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Social Media: The Conference Success Secret Weapon

Conference social mediaConferences give you the opportunity to network and become energized about the accounting profession and the direction in which it’s heading. Most people know the standard networking methods – attend receptions and collect business cards. But how can you make the most of the experience before, during and after the event?

Social media is present at almost every conference, giving you the opportunity to develop high-quality connections while staying in the loop on all the happenings.

Here are five ways you can utilize social media to make the most of your time and money:

Join the conversation.

As social media becomes omnipresent, if you don’t look to these platforms, you’ll miss out on the opportunity to join conversations about conferences and events. Follow the event hashtag on Twitter and Instagram or see if the organization hosting the event has LinkedIn groups you can join. By using these interactive forums, you can see who else is attending an event, set up conference meetups, and even reach out to influencers who may be on site.

Take and steal digital notes.

While you may spend hours planning your schedule prior to a conference, you can’t be in two places at once. When you follow an event hashtag, your peers are putting out quotes and tidbits of information from all different sessions. Not only are they visible for everyone to read, they’re also archived, giving you the ability to go back and learn something new, even if you weren’t physically sitting in the room.

Ditch the business cards.

There’s nothing worse than meeting someone at a reception who could build and enhance your professional network, just to get back to the office and not being able to find their business card. To ensure that you’re able to connect and develop that relationship, pull out your phone and connect with them on LinkedIn. No time to connect on LinkedIn at that moment? Ask to take a photo of their conference ID so you can connect with them when you do have a free moment. Not only will you have the opportunity to learn more about their background, but you’ll eliminate the risk of not being able to follow up.

Engage with brands.

Prior to the event, make sure you’ve followed different brands that will be on site, especially the organization hosting the conference. Most often, they’ll be posting updates or reminders on social about sessions and events that are going on. They often times also use social media to “go live” and give you backstage access to the event and exclusive interviews with speakers.

Follow up.

Often times, your to-do list grows when you return from conferences. You’re excited about new ideas and want to hit the ground running. So how can you find time to connect with the long list of people you met? Be sure you’ve connected with them on LinkedIn and followed them on Twitter. Not only can you stay in touch, but these are peers that will be readily available to help you grow your ideas and utilize learnings from the event. Don’t underestimate the power of the connections you made!

Conferences can be both exciting and overwhelming, but by using social media you can make the most of your experience. Looking for a professional development opportunity? Join us at AICPA ENGAGE, the profession's premier learning event. It provides you with the opportunity to attend up to six conferences in one unique event. Grow your knowledge in a host of areas including cybersecurity, diversity, personal financial planning, tax, firm practice management and marketing. Attend online or onsite, June 11-15 in Las Vegas.

Liz Rock, Associate Manager--Enterprise Social Media, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

Social media at conferences courtesy of Shutterstock.

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