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Social Marketing Best Practices for HR Conferences and Trade Shows

Ranking HR Conferences By Total Tweets and Influencer Engagement is one of HRmarketer’s more popular blog posts. It highlights the important role that social media — particularly Twitter — plays in HR conference communications.

In this post, I’m offering tips for participating in a conference’s social media conversations—including specific things to do before, during and after the event. As you’ll see, I use many of them myself. But before getting to those tips, I need to go through a few basics. (If you have experience participating in conference social media conversations, you can probably skip this section.)

  • It’s all about the #hashtag. Most every HR event has an official hashtag. For some events, like the annual HR Technology Conference, the hashtag doesn’t change year to year (#HRTechConf) but most event organizers use a different hashtag each year. For example, this year’s SHRM Annual conference hashtag is #SHRM18.
  • Participation is a huge opportunity. Conference social media conversations are a great way to grow your brand visibility and thought leadership. Be sure to participate in them for the events you are going to, and even if you’re not present at a conference, you can still monitor and participate in the social conversation.
  • Follow best practices for using hashtags. For information on using hashtags on various social networks, check out this article, but the basic guidelines are:
    • Twitter: Use one or two hashtags per tweet to increases reach and engagement. Using more than three hashtags in a single tweet can harm your engagement.
    • Instagram: Doesn’t matter how many hashtags you use per post.
    • LinkedIn:Doesn’t appear to matter how many hashtags you use per post.
    • Facebook: Using hashtags may actually harm your reach and engagement.

At a minimum, use the conference hashtag in every tweet and Instagram post. If  you want to use additional hashtags, pick something relevant to your message. For example, if you are listening to a session dealing with diversity, consider adding #Diversity or #Inclusion to your post. Monitoring the conference’s Twitter stream is also an effective way to find other hashtags to use.  

  • Remember that, social media is, well, social. Keep it real, authentic and on topic. Don’t be overly promotional.

Now, let’s get to the more specific tips. Have fun with these!

Download the PDF: Social Marketing Best Practices for HR Conferences

This handy 11 page PDF guides you through best practices for what you can do before, during and after an HR conference to maximize your social visibility.
Grab it now! (#NoRegistrationForms)

Before the Conference

  • Share how much your team is looking forward to going to the host city (#Chicago for #SHRM18). Maybe share information about your new exhibit—remember to include your booth number!—and ask people to stop by. But don’t overdo it—avoid multiple pre-conference tweets asking people to come to your booth.  

  • Do you have a big announcement that you are making at the event? Build some hype around it. Perhaps a few posts about the new technology, publishing of a book, etc.
  • Consider a special piece of content for the show. It doesn’t need to be serious. Jessica Miller-Merrell’s “Unofficial Party Guide” was the most popular shared content asset at SHRM Annual in 2017.
  • Share some tweets thanking the conference sponsors. OK, maybe you don’t want to bring attention to your competitors, but not all sponsors are competitors.
  • Share some tweets about how much you are looking forward to hearing the speakers. If the speaker has a Twitter ID, mention him/her in the tweet along with some of the session details.

  • Many conferences publish pre-event blog posts (e.g., #SHRM18). Share these posts and tag the authors.

During the Conference

Pictures Pictures Pictures. Videos Videos Videos. (Tweet and upload all photos and videos to Instagram)

  • Tweet a picture of an interesting slide (facts, quotes, etc.) from a session and mention the presenter’s Twitter ID. If you know which sessions you are attending ahead of time, look up speakers’ Twitter IDs so you have them handy.

  • If someone from your company is speaking, take lots of photos and tweet interesting points from the presentation. Set these up in advance of the show and save the tweets as drafts on your mobile device—this way, all you need to do is take a photo.  
  • Tweet pictures from your booth showing the excitement and activity. At #SHRMTalent, PandoLogic (formerly RealMatch) had a Yoda figure and people had their picture taken with it. The photos were shared out on social, and participants had a chance win an Amazon Echo (each day).  

PandoLogic (formerly RealMatch) SHRM Talent Exhibit

  • If you run into an influencer, ask if you can do a selfie with him/ her. Here’s one of Tim Sackett and me at #SHRMTalent. Be sure to tag/mention the influencer in the social post.

Tim Sackett and Rhonda Taylor at #SHRMTalent (Tim is holding his new book “The Talent Fix”)

  • Show some love to other exhibitors — tweet a picture of your booth neighbors.
  • Share a picture or video of a special activity going on at your booth. Drawings, demos, book signings, etc.
  • Many events have bookstores (SHRM Annual comes to mind).  Take some photos of your favorite books and @mention the author.  
  • Don’t stop after show hours end!  Networking receptions and parties offer more opportunities for tweets and other social posts (be sure, however, to ask permission of people before posting images of them on social).  

After the Conference

  • Tweet some pictures of the team taking down the booth, with a message about seeing everyone at next year’s event.
  • Share positive feedback about the conference and thank the event organizers.
  • Reshare some tweets about sessions you enjoyed.
  • Do a wrap-up blog summary of the conference and share it out on social.

This popular report (via HRmarketer software) provides a great post-event tweet recap.

  • Be sure to recognize the winners of your booth drawings on social — preferably get a picture of them getting their prize. (This can also be done during the event.)
  • FOLLOW people on Twitter who used the conference hashtag — this is a great way to grow your network.
  • Finally, whether it is before, during or after the event always be sure to acknowledge others who are using the conference hashtag. Retweet, like, comment. Be social!

HRmarketer monitors thousands of HR conference hashtags

HRmarketer Event Reports provide a wealth of business intelligence, including which events your competitors, influencers and analysts engage with, the topics discussed, related hashtags, vendor’s share of voice, etc.
Learn more.

Related Posts:

33 Tips for Becoming a Stand-Out Exhibitor

So Many Conferences Are Failing at Twitter! Follow These Four Hashtag Best Practices.

How Smart Conferences Are Striking Visibility Gold Through Twitter Hashtags, and How Your Brand Can, Too

About the Author:

VP, HRmarketer. I help HR brands improve awareness and interest to their brand by using our HRmarketing Software. I am a pioneer in the women's hockey movement. @Social_Rhonda

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