How to benefit from a conference (even if you can’t attend in person)

If there’s an event or conference you’d love to go to, but can’t attend, it’s tempting to hide yourself away while it’s on, so you don’t get hit by FOMO (fear of missing out). But you can still get huge value from a live event – even if you can’t be there in person.

With that in mind, here’s five tips on getting the most from a live event – even if you can’t attend in person.

1.Check out the preview content

Many event organisers – and their guests – will create preview content, ahead of the event. This will give you a better insight into the content (including relevant Twitter lists, hashtags and social media accounts to follow). You might also pick up some tips on attending future events.

Commenting on and re-sharing preview content using the event hashtag (see below) can be a great way to connect with guests and speakers ahead of the event (you might even pick up some new social media followers).

Here’s some of the preview content created for Content Live:

How to prepare for networking when it’s out of your comfort zone by Sally Dhillon

What are my objectives for attending Content Live 2018 by Jennifer MacDonald-Nethercott

Why I’m taking my values to London by Becky Kilsby

2.Follow and use the event hashtag on Twitter

Most live events have a dedicated hashtag – which groups together content on the same topic – that is promoted well in advance. Don’t wait until the day of the event; jump in early and start using it now, so you can start connecting with guests and speakers.

To make this easier, most event organisers create a  Twitter list of event guests and speakers. Don’t be afraid to pose your own questions for the speakers, using the event hashtag

The Content Live 2018 Twitter list is here and the event hashtag is #2019Sorted.

3.Engage with speakers & guests on social media

Many of the guests and speakers will be ‘live tweeting’ from the event and posting updates about the event on their social media profiles, which means you can learn loads, even if you’re not attending in person.

And don’t forget that commenting on and sharing social media updates allows you to network with guests and speakers – without even buying a ticket. While it’s no substitute for attending live, it’s still a great opportunity to build relationships with your kind of people – from the comfort of your office or even your sofa.

Many of these tips on how to stand out on social media when attending a live event apply even if you’re not attending in person.

You can also search Live streaming apps like Facebook Live and Instagram Stories to see if anyone is broadcasting live.

The event hashtag for Content Live is #2019Sorted.

4.Share your own content

If you spot updates that relate to your area of expertise, don’t be afraid to share relevant content e.g. blogs, vlogs and podcast episodes using the event hashtag. This can be a great way to attract new followers and build social media engagement on your own account.

In fact you can even turn your non-attendance into content that will make you memorable with guests and speakers.

If you’re worried about what to post, here are some ideas:

  • Questions for the speakers (if you really want to get noticed, you can add giphys or use an app like Ripl to turn your soundbites into short animated videos and image quotes). You can also create your own quotes or memes based on the event content.
  • Selfies of you NOT attending the event in your home office, co-working space or sitting room, for example
  • Pictures/video clips of you NOT attending the conference (see above)

5.Check out the follow-up content

Many event hosts, guests and speakers will create follow-up blogs/vlogs about attending the conference, so look out for these (many event organisers will curate them on social media using the event hashtag and curate them into a single blog/post). These often provide a summary of each session, including key learning points, like this review of Media Influence Live

If you’re attending another event soon, you might like this post on how to blog about an event you’ve attended.

If you’d like to follow along with Content Live on November 15 & 16, here’s a link to the programme, so you know what’s happening when.

You can also follow along on Twitter @jan_murray, Instagram and on our Facebook page.