Conferences 101: Preparing to Represent Your Brand’s Social Media Efforts

You’ve been selected to represent your brand at an upcoming marketing conference and aren’t sure where to start? The good news is that preparing in advance isn’t too difficult and the steps are the same regardless of whether or not you’re a speaker, a panelist or an attendee. Just ask yourself these three questions.

  • What does success look like for you at this conference?
  • What do you have to offer the people you speak with at this conference?
  • How will you know if you’re successful?

CONFERENCE SUCCESS

Starting with the end in mind is always the way to approach conferences. There are several common goals that might resonate depending on your unique circumstances.

  • Do you want to meet people who may help you with your next social strategy?
  • Do you want to be seen as a thought leader in digital marketing?
  • Do you want your brand to be seen as innovative? Disciplined? Strategic?
  • Do you want to gather new ideas to bring back to your team?
  • Are you struggling with a particular component of your strategy and looking for other brands to brainstorm with?

As you can imagine, how you’re going to approach the conference will vary significantly depending on which goal you want to conquer.

A few conferences you may want to try include Social Fresh, Content Marketing World, Brand Innovators events and Social Shake-Up.

 OFFER OTHERS

Now that you’ve thought about what you want from the conference, you also have to think about what you can offer other attendees of the conference. Givers often get the most in return. But to give effectively, you need context and detail. Be prepared to discuss:

  • What’s the main problem you’ve been trying to improve upon?
  • What’s unique about your organization, your sales channels or your industry?
    • This may narrow the relevance of your strategy, but you should think about how you can apply what you’re doing to others.
  • How do you measure success?
  • What worked well in your strategies? What didn’t work well?
    • Too often, people only want to talk about the positive side of things, but we can learn as much by what didn’t work out and how you reacted to it. This is particularly true if you want to be a thought leader, as experienced digital marketers know that not everything works.
  • Which area of social media or digital marketing are you particularly expert in? You can likely help others trying to learn more in that area.

MEASURING SUCCESS

Before you head out, armed with your goals, your business cards and what you can offer others, the last thing you should think about is how you’ll know if your conference adventure was successful.

One success measurement I’ll dissuade you from is collecting a pile of business cards. Typically this goal leads to surface exchanges, awkward requests for cards and contact information that isn’t worth anything to you because you haven’t connected in any meaningful way.

While there are lots of people at the conference, you’re unlikely to walk away with stacks of anything of value. You won’t get stacks of new business leads, stacks of new strategies that work for you, stacks of new friendships or stacks of new speaking opportunities. But if you can walk away with one or two really good ones (in any of those categories), your conference experience will likely have been worth it.

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