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BACK TO BASICS: A Social Media Guide to Event Attendance: 3 Tips for Connecting and Engaging

by Kristi Kellogg, February 27, 2014

Event attendees

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes


  • Get the most engagement when sharing at events by using the right hashtags.
  • Tag speakers and influencers to start and ongoing relationship with them.
  • Utilize pictures and videos for maximum ROI, and be sure to tag people in them.

SMX West and Pubcon South are around the corner — SEOs and Internet marketers everywhere are gearing up for these anticipated Internet marketing conferences. As SMX takes over San Jose March 11-13 and Pubcon descends on New Orleans March 18-20, stay connected by tuning into social media. Without fail, attendees and speakers take to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube and other social channels to share up-to-the-minute tips, questions, quotes, photos and videos.

With the high output of social sharing, even if you're unable to attend a conference, you can experience event highlights in real time when you stay connected socially.

At SMX, Pubcon and every in-person event you attend, use social media to enhance your in-person experience. Follow these guidelines to make your tweets, posts and shares be heard more loudly than ever and to cultivate long-term online relationships.

1. Use the Correct Hashtag

When you're sharing about an event, you want to use relevant hashtags so the tweet or post reaches its intended audience. If you're posting anything about Pubcon, make sure to include #Pubcon. If you're posting about SMX, make sure to include #SMX. Most live events today designate an official hashtag that they announce or post on signage or literature. For further guidance on making sure you use the most popular hashtag, reference the tools and advice in SEO and SMM: Which Hashtags Should You Use?

For instance, the official hashtag for SMX West is #SMX. It is not #SMXWest or #SearchMarketingExpo  
that's 19 characters! When tweeting about SMX, use the hashtag #SMX; that's what other SMX attendees are going to be searching for. If you use a hashtag (like #SMXWest) that people are rarely using and searching for, you're limiting that share's potential. Whenever you share, make sure you're using most popular and relevant hashtag.

SMX also plans for each session to have a hashtag all its own. They're handily located on the at-a-glance SMX agenda.

SMX Social Guide

2. Tag an Event's Speakers, Present Influencers and Anyone You Know or Meet

Wherever you're sharing, use @s and +s to tag relevant people, including speakers, influencers and attendees. Sharing a quote from Matt Cutts is great — sharing a quote from Cutts and properly tagging him is better. When you tag someone (on any social channel), it will show up in that person's notifications and they'll actually see it — which means there's a good chance they'll respond or reshare your post.

If you give out your business card, include your social media URLs. If you get a name tag to wear at an in-person event, write your Twitter name or a social media handle along with your name. As you collect business cards from people you meet, if no social media name is included, ask them for theirs and write it on the back of the card so you can send them an online social note later — or better yet, while you're at the event. Nurture the seeds of an ongoing online friendship as soon as possible.

3. Include Pictures and Videos Whenever Possible

Consider the following:
  • Tweets with images have up to 200% more engagement that tweets without images, according to MediaBistro.
  • Facebook posts with images earn 53% more likes and 103% more comments than posts without images, according to HubSpot.
People like visuals. It's just a fact — and that statistics back it up. If you're tweeting, posting or sharing during a live event, use an image whenever you can to increase engagement. For example, consider snapping a picture of:
  • Advanced 2012 BYour favorite speakers or people you've long followed online and are finally meeting in person
  • Crowds in the expo hall
  • Funny or clever signage or advertising
  • Drinks at the after-hours events or your steaming morning coffee (everyone loves or can relate to that needed caffeine or booze booster)
  • A selfie while you're waiting for a session to start
  • The free copies of SEO All-In-One for Dummies and Content Marketing Strategies for Professionals Bruce will hand out during his SEO workshop or is signing at the Pubcon author book signing
  • The morning yoga sessions for SMX West attendees (#namaste)
  • Anything related to Matt Cutts or Pubcon keynote speaker and author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini

Where to Find SMX, Pubcon, Bruce Clay, Inc., and Our Livebloggers

Search Marketing Expo (SMX)


Bruce Clay, Inc.

Virginia Nussey will liveblogging Pubcon South and Chelsea Adams will be joining her for SMX West. Their liveblogs will appear exclusively on the Bruce Clay, Inc. Blog. Find their day-to-day SMX schedule here.

Liveblogger Virginia Nussey

Liveblogger Chelsea Adams

For permission to reprint or reuse any materials, please contact us. To learn more about our authors, please visit the Bruce Clay Authors page. Copyright © 2014 Bruce Clay, Inc.