In just two weeks, a couple of us from Marketri will be off to an awesome social media and marketing conference called Social Slam. I’ve been getting excited about what we will take away from the event. I am hoping to learn about up-and-coming social media trends from industry experts. I’m also looking forward to some great networking opportunities and establishing some new connections. While simply attending this conference will be beneficial, I began to wonder if there are any other ways that we can maximize the benefits of attending this event. The answer of course is yes, and the way to do it is through social media!

1.  Time for Twitter

As social media has become omnipresent, it has trickled its way into live events. And one of the most popular ways that people bring in-person events and conferences to life is by using Twitter.  Many events will provide pre-agreed upon hashtags for the event to encourage attendees to get talking online before, during and after the event. Most conferences will smartly share the event hashtag(s) on their Web site and other promotional materials for the event, so check there first. If that doesn’t turn anything up, log in to your Twitter account and do a quick search in the top bar for the conference name. Often you can find the hashtag this way.

Once you’ve identified the hashtag, be sure to include it in all of your tweets about the event and to other attendees. This will pull your tweets into the live conversation around that topic. This is a great way to be found by others and to make new connections on Twitter. Be sure to follow your new Tweeps (Twitter people) from the conference as well as any speakers from the event whose content you appreciated. Speaker bios on conference sites often include the speakers’ twitter handles.

2. Be Your Own Paparazzi

When you are not busy learning and networking, use conferences and events as an opportunity to snap lots of pictures and take some video if you are able. These are great for sharing on your company’s social media sites. People love to look at pictures and video. Isn’t that why we love Facebook and YouTube? Be sure to document your experience with photos. This makes for great material for Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. It is also common practice for conferences to set up official Flickr pages where they encourage participants share their photos. This is a great way to share your photos and helps the conference build an unofficial photo album of the event, which they often use to promote future sessions.

If you are able to capture video, consider documenting your experience this way. You can follow an employee through the event, give a “day in the life of” perspective, or even interview one of the speakers or a new connection. With very little effort (and probably a lot of fun) you will have great new content for your YouTube channel. Many times there will be a YouTube channel set up specifically for an event, so you may want to consider submitting your video there for posting. This is a great way to be found by current and future event attendees.

3. Blogging Benefits

Last, but certainly not least, use your learning and experience from the event as an opportunity to blog! The whole reason that we even go to tradeshows and conferences is to learn and connect, but why keep your learning to yourself? Take a few moments after the event to reflect on what you’ve learned and compile it into a blog post. If you found an interesting takeaway, chances are your clients and prospects will want to hear about it too. An added bonus—you can leverage all of the notes and photos you’ve likely gathered during your experience into couple of posts that you and others can reference and leverage well after the conference has ended. Be sure to link to the event’s Web site in your blog post. This will help your post get found when people are searching for the event and relevant topics.

With this in mind, I hope you will stay tuned for my post reflecting on Social Slam in a couple weeks. Our Twitter feed and Facebook pages will likely be buzzing with tweets and photos too! Are you attending a tradeshow or conference soon? Let us know how you infused social media into your experience!