How to use social media to stand out at a live event

Live events can be busy and you may not get the chance to speak to every single person you’d like to on the day. Engaging on social media - before, during and after the event - not only helps you connect with more people. It can also make you more memorable to speakers and other guests.

With that in mind, here’s some advice on how to use social media to stand out at a live event.

1.Follow and use the event hashtag

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 you get to the event; jump in early and start using it now. The event hashtag for #2020 Sorted is simply #2020Sorted.

Using the hashtag will help you ‘meet’ people ahead of the event - which will make it much easier for you to strike up a conversation when you meet them IRL (in real life).

You can use a scheduling tool like Buffer, Meet Edgar or SmarterQueue to schedule social media updates in advance. Don’t forget to include the event hashtag in your updates.

And don’t be afraid to share your updates more than once  – particularly on a platform like Twitter where content is scrolling through so fast, it’s easy for your followers to miss something (Meet Edgar and SmarterQueue have a ‘library’ function which will ‘requeue’ content for you as long as you vary the copy slightly). If you think you’re sharing too much, you’ve probably got it about right.

2. Use branded artwork provided by the event organisers

Many event organisers now provide branded artwork for you to use at the event. This can be a great way to connect with other delegates/speakers - and prospective clients. Showing that you're willing to invest in your personal and professional development can be attractive to people who might want to work with you in the future.

3.Follow Twitter lists

Most event organisers create a Twitter list of event guests. The #2020 Sorted Twitter list is here. Following the lists (or creating your own if there isn’t one) is a great way to start putting yourself out there and connecting with other guests ahead of the event.

If you do create a Twitter List, make sure that you make the list public. This will help you attract new followers - including those who aren’t attending the event. Taking the initiative to create the list will make you memorable to other guests.

4.Write a preview article

Writing a preview blog post that sets out your intentions for the event and sharing it on your social media networks (remembering to use the event hashtag of course!) can be a great way to introduce yourself in a memorable way - before you even get to the event. This is what lifestyle blogger Emma Tustian does in her preview of Blogtacular - I particularly like the format of her introduction.

If you’d like to write a preview piece for #2020 Sorted the hashtag is: #2020Sorted.

5.Get active in online groups

Most live event organisers create some kind of online community so delegates can connect before, during and after the event (#2020 Sorted has a dedicated Facebook community). Spending some time engaging in the online group, ahead of the event, will make it much easier to connect with people IRL.

People share really useful information in the group, as Jon Clayton has done here, letting people know about the great hotel deal he got at the Hilton for #2020 Sorted. 

6.Sit at the front of the room

Sitting at the front of the room (or as near as you can get) allows you to take much better photos, which increases the chances of your images being shared on social media.

It will also help you get eye contact with the speakers - which will make it much easier to connect with them afterwards.

7.Be socially active

The excitement around a live event starts to build well before the doors open. So don’t be afraid to post updates about your journey, pre-event drinks or anything else that will help you make a connection with other guests (and speakers) ahead of the event, using the dedicated hashtag.

If you’re worried about what to post during the event, here’s a list of ideas:

  • Juicy quotes or soundbites from 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)
  • Pictures or short videos of the speakers (with video it’s usually best to get permission from the event organiser first)
  • Selfies of you with the speakers and/or other delegates
  • Pictures/video clips of the food

  • Pictures/video clips of the goody bags (including the contents)
  • Pictures/video clips of the event programme and other ‘stationery’ items (my funky feedback cards get a lot of shares on social media, for example)

Tagging other guests - and speakers - into your social media updates, retweeting and re-sharing other people’s content and engaging with conversations going on around the event will mean your avatar keeps popping up - making you more memorable to other delegates (particularly if tweets are being displayed on a big screen). It can also help you connect with other guests (‘I liked your tweet about x’ can be a great conversation starter).

8. Use the event hashtag

Don’t forget to use the event hashtag on every update you post (and to find other people's posts). Remember also that some of the people following the hashtag may not actually be at the event - so bear that in mind when you’re writing captions/updates.

Using an app that allows you to create different streams for the conversation (e.g. mentions, replies) will make it much easier to follow.

If you have a Hootsuite account you can create a stream for the hashtag  you want to follow.  Tweetdeck allows you to do the same.

If you’d like to start posting about #2020 Sorted the hashtag is just: #2020Sorted.

9.Create visual content

Take loads of photographs and short videos with the people you meet (30 seconds or less for Twitter and Instagram). This is a great way to be remembered by the people you’ve connected with (especially if you tag them into your posts) as they will remain on your social media account forever.

10.Create live video content

Creating live content before, during or after the event can be a great way to stand out from the crowd. Facebook is generally the easiest way - as you can broadcast straight from your phone - but do check with the event organisers what their rules are on this (you’ll generally need permission to broadcast the presenters live).  Going live during the breaks can be just as much fun anyway. Here are some tips on improving your Facebook Live broadcasts.

Make sure you add captions to any videos you post on social media. You might find this blog useful: How to add captions to your videos using Rev and Kapwing.

11.Follow up

Attending live events can be tiring. When you get home - or back to your hotel room - you’ll probably just feel like putting your feet up and ordering a pizza. But taking the time to follow up with people you’ve connected with at the event will make you stand out.

Recording a short video/audio message and sending it over via Twitter or Facebook messenger can be a quick way to do this.

If you want to make more of an impact, you could also create a blog/vlog about your experience of attending the event.  Here’s how to write a blog post about an event you’ve attended.

And don’t forget to head over Facebook and Instagram to tag yourself into any photos that have been posted by the event organisers.

The Facebook page you’ll need for #2020 Sorted is here.

You can connect with me on Twitter here and on Instagram here.

Looking forward to seeing you at #2020 Sorted. If you haven't booked your ticket yet you can do that here. If you can’t attend the event, you can follow along on the hashtag #2020Sorted.