Attending conferences presents an opportunity to build relationships and increase visibility and recognition.  While simply showing up and interacting with other conference attendees is beneficial, there are other steps to take to ensure an organization, company, or individual makes the most of a conference or event.

Here are just some of the ways SM& utilizes clients’ attendance at conferences to their advantage:

Secure the media list – Reaching out to attending media is a great way to get your client in front of influential reporters while at the conference.  Once you have the media list handy prior to the event, research the reporters and editors on the list to see who would be a good fit to speak with you or your client.   Even if it is not a formal interview, speaking with reporters could plant a story idea or position your client as a thought leader, who the reporter will reach back to in the future.  Just be aware anything said to a reporter could potentially be used on the record!

Take it to social media – Social media is key when it comes to leveraging conferences and events.  The first step is to find out the conference’s hashtag, which is usually easily accessible on the event’s website.  Send out tweets and a Facebook post prior to the conference using this hashtag to join the conversation and to find out more about who might be attending.  It is also important to Tweet regularly during and after the conference, paying close attention to other attendees’ tweets that might be good to “favorite” or “re-tweet” to promote engagement and gain new followers.    

Share photographs – If it’s possible to take photographs during the event, using these steps when appropriate, they’re great to send to the media and share on social media afterwards.  Doing so puts a face to you or your client’s brand and may also catch the attention of other attendees who may be interested in re-connecting…plus, it preserves some great memories!

Ultimately, conferences are more than just coffee, motivational speakers, hotel rooms and mingling with like-minded individuals. While those are all certainly enjoyable components, conference–more importantly–present an opportunity to interact and engage in a unique way.