You can’t attend every industry conference. But you can make it seem like you are there…you can join digitally…you might even find a new deal like I have!
There was a recent industry conference, let’s call it “SocialSlam15!” being held in California an exclusive resort. A great opportunity for me to rub elbows with my peers and prospect audience of marketing and sales leaders interested in Social Selling! I had one problem; for those who know me, I broke my leg a few months ago and had a date with an orthopedic surgeon I couldn’t miss, so I couldn’t physically attend. I decided to do the next best thing…Hack it to make people think I was there! (I also saved thousands $ in airfare, hotel 😉
My #SocialSelling Conference Hack was accomplished primarily using Twitter, LinkedIn, Email, Text Messaging and, yes, Periscope. My outcomes were better than anticipated. I attracted a bunch of new Twitter Followers and unsolicited LinkedIn Connections. I had 4 existing clients and 3 net new prospects literally reach out to me wanting to get together with me while I was “at the event” because they thought I was sitting in the resort with them!
I even received an unsolicited job offer from an attendee of “SocialSlam15!” (Thanks but no thanks). The best part of it all; I anticipate closing at least one Net New Deal because of my activity there!
Here are a few examples of the type of activity during the “SocialSlam!” Event that made my presence known:
1) I start with a post on LinkedIn…a simple screen capture of a picture of the key note speaker that I borrowed from another attendee’s tweet. Here’s a simple example of a conference being held right now in NYC called “Uncubed”. Looks like I’m sitting in the front row. Some people on my team even thought I was in NYC today after seeing this post!
2) I tweet the same content to take advantage of the many attendees referencing the #hashtag throughout the event. I also “tagged” the Uncubed team. I’m starting to get noticed! And I could continue with more tweets and posts…
With the rest of this post I’ll describe how I can “attend digitally” without physically being present and while saving $5000 and 4 days away from my office. I am engaging with peers and prospects not in an attempt to trick them, but an important observation is that when people gather physically at a conference, they also gather digitally. This creates an opportunity to engage – whether you are there physically or virtually. I’ll use an awesome upcoming Conference that I’d like to attend as an example: Selling Power Magazine’s “Sales 2.0” Event in Philadelphia!
Make Yourself Known!
1) Your best results will come if you get a head start. Before the kick off of the conference you are targeting, do some research. Review the website of the conference for basic details…Location, Timing, Agenda, Speakers, etc…
2) Find the twitter #hashtags associated with the event. Usually the conference website will have point you to their twitter handle where you might find some info. In the case of this upcoming Selling Power “Sales 2.0” conference the #hashtag is: #s20c. 3) Follow as many of the speakers and conference affiliates on Twitter that you can find…this will help you get them to notice you and set you up for tweeting about them when they are on stage. 4) Make your excitement and anticipated presence known by tweeting that you will be there! A few tips…add an image such as the logo of the conference, use the event #hashtag, tag the speakers (you can tag up to 10 people). Every time someone interacts with the tweet they will be notified!
5) Along with that tweet, make yourself known on LinkedIn as well. Here I have re-purposed that tweet on LinkedIn by uploading a photo…again making sure to tag the key note speakers.
6) Be sure to retweet, “like” and engage with some of the current activity from the speakers…especially if they are already tweeting about the event! Also pay close attention to the #hashtag in the days leading up to the event…you might find something to take advantage of.
I’ve outlined the basics of the beginning of my activity. Leading up to the show I will continue to follow the #hashtag and “like” and retweet select posts. It’s important to be creative and have some fun with it. Some events post updates to their blog or website, some even live broadcast. Use these to your advantage…listen and pull sound bites that you can retweet and credit the speaker. Speakers love being on stage and they LOVE when people boost their egos with tweets of their presentation content. People will retweet you and you will be on your way to being there. (Almost!)
This strategy can be incredibly fruitful. I have literally closed deals because of this type of behavior. For more detail on how I proceed on “gameday”, reach out to me. I have a lot more tricks…too many to list here; things like how to use Periscope for live action or even YouTube. If you’d like me to teach you or your sales team how to do this in your industry, please reach out to me…I’d love to help.
Have any hacks of your own that are similar…please share them below!
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