This is part 2 of my post “Why we planned a Social Media Conference in NC?” post. As I stated in the previous post it seems that everyone is planning some sort of social media conference, meetup, forum, workshop, bootcamp or webinar. Just like any marketing or social media campaign before you start you must do at least two things, one define your goal of attending and two, do your research before you attend. As the space has become crowded, for any person or business owner you need to make sure your employees take part in valuable conversations where they can learn to increase their knowledge to make they are a valuable asset to your company. As these events become more popular you really need to make sure you look at agenda from the conference organizers, the type of sponsors they are attracting and the speakers. Don’t just look at any conference with big names or what some people call the “rock stars” of social media and assume the conference is going to be awesome.
A lot of the time people set unrealistic goals when attending conferences, they go with an expectation of being wowed by speakers and they will hear some grounding breaking secret that is going to tell them how to send a tweet and make a million dollars like Dell and that’s just not the case. But sometimes the over hype of attending a social media conference is to be blamed on conference organizers as they try to make the event sound awesome. Either way you should do your research and set realistic goals before you attend any conference.
Speaking of goals and getting to the ROI for attending a social media conference topic, as I mentioned defining your goals before you attend is key. While attending conferences most of the time your number one goal is simply to learn. I would say your second goal is to network for possible business leads or deals that could be profitable for you. For some, the goal for attending conferences is just a way to get out of the office and have a good time. That’s another story. One goal that I try to obtain while attending social media conferences is to create content while I’m there or afterwards via blogging therefore it becomes a resource not only for me but for my blog readers. Read a few post from David B. Thomas of SAS as an example
Now that you have your goals defined, then you measure the outcome by the following:
- Did you learn anything new?
- Did you build new relationships with possible partners?
- Did you create any new content before or after?
- Are you able to teach others about what you learned?
- Did you connect with someone new who you might be able to refer to someone else?
- Did you do more listening or talking?
- How many business cards did you pass out and obtain?
- If you’re planning a conference did you connect with a potential sponsor?
- Did you find answers to your questions you had before you left?
These are a few ways I look at the ROI of attending not just social media conferences but any meetup or event.
Do you have any success stories from attending a social media conference? If so, please share in the comments.