Tips to Use at the Next Conference You Attend
Take your networking to the next (virtual) level
Twitter Birds Social Media Leader Crowd by Alan O’Rourke at Audience Stack is licensed under Creative Commons 2.0
A little more than ten years ago, if you went to a conference, participation and networking opportunities were pretty limited. That’s all changed now due to social media, most notably Twitter. With Twitter, conference goers can now have conversations with others in real time, while a session is taking place. Many of these virtual connections then convert over to IRL meetups during the conference.
This new virtual dynamic can be a game changer if you let it. Not only do you get to know your fellow conference attendees a bit better through Twitter conversations, but you can do an immediate face-to-face meetup after a session. I’ve seen these Twitter connections turn into new clients, new job opportunities, and new friends.
Another bonus about utilizing Twitter during a conference? Since your conversation is taking place on a real-time, public platform, you can also establish yourself as a thought leader. Depending on your level of Twitter participation during a conference, the wider net you can cast in terms of networking.
So how does one use Twitter to its greatest potential during a conference? Here are a few tips to get you started.
Follow and use the official conference hashtag
Hashtags help tweets within the conversation get categorized for search purposes. People will search particular conference hashtags regardless if they’re at the actual event or not. I’ve actually participated in a few conferences without ever being an attendee of said conference. Why would I do that? Well, think of it like being a virtual fly on the wall. The information people share while at a conference is sometimes almost as good as being there. I’ve also gotten a hold of a ton of interesting stats, charts, and whitepapers thanks to what people share on Twitter while at a conference.
Note: When using the conference hashtag, or any hashtag for that matter, best practice is to include it at the end of your tweet.
Check out the backchannel conversation
A backchannel conversation is just the name for the online discussion taking place around a particular conference hashtag. A lot of the time, backchannel conversations will correspond with specific talks going on. So while a speaker is presenting, conference goers can exchange ideas and questions, in real-time, to one another using the backchannel.
It is possible to make great networking connections by participating in these conversations. Many times you’ll notice a person ask a great question or make a valid point, which may lead you to want meet that person in real-life afterwards. It goes the other way as well. If you add value to the conversation, people may be seeking YOU out!
Look for quotable quotes
If you want to get noticed on Twitter, the best thing to do is broadcast great “nuggets” of information you hear from speakers. Not everything a speaker says will be gold, but there will be great one liners or pertinent information that really sticks out to you. Chances are if it sticks out to you, it will resonate with others.
When and if you do quote someone on Twitter, don’t forget to give credit where credit is due. While it is oh-so-tempting to leave off the speaker’s name in order to save precious Twitter characters, it’s common courtesy to say where said quote originated from. A good format for quoting someone on Twitter is “[Speaker name] says [interesting statement].” #Hashtaghere. Or it can be a simple as the example below:
If you want to be really awesome, you could always use the speaker’s Twitter handle when attributing. What I’ve typically done is when I’m choosing which tracks or talks to go to, I will Google the speaker’s Twitter handle before even attending. That just makes attributing all that much easier once you’re in a session.
Add a little extra something
If you really want to get your tweets noticed while at a conference, take photos. As humans, we’re naturally drawn to visuals. Not convinced? Here are a few stats that might persuade you.
- Researchers say that colored visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%.
- Visual content is more than 40x more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.
- In terms of Twitter alone, tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than tweets without images.
So what kind of photos should you include in a tweet? Generally speaking, the tweets that get the highest engagement are photos of interesting graphs or great stats being shared by the speaker. Sure, you could always type out that information, but as evidenced above, pictures have more impact. Don’t forget to hashtag your photo when you share so that it doesn’t get lost in the Twittersphere.
Next time you’re at a conference and you want to enhance your networking experience, try out some of the Twitter tips listed above. Hopefully, they’ll empower you to make connections that will either help you or the company you’re with. Just like with most things, the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of your experience as a conference attendee. Good luck!