Lessons Learned: Conference Social Media
Issues around climate change and sustainability require collaboration, knowledge sharing, and arenas for scientists, policy makers, and the private sector to meet, exchange ideas, and inspire one another.
If you’ve worked in the field, you know that it’s all about conferences — and Climate Social has been behind the scenes of many global gatherings in recent years. We’ve managed all on-site social media for past Sustainable Brands annual and New Metrics conferences, ACLCA 2017, Companies vs Climate Change 2017 & 2018, and the STL Climate Summit this past spring. We’ve also worked at events through partnerships such as the Global Climate Action Summit in September 2018 and the upcoming 2019 TRANSFORM Series event. Here are a few of the greatest lessons we’ve learned from past events to prepare you for your next conference.
Social Media is your FAQ Best Friend
When you have hundreds or even thousands of participants at an event, it can be hard to get to every individual’s logistic question answered. Questions that pop-up during the day of the event are typically different than the FAQs leading up to the day — and updating the website daily is a tedious task that may not be managed in a timely fashion. Printing out FAQ pages are a solution, but are unsustainable and an extra item to for participants to carry.
This is where your social media program plays a key role. Event-specific Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts or associated hashtags will be highly trafficked on the day of the event. Posting a tweet to direct participants to the bathroom, sharing a list of nearby restaurants on Facebook, or posting a picture on Instagram of the available conference swag are all ways to alleviate any confusion and ensure your participants are more focused on the content than the logistics.
From agendas to session booklets to informational pamphlets, your hands can quickly get full at a conference. If you aren’t handing out bags or folders for your participants to hold these items, they could get quickly recycled, defeating their purpose in the first place. We recommend going paperless as much as possible, and here’s how.
The main item participants still want on paper is the agenda. When most attendees have smartphones, or at least mobile phones with cameras, we have found that posting a few copies of the agenda on large boards near the registration booth with instructions to “save the trees and take a picture” does the trick. Participants appreciate the attention to sustainability and like the ease of having the agenda in their pockets. Pro tip: utilize your social accounts and pin a post to the top of your profile with pictures of the agenda and a link to it online.
Streamline Q&A Sessions
One of the most useful aspects of social media during a conference is streamlining Q&A sessions. Nothing can disrupt a productive panel quite like an audience member with a long-winded comment. Using Twitter or Facebook Live to receive questions is a foolproof method. By giving your moderator an iPad or simply writing down questions on note cards and delivering them to your moderator, you are able to move through the Q&A sessions more efficiently.
Climate change conferences are especially susceptible to controversial questions and comments — and utilizing social media can allow you to quickly screen questions. By knowing the questions before they are asked, you are able to ensure the discussion stays relevant and can maintain the tone of your event.
Additionally, some questions can be answered in real time by your social media manager. If a participant is looking for a specific resource or a way to get involved, you can interact directly with them on the platform allowing their question to be answered without slowing down your event.
Lastly, you can ensure your participants watching online are engaged. When live-streaming participants see their questions being asked in real time, your event becomes inclusive of your digital community — and generates a larger audience than what you have space for in the room!
Social media is crucial to making your conference run smoothly and efficiently. While large sustainability events can bring together crowds with intent, having your social media platforms covered in the background can further connect the audience to the presenters and to other attendees in the room. Social media also prevents confusion, giving participants easy access to necessary information.
So, why not let us do it for you?! With so many components comprising a conference, social media can be a daunting task. Climate Social has the experience and professionalism required to ensure your event is pulled off flawlessly. Contact us today to get started.