One of the most common question that we get from scientific and medical conference organisers is, “What platform should we use for our conference social media?” At the outset this might seem like an easy answer, all of them, but the answer is far more subtle.
To really get to the answer, you need to consider how people interact with each platform. Each social media platform has a niche and a certain type of “content” or interactions that its users expect to see. Getting a better understanding of this, helps you understand what platform is best for your conference social media.
Take Facebook, people predominantly use Facebook to look at photos of people (and cats), and stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues. Twitter, however, is mainly used for hearing from people who aren’t close friends, journalists, bloggers, celebrities and people in their industry. Instagram is the realm of visual inspiration and ideas, holidays, fashion, food, fitness, outdoors, puppies and cats. Each of these is personal and part of your delegate’ life.
LinkedIn is less personal and more business focused. When people interact with Linkedin, they focus on their profession and work. They expect to see content that relates to work and that will advance their profession.
Take a step back and look at how each of these is relevant to your delegates and use the platform accordingly. Delegates go to conferences for a number of reasons: social, education, profession, inspiration and business. As with any type of marketing, your social media strategy should speak to them.
Facebook is used to talk about the social aspect of a conference and the genuine friendships that are created at conferences. It has a number of features that encourage this and that’s where the strategy lies. Take photos of people at social function before, after and during the event, tag people who want to be included and let them tag others. Create discussions about the slightly lighter side of the conference, the social functions, the “things to do” at the conference location and news that relates, mildly to the conference.
Twitter should communicate the content, the speakers and the goals of the conference. These Tweets can the form of links to existing content or articles that delegates will find insightful or interesting, Retweets of speakers or delegates and excerpts of abstracts. The more in-depth the content is, the better, people expect it. A constant stream of high quality, educational and interesting content can really drive the expectation that the conference content will be insightful and interesting. Twitter is very common as a conference social media tool.
Instagram is for the inspirational and whimsical aspects of the conference. If the conference is at a great location, photos of the location, images at the conference (speaker slides), photos from past conferences, even memes and cat photos might be appropriate. If this is a big part of your conference, then Instagram is great for your conference social media strategy.