We go to conferences for lots of reasons: to learn, to network, to meet the love of our life (okay, maybe not all of us)… No matter what our reasons might be, as we wander through expo halls and conference rooms we bury our faces in our smartphones avidly tweeting, instagramming and whatever the social app du jour might be. By incorporating social sharing cues into your event, not only will you receive key insights into what people find interesting about your event, but it also makes creating real-life connections easier for event attendees.

So how do you do it?

Start with pre-event buzz. Once attendees have filled out registration forms, made payments, etc., make it easy for them to share with their friends and colleagues that they’ll be attending. This is also a good opportunity to begin familiarizing them with event hashtags and conversation hubs like Twitter handles and Facebook pages. If you’re going to encourage them to start checking out the event hashtag, you should also ensure that there is content readily available for them to peruse. Pre-populate the hashtag stream with content from your own blog, keynote speakers and sponsors that attendees might find relevant. If you can start them off with interesting content, they’ll be more likely to engage with the hashtag later on.

During the event set reminders for attendees to check-in to workshops and sessions as well as exhibitors. These can be as basic as having the MC make an announcement while introducing sessions or incorporating call-to-actions into event signage. It also helps to facilitate conversations by connecting attendees from social media to real-life. Remind attendees that there are conversations happening all around them.

Create social sharing incentivesusing gamification techniques. Maybe the person with the most retweets gets a special meeting with a keynote presenter, passes for next year or some event shwag; whatever it might be make it interesting and enticing enough to inspire competition.

Keep the connections going after the event has finished. Attendees have put a ton of time and effort into creating a community around your event. Encourage them to keep the spirit alive by using the hashtag even after the event’s close and in preparation for next year’s event. Perhaps you’re planning to send out a post-event survey to find out how you did; ask them to tweet you event hi-lights and suggestions for next year.

The power of social media is quite phenomenal when put to good use at events. It can help grow the virality of your conference while creating a more positive experience for your event attendees. DoubleDutch integrates social sharing features into the application so that your attendees receive one central hub for sharing content. Request a demo of DoubleDutch today.

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