How to crash a conference when you’re not really there


I missed this year’s Content2Conversion Conference. It was weeks ago and I’m STILL bummed. Great content, great people – my kind of conference. Unfortunately I caught the flu bug a couple days before, then my wife caught the same. I ended up staying home.

But I was there. In spirit, in content and in social.

There’s nothing that makes up for not being there live, but engaging the crowd, content and potential customers virtually and from a distance was a close second. Whether you have to make a last-minute schedule change, or if you’re trying to leverage more events than your budget allows, here’s how you do it.

Sign up for conference updates, sponsor events in advance
Sometimes these go primarily to the registration list, but for bigger conference there are often separate “follower” alerts, newsletters, party invites, etc. Search for and engage with them in advance to know what’s going on (especially so you can follow & engage from afar)

Follow the hashtag
Early and often. This includes posting, retweeting, favoriting, all types of engagement with those who are there.

Respond to attendees, engage and get real-time feedback
Reply to threads, ask questions, get opinions on what content has been good thus far. People love getting responses especially at events where social engagement is heightened.

Follow everyone in the hashtag 2-3 times a day
Use a tool such as Tweepi to “round up” everyone using the conference hashtag and follow them all. Most will follow you back. Do this frequently each day during the conference to provide near-instant gratification for those live-tweeting at the event and looking for who is responding and following back in real-time.

Watch the real-time feeds
This includes the hashtag feed but also any real-time videos posted from sessions. Great way to get access to the content and engage equally in the online discussion.

Watch for sponsor/exhibitor updates
Pay particular attention to those paying to sponsor the event, who likely have their own break-out sessions, parties, etc. These are often focal points for online discussions and content from the event, plus often more targeted means of engaging with specific content and those following it.

Send LinkedIn invites to speakers, top tweeters & bloggers
Send personalized invites, but be aggressive. Thank them for speaking, for sharing such great content during the event, etc.

Read all of the recap summaries
Many of these will come from exhibitors and sponsors, but they’re a great way to get a few days worth of highlights in a few hundred words. Leave comments too, as that’s a great way to get your brand exposed to the heightened readers from the conference who are also reading recaps after you.