Armed with an oversized bag, a laptop, iPhone X, and selfie stick, I make my way for TSA Pre to board a Boeing 737 aircraft to Las Vegas. What brings me here is not the magic of David Copperfield but the enchantment of 2018 T3 Enterprise Conference. It is an opportunity to see, with my very own eyes, the future of fintech and financial services from the visionaries creating it.
With social media, you can have a virtual VIP ticket and front seat to all the action. Whether you were attending #T32018 in person or secretly stalking the feeds of Joel Bruckenstein @fintechie and T3 Technology Tools @t3techhub, one thing is for certain—you didn’t miss a beat. These magical micro-moments, made possible by Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, light up the feed like a Christmas Tree and bring conference attendees, both virtual and in-person, together as if they were all in the same room.
Having recently covered T3 2018 Enterprise Conference and soon the upcoming T3 2019 Advisor Conference in February, along with The Advisor Thought Leader Summit, Orion Advisor’s Ascent Conference, and Riskalyze’s Fearless Investing Summit, I must emphasize the importance of social media and valuable role it plays in terms of communication, interaction, and engagement of your audience! When applied well, strategically, thoughtfully, and tactically, social media will naturally foster a community of like-minded stakeholders and even the occasional FOMO aka Fear-of-Missing-Out financial advisor conference attendee who couldn’t (but wanted to) make it.
For conference organizers and marketers, here are my five steps to maximize your social media efforts and spark social media magic at your next event:
- Preplan your social media efforts. Before beginning any social media initiative at your next conference, it is imperative to bring the group together to establish goals, roles and responsibilities. What is the brand voice of the conference and what are the important communications and messages to convey to attendees? Who is attending the conference and what are the best channels to reach them? Understanding your audience and where they already are critical to your overall efforts. During this stage, it is important to establish a process for posting, approvals, compliance archiving as well as determining the who, how, and what mediums of content creation will be used such as text, photo, and video? Finally, quantifying goals against last year’s benchmarks will help establish a realistic expectation around posting velocity and attendee engagement.
- Create an attendee avatar. Really, really get to know your attendees and work to understand them at a deeper level. Who are they, what do they care about, and what solutions are they currently searching for? Curate this information in the form of a Shared Google Doc and encourage your team to update it as they discover more pieces. One way you might study and gain more knowledge is to ‘read the feed’ and visit the Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram profiles of attendees. In addition, create an Excel spreadsheet with a list of sponsors, presenters, and speakers, and their respective social profiles. I know that having this information assembled before-hand, aids the group’s efforts significantly in terms of time and efficiency. Lastly, identify their biggest challenge(s) and use social media posts to share resources which address these same needs, such as breakouts, demos, guides, and templates.
- Design a content marketing framework. Content is the oxygen social media thrives on yet creating these assets requires coordination and massive effort. A content marketing framework is a working document that assists in the organization and creation of various content assets – audio, pictures, text, and video – that will need to be generated during the conference. For example, which members of your team will produce daily Facebook and Instagram posts vs live tweeting, scheduled tweets, and Twitter live streaming (yes, there is such a thing)? Who will review and approve all content for compliance before it released publicly on brand channels? Most importantly, who on the team is responsible for liking, commenting, and replying to incoming messages? Finally, the content marketing framework should also include the conference hashtag and Twitter handle(s) to be used in messaging as well as good and bad examples of various social posts.
- Leverage each social media platform. Each social media platform is different in terms of audience, user-engagement, features, and tools. For example, going live on Facebook Live sends an immediate notification via Facebook Messenger to all the people who follow the Facebook Page. You can’t do that on LinkedIn however, LinkedIn does support a direct upload of a recorded video (up to 10 minutes long and less than 5 GB). My advice is to reverse engineer around the preferences of your audience and to focus on the social channels they use the most. Your main objective should be to reach them where they already are with various combinations of the four types of content organized around engagement known as “The EDIE Formula” which stands for educate, demonstrate, inform, and entertain. Conference attendees crave novelty and need varying amounts of all four if you are going to retain their time and attention.
- Measure as you go. It is important to recognize that in terms of social media engagement, not everything is going to work. That’s not only ok; rather, it is expected. The best way to evaluate the success of your efforts is by applying social media analytics and insights per each brand channel. Accessing this information within each social media profile is easy but aggregating it into one master document is another. Most social media planning and scheduling tools, like Buffer, Hootsuite, and Sprout Social, provide an analytics dashboard combined with an export feature that will do it for you. However, I learned (the hard way) that it is a very good idea to have these feeds already mapped to the dashboard at least one full month in advance, to ensure data is accurate and complete. The main benefit here is by data analysis, you can double-down and do more of what is working.
How about you? What would you like to see in terms of social media at The #T32109 Advisor Technology Conference, January 29 – February 1, 2019 in Dallas, TX #T32019 — I’ll be there!!! Send me your ideas at email@example.com or DM me on Twitter at @tinacpowell.