Issue #26

Welcome to the newsletter! I hope you are enjoying these as much as I am writing them! πŸ˜„ I try to be: (1) brief (2) ad free and (3) target to organizers, speakers, and/or attendees.

Feedback: (1) ping me on Twitter (2) email me (3) i’m going to leave comments open for now for approximately a week on the website posts if you want to leave your own feedback/$0.02.

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You can find this issue on the website:

Today’s Topics: Organizer meetings and communication, speakers giving consideration for other speakers, and cleaning up your own mess.

Organizers 😊

What’s MIGHT NOT BE The Best Use Of Your Time With Social Media

I wanted to share some experiences and thoughts on effectively using social media when it comes to your WordCamp or conference. Time is a valuable resource and even if you have someone (or a team) dedicated to communications and social, one needs to realize what is the best return on investment… and what is frankly a waste of time.

Disclaimer: I’m sure I’ll hit a nerve with someone that said “you doing that wrong” or “but if you had a REAL expert…”. I’m NOT a social media expert or I should say I don’t do it for a living. Personally I focus on Twitter for the past decade because it’s where I’ve gotten the most ROI and it’s ability to cover events and talks live is better than most other popular platforms. That’s the mindset.

Note: Planning on sharing what IS a good use of time with social media very soon – possibly next issue (I already wrote it but this post was already too long).

What MIGHT Be A Waste Of Time?

  • Too many sponsor based announcements during the conference. Mainly for attendees to stop by sponsor booths – majority of these are BORING for attendees. Basically ads that most in social skip over HONESTLY. Want to add value? Have a recently taken fun photo or video, or perhaps a reminder about when a sponsor giveaway is going to happen.
  • Conference contests are a grey area. If your conference is doing a Twitter photo contest, the logical place would be to promote it on Twitter (with an additional hashtag just for the conference). Just don’t overdue it (and in this example share some photos that are in the running for the contest).
  • Twitter lists of your speakers is a great idea although in my experience most attendees don’t use or follow this. Not much of an investment though and I still think it shows at least to speakers you are professional.

What Is USUALLY A Waste of Time (Or At Least Not Good ROI):

  • Flooding your own timeline with too much content. Spending time posting when your conference twitter account is the only one posting with your official hashtag is… let’s be honest… kind of a waste of time. At least use some time and PLAN IN ADVANCE for organizers and volunteers to add content (don’t run up to them begging to tweet something at the last minute). At least then it will look like others are participating and you have a shot at “enhancement” (that magical word social media folks love to use).
  • Going hashtag crazy, hoping that you get more exposure. Nobody is going to be browsing “#webdevelopment” and happily stumbling on your conference. Stick with one or two relevant hashtags and don’t turn your tweets into a hashtag cloud. The more hashtags in a tweet, the more “busy” it looks and the more it’s ignored (and therefore lowering ROI).
  • On a similar note, using multiple hashtags for your conference. Stick with one primary easy to type hashtag for the conference (that doesn’t include the year). Remember most people sharing on social aren’t social media pros, good at typing, or memorize hashtags. I’ve seen people at conferences get hashtags wrong because they aren’t easy to remember or type. That’s not to say having multiple hashtags is a sin but give it some thought. WordCamp Miami has had #WCMIA for 12 years and it’s become part of our branding. One hashtag has had great ROI.
  • Tweeting too much. I see conferences tweet almost every hour (or every other hour) weeks before a conference repeating non-critical content (we told you about this feature yesterday so we are telling it again today!) or attempts at engagement (what’s your favorite color?). I’m not saying these are BAD (I’ve seen some good responses to nice questions to some conference tweets, made me think and gave me an idea of the audience that will be attending)… but often I see these way too much. Just because you don’t have critical content to share, you don’t have to post something. I would like to browse through a conference tweet timeline making sure I didn’t miss important announcements.
  • Instagram, LinkedIn, And Most Online Social Networks – Especially for smaller conferences and WordCamps where volunteer time is SO precious… I am forced to agree hat usually Instagram and LinkedIn aren’t worth the time when it comes to getting butts in the seats. I’ve seen VERY few people of the years come to #WCMIA thanks to these networks but the time invested was tremendous. Sure: use Instagram for fun and contests but seriously consider instead focusing your limiting time on what your potential audiences honestly pays attention to – sometimes smaller networks (something on, local networks and events, etc.) give higher ROI. Personally I think it’s hard enough to get and any substantial ticket sales outside of Facebook and Twitter. The time it takes for social, I wishes could have spent on more local and face-to-face marketing.

Some conferences love to use social media and some barely do. All conferences are different – you might be that one conference that depends on LinkedIn and is massively successful with it. Good for you. Don’t feel like you HAVE to take the above as gospel.. the point is to keep things in perspective in terms of where you should be putting your efforts. Time is valuable. Time is often your enemy.

Know a social media strategy for a conference or meetup that you have done that actually worked? Share it with me!

Speakers 🎀

Here are three ways to use social media to make yourself a better speaker and member of the community you are speaking in.

  • Think About Accessibility – If your tweet contains an infographic (say from your slides) make sure the colors are well contrasted, so they are easy to decipher for people who are color-blind or have a visual impairment. Other tips here.
  • Support Other Speakers – Cover other speaker’s talks or at least mentioning them positively during the conference. Encourage people to stay after YOUR talk if the next one is a good tie-in.
  • Tweet During Your Talk – Rarely doable but if you follow a set script, it’s helpful sometimes to attendees if you are sharing (scheduling tweets) links to slides and resources/talking points in those slides while giving your talk. At the very least announce in your talk that you shared links before and/or after your talk (mention the conference hashtag). Word to the wise: be careful of time zone changes (you setting up tweets before you fly into the city) and last minute talk time changes.

Attendees πŸ™‹πŸ½β€β™€οΈ

Be A Good Social Media Person.

  • If you are posting and live-tweeting during events, make sure to use the proper hashtag.
  • Think about accessibility.
  • Thank organizers, speakers, and sponsors – preferably with their correct Twitter usernames.
  • Speakers and sponsors love photos of themselves and their booths, but don’t attract undue attention to yourself to get “Instagram” worth shots.
  • Shorter, straight to the point and easy to remember quotes from speakers are better on Twitter than you repeating everything that person said on stage.
  • Share helpful links on Twitter that speakers share (a particular resource, slides, the speaker’s website).
  • Consider retweeting others that paraphrased a speaker’s point better or faster than you did.
  • Try to take major concerns to organizers in person before (and perhaps in the place of) posting on social media. If you can’t communicate with organizers though, sometimes social media is a suitable last resort.

Misc. Stuff πŸ€·β€β™‚️

These tips were written and/or gathered by David Bisset, someone who’s been helping organizing conferences (such as WordCamp Miami, but others too) and meetups for over a decade. He’s still learning so share any of your tips and it might be included in a future newsletter.