How to use Twitter at Conferences
Chances are that the last conference you attended had a Twitter hashtag, something like #AYS2017. It’s not only smart advertising on behalf of the conference organisers, it’s also an easy way for attendees to network and keep in the loop as the conference unfolds. What’s not so easy is learning how to navigate the confusing world of social media.
Don’t worry, we’ve got your back.
Here’s a list of simple do’s and don’ts on how to use Twitter at your next conference.
The first step is to begin using the hashtag before the conference even begins. This will help you to network with other attendees and start building those key relationships early on. Other benefits of pre-emptive hashtagging is that it puts you one step ahead of everyone else in terms of contacts, and it’ll keep you informed of conference-related information well before you get there!
Without further ado, here’s your Do’s:
Use the conference hashtag. . . often! Be sure to use the hashtag so that all of the attendees, and those following the conference remotely, can see what you have to say, and be inspired to follow you. This is the meat and potatoes of conference social-media networking, it forms a common thread between all of the attendees. Simply search the hashtag and see what everyone else is saying about the event. It’s easy-breezy and it works!
Tweet about sessions. If you’re involved in a great session, or experience something interesting, Tweet about it! Include the conference hashtag and don’t forget to give shoutout credit to the presenter by using their Twitter handle. They’ll be pleased to know that you enjoyed their presentation. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t revel in a little social media fame? By giving credit where credit’s due, you’re halfway there in creating a meaningful and professional relationship. Remember, being active on Twitter, rather than remaining a passive reader, allows you to elevate your profile, gain more followers, and expand your network.
Let ‘em know where the best coffee is. We all know it. . . conferences are notorious for bad coffee. If you spot a good café in or near the conference centre, go ahead and Tweet it out to your fellow attendees. And don’t be too surprised if this brings you conference star-status. After all, quality coffee is hard to come by. Coffee aside, Tweet about other logistical information. Transport ideas? Social and networking mixers? Delicious local restaurants? Find it and Tweet it!
Attach visuals to accompany your Tweet! Tweets without visuals often go unnoticed. Now even science tells us that’s the case. Consider taking a (hopefully decent) photo of the presentation you’re tweeting about. Or better yet, attach a graphical abstract or video abstract relating to the scientist’s session if available.
Links matter! Remember our recent post about the importance of the Altmetric score for academics? Whether you’re promoting your work, or someone else’s work, if you don’t include the URL links to the papers you’re Tweeting about, your Tweets won’t be tracked by Altmetric.
Think twice before hitting SEND. Be smart about what you Tweet to the world, as Twitter is a highly professional platform. Once you press ‘post’, whatever you’ve written is out there for everyone to see. If you wouldn’t read it to your grandma, don’t post it! Also, check all of your facts before Tweeting, and don’t Tweet incorrect information. It’s too easy for social media content to spread like wildfire. Watch this TED Talk to see what we mean. . .
Don’t Tweet the negative! Remember, Twitter is a professional platform, so never Tweet negative information about anyone or anything. This includes individuals, institutions, organisations, or even the conference itself. Twitter is totally public, and others frown upon any bad-mouthing on this social media platform.
Don’t let Twitter replace your conference experience. Twitter is meant to enhance the conference, not take it over completely. Make sure you’re still attending those networking events and conference talks! You can get a lot from a hashtag, but you can’t beat the real thing.
So you’ve attended a conference, networked, and even made some new friends. In short, you’re dominating the world of Twitter. Now what?
Tweet about it! Make a conference wrap up with Wakelet including all the most important Tweets, the people you’ve met, and the great time you’ve had. This will secure the followers and friends you’ve already made, while also serving to score you a few new ones. Now get to it!