SOCIAL MEDIA DURING CONFERENCES – FRIEND OR FOE?
Social media is an invaluable tool for event professionals, helping us to create a buzz, boost our audience, broadcast our message far and wide and keep in touch with delegates and interested parties – what on earth did we do before this indispensable Fairy Godmother came along?
From Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat to Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ and Flicker, the impact social media has on our lives today is indisputable. So what is the social media etiquette at events and conferences? And how much engagement is too much?
Since its infancy, our use of social media and how tolerant we are of its use in meetings, at social gatherings and at work has evolved dramatically.
These days you are unlikely to be judged harshly for using your phone to keep tabs on key social media happenings during work time, since it is likely social media use is a key part of your role.
Similarly, event organisers and delegates will tap into the powers of social media before, during and after their event to promote it, to grow, engage and evaluate their audiences, to boost registration, and to alert delegates to any last minute changes in the programme.
Your attendees will be checking in on social media to learn about your event, to tell people they are at your conference – and hopefully to post lots of positive pictures and comments – and to support their own networking activities while they are there.
Of course, after the last plate has been cleared away and the pop-up stands have been taken down, event organisers will continue to amplify the buzz of their big day via social media. And social media will, no doubt, be included in assessing how well it all went.
It can also help you nurture those fledgling relationships you have formed with attendees and speakers and the feedback you gather via social media can help you improve your future events.
Surrendering all of our traditional human interactions to social media would, of course, be folly. Listening, making eye-contact, talking and really ‘being there’ is an irreplaceable part of effective communication. But social media? As event organisers, let’s continue to embrace it and its many advantages.