The 13th and final part of the Social Business For Real Work series

The Challenge

Even in these days of instant connectivity over the internet, there is still no substitute for face-to-face communication. Customer conferences are an invaluable opportunity to make connections, exchange ideas and get feedback. But all too often, all the good intentions that come out of these events are forgotten by the time everyone gets home.

The Social Business Advantage

Building an enterprise social network for your customer conference allows the connections formed with customers and between customers to continue long after the face-to-face event has finished. Before the event, it enables attendees to plan their visit to get the most out of the conference. During the event, it helps people keep up to date with latest updates and schedule changes, and to make connections with other attendees. And after the conference has finished, it lets attendees stay in touch, download presentations, watch replays of sessions, and make suggestions for next year’s conference.


The annual Mobile1to1 Customer Conference has its own dedicated social network. This is separate from the main company social network, as it is geared primarily to the attendees of the conference.

The home page sets out the schedule and different tracks for the conference. It also hosts general discussion before, during and after the event.


Each conference session has its own community. Before the event, it contains information about the session – delegates can join the communities of events they plan to attend, and this means they’ll receive updates about the session in their main activity feed. It also gives the conference organisers an idea of the numbers expected for each session.


During the session itself, the community’s activity stream is an ideal place to post questions for the presenter.

After the session, the presenter posts his slides and later, the event organisers add a video recording of the session. Discussions between the attendees carry on long after the conference has finished, and the presenter remains actively involved. The event organisers monitor the communities to identify the most active discussions to help pick topics for the next conference.


Make It Real

  • Create a dedicated social network for the customer conference. For smaller events, it may be appropriate simply to have a community within a larger network, but a full scale multi-track conference benefits from having its own network.
  • Encourage (or indeed, require) all attendees to join the network prior to the event, and use this as the primary channel of communication for updates about the conference.
  • Consider how much access to the network you are will to give people who don’t attend the physical event. The network can be a great way of connecting with customers who were unable to attend, but giving full access may undermine the event itself.
  • Encourage each presenter or session leader to engage with members of the community for their session, before, during and after the conference.
  • Enable conference attendees to use the network for their own customer-to-customer communication before, during and after the conference to help them get more out of the event.
  • Continue to monitor usage of the network after the conference and keep the conversations going. Use this to help shape the agenda for the next conference.