3 Best Practices for Social Media Monitoring at Conferences

Conferences around the world are occurring on a weekly basis, and if you're not monitoring social media, you're missing out on valuable insights that you can extract from conversations. But once you've got a social listening tool in place, the process of deciding what to listen for can be quite overwhelming.

What should you take into account when determining what to monitor on the social web during conferences related to your business? Here are some best practices for your brand.

Check Out Your Presence
You may not always have a presence at a relevant conference, but if you do, it's critical to capture conversation around all pieces of the puzzle. One way to make this task easier is to create a hashtag and promote it as the way for people to discuss your presence.

If you have a booth, make sure the hashtag is displayed prominently so people can easily find it. If you are running a street team, ask people to post to social networks using the hashtag, or require they mention you to their social networks in exchange or information or swag. If someone from your company is speaking, have them mention the hashtag for the presentation verbally or on slides.

People won't always comply, of course, so you need to monitor for keywords outside the featured hashtag. Look for mentions of your brand and speaker's names, as well as variations of spellings of your company and your company's products to get the full picture of your social buzz. Don't just look for total volume, however. Run a sentiment analysis to figure out whether people are speaking positively or negatively about your presence.

Tip: Make sure you hone in on mentions that relate to the conference -- your data will be skewed if you don't filter out general mentions.

What's the Competition Up To?
Chances are, if your brand is interested in a particular conference, your competitors are as well. Before the conference begins, it's important to research the type of presence that your competitors will have at the conference, if any. If they do have a presence, there are a few things you will want to monitor in terms of competition:

  • Total social volume: Look for the same types of conversation as you are listening for your own brand
  • Share of voice: How much of the conversation is about your competitors compared to your own brand?
  • Competitive sentiment: If people are overwhelmingly positive or negative about a competitor, look at the types of things people are saying, and find out why. This will help you at future conferences.

What's Trending
This may fall outside the realm of your brand and competitors, but is equally as important in understanding the overall impact a conference may have on your brand or industry. Look at the top hashtags and overall conversation drivers around a conference. What are people talking about, and what is making them share on social networks?

While jumping in with a social ad around a hot topic can sometimes steer the conversation back toward you, it often looks contrived. Instead, use this information for future conferences to figure out how best to generate more buzz for your own future presences. While it's hard to predict what conference content will stir up social conversation, look for patterns across conferences to see what's working.
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