You’ve registered for the conference and booked your hotel. Your flight is booked. Maybe you reviewed the attendee lists and identified your prospects. Perhaps you even reached out and scheduled some business development meetings before departing for the conference. Bully for you. That is a successful return on your organization’s investment. Or is it?
You see, most people fail to take full advantage of their conference attendance. Sure, the above looks great. But if those business development meetings fail you will end up with an expensive boondoggle on your hands.
Conferences are about more than landing a single business meeting or networking at the event. Conferences are about seeing and being seen — at and beyond the event.
Below are three considerations you should factor into gauging the return on your conference attendance investment:
- Live Social Media Posts. Social media posting at conferences helps to get you noticed — by attending journalists, by business prospects and sometimes even potential employers. If you want to be seen as someone with their finger on the pulse of industry trends and developments — as someone who can solve problems and leverage opportunities — posting to social media during conferences helps. This includes using the dreaded-but-necessary selfie and use of appropriate industry and conference hashtags.
- Ideas for posts include: a picture of and quote from a speaker on the stage, a 15-second video of you talking about a highlight of the conference, promoting an upcoming presentation with a sentence about why you think it’s important, a photo of yourself with one of the speakers afterward noting something of import they focused on or said, etc.
- Blogs & LinkedIn Articles. A thoughtful and succinct article for your company blog or LinkedIn page about the conference allows you to highlight event content while also shining a light on your expertise, perspective and sometimes even leadership on a topic. With correct tagging and backlinks, you can also use the marketing power of the conference’s coattails to drive your message. Next day is preferable; within a week is the limit for posting content after the conference.
- Media Interviews. Bigger conferences typically have media in attendance. This can be one of the most productive uses of your time. If you have a perspective or opinion that fits within the theme or topic of the conference, get yourself interviewed. At a minimum, set up a 15-minute meet-and-greet with attending journalists to tell them a little about your organization (3 minutes or less) and what you can offer in terms of insights and opinions as a potential source. Work with your in-house communications team or external public relations agency to do what they do best: putting you together with media and get you prepped for those interviews or background conversations.
While the above may seem extra, the results of leveraging them appropriately can be extraordinary in marketing yourself and your organization. All have post-event marketing uses and can be used several times over, post-conference, to demonstrate your industry leadership … as well as maximizing your organization’s conference budget investments.