8 Tips About Social Media at MPI's WEC from an Event Professional Who Hasn't Drank His Coffee Yet.

8 Tips About Social Media at MPI's WEC from an Event Professional Who Hasn't Drank His Coffee Yet.
So you are going to WEC 2012 and you are thinking about giving social media another try. Here are 8 tips to help you get started and get the most return from your experience.

1.) Create a profile and engage BEFORE you get to the event. Seems rather self explanatory but often you see attendees complete their twitter signup at the conference and then wonder why they made zero connections. Every single event creates their own hashtag (#WEC12), LinkedIn group or Facebook event page so search for the applicable group and start engaging anyone of interest there. Most likely they are on there to engage as well, what a perfect non-sales environment to expand your networking circles.

(If you are planning to setup your twitter account for WEC, goto http://www.twitter.com/HillmanEvents and click join. I added the #welcometotwitter hashtag to a list of speakers at WEC - signing up for a new account off of my page will automatically suggest you follow the speakers in that list.)

2.) Save the sales for the floor. Have you ever gone to a wedding and someone starts selling you their can't miss home product? Your response, undoubtedly, is that is not why you are there. The same is true for social media. It not a difficult concept to understand, the purpose of social media is right there in the name. Be Social. I am going to say it a hundred times, the industry doesn't have a RFP crisis, it has a social crisis. The same reason planners avoid networking events is the same behavior sellers exert on social media. Just stop. Get to know a person before jumping to second base, buyers want to be appreciated for more than just a pretty sales contract.

3.) Despite whatever social media guru told you it was a good idea, turn off autoposts and paper.li before going to an event. Nothing is less genuine than seeing an autopost tweet from a person you are talking to appear on your screen, (twice as bad for speakers).

Unless you are actually curating the content everyday and providing comment - paper.li is just a bad tool for twitter spam. There is nothing genuine about being mentioned in an auto-tweeting product. If you want to be a virtual newspaper distributor, put in the time and use products like paper.li. If you are doing it because it is easy, or some guru told you it was a good idea please save attendees the iPad notification and just spam their email account. About as effective.

4.) Stop using Auto-DM. There is nothing genuine or social about an auto direct message telling someone how much you appreciate them following you. So much so, that you set up an auto direct message tool to tell them. (My ultimate favorite is getting an Auto-DM mixed with your sales pitch.) It is the equivalent of me walking up to your exhibit booth telling you how interested I am in you or your product and you responding by taking out your iPhone and playing back a prerecorded .MP3 audio file about how much you appreciate my interest and why I should buy your book.

If you don't have the time to respond individually when people follow you, don't worry about it. They are not following or friending you because you send direct messages back.

5.) Engage at the party you meet them at. So say we are at the MPI Foundation's Big Deal and I say hello, you respond by taking out a business card that just says: "Yeah, I don't like talking at event functions but my Facebook profile is full of things you will like." then you walk away.
Rude? Yeah. So why do so many people I follow on Twitter send me messages asking me to like their Facebook page? Engage on the social media platform people friend you on. You must be doing something right, they found you and wanted to friend you in the first place.

6.) Speakers, social media is not the event guide. At WEC they have the iPhone app, iPad app, daily event magazine, the website, the event email and a miniature WEC guide all of which tell us what time and place your speaking engagement will occur. What they don't tell us is who the speaker really is, what is his/her personality and do we really want to choose their session over so many other quality choices. I am assuming you are on social media intent on getting more attendees to sit in your session (not because you are required by a conference host). Start engaging attendees online on topics their interested in or which they are already talking about.

If you engage attendees they will engage you back, they will look at your profile (which you so wisely included that you are a #WEC12 speaker and includes a bit.ly shortened link to your session. ) They will remember you, talk you up to their friends and yes also attend your session. All achieved without you once soliciting people to attend your session.

7.) If someone sends a public post/tweet out, it is ok to reply. Twitter, Facebook, Linked-In all have private message functionality. Google and Facebook allow you to send to specific lists. A public reply or post is not a private conversation - feel free to engage. People on Social Media want you to share.

8.) Be yourself (ok your better self). If your company doesn't allow you to be yourself on the company social media platform, create your own. (I would argue to create your own anyway, jobs are never guaranteed.) Be funny, creative, witty, people want to see what you are like not what your two minute elevator sales pitch reads like. Social Media is an easy (I said easy not quick) way to create a lasting connection with sellers or buyers. Genuineness and trust takes a while to build up, being fake is quickly discovered.

I always encourage people to treat social media like you are on a first date with someone you like. Share the genuinely good qualities that you have and save the fact you rarely do your laundry for a much more concrete relationship...way... way down the road.

What am I missing? Comment below.
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Kyle Hillman July 23, 2012 10:53 pm
Completly agree Leanne. Kind of the sad cycle with event Hashtags. The effort is put on pre and during the event engagement. Post event planning drops off. Your suggestion is new 9th Tip.
Leanne Calderwood July 23, 2012 7:35 pm
Could we add that we need to keep the conversation going, keep content on the twitter boards after WEC is over?