The Wall Street Journal is about as opposite of niche media as it gets. But they took a break from articles such as “Kuwait Launches $8 Billion Bond Sale” and “CFO Moves: B&G Foods, Slack Technologies, Zscaler” to share some really solid tips on how to make the most of a conference using social media.

“Social media has made conference-going more valuable than ever. The value of those in-person encounters comes not in spite of, but increasingly because of, the way we use technology and social media.”

Read on for more of author Alexandra Samuel’s tips:

Pack your schedule

Alexandra suggests that you “block off times to make yourself available for meetings. You can put those into a bookable calendar such as Calendly or YouCanBook.me. Instead of getting into a prolonged back-and-forth over when to meet up, you can include your Calendly link in any messages you send out when asking for a meeting.

Niche Tip: Use LinkedIn, company websites, and social media profiles to check out the attendee, speaker, and sponsor rosters ahead of the conference. Now is the perfect time to connect with potential clients, partners or colleagues!

Play host/hostess

No one likes eating alone. Alexandra advises you to “be the hero who saves your fellow attendees from lonely meals and use tech tools to organize parties or social get-togethers.”

OpenTable and Yelp helps you find places near the conference. Take the initiative by “booking an 8-to-12-person table in a restaurant for each night of your conference and…create an evite for each dinner. Allow people to bring one to two guests and set a limit for RSVPs that is equal to your number of seats at the table.”

Niche Tip: Yes! We definitely endorse Lunch with a Stranger – we practically invented it! Connect over lunch, then instant message or text later to meet for dinner and drinks.

Engage with new contacts

  • Plan to actively engage with your peers at the conference and at the networking parties. Don’t just hang with people you already know. Take advantage of the opportunity to make solid connections with your peers. 
  • Don’t wait until you are home to organize your new contacts. “Go through your freshly collected cards on the plane home, snapping an image of each card with an app like Evernote, which offers a built-in business card reader to capture contact information.”
  • Niche Favorite Tip! Another fun trick Alexandra suggests that I love: “Snap a selfie with them while we’re still together—then ask them for their Twitter handle, and tweet them a message with the hashtag #nicetomeetyou and the hashtag for the conference.”

Finally, social media doesn’t replace the live conference – it makes it better. I hope to meet you in Charlotte and join you in a #nicetomeetyou selfie or two!

 

Editor’s note: Here’s the link to article if you’d like read further. Subscription may be required: WSJ: The power of conferences in a social media age. Christopher will lead the sessions, “The Ad Executive of the Future” and “Organize Your Sales Life” at Super Niche in Charlotte, March 27-29.

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conferencesMore about Christopher: Christopher Ware is Vice President of Business Development for NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association. He’s an association event pro with expertise in making niche events profitable through creative corporate sponsorships that benefit both the association and the industry it serves. Inspired by Carl’s giving away cats, Chris has a history of giving away free burritos to get his calls returned.

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