How the humble Selfie can transform networking opportunities at your conference
Trivial, self-obsessed, egotistic – words often used to describe the selfie phenomenon that’s sweeping the Internet, and boy do we love taking them.
They are the quickest and easiest type of photo to take and they’re part of how many people present and reinforce their personal image.
The Internet and Social Media is awash with them, and thanks to the devices on which we take them, selfies are easier than ever to capture and publish with the minimum of effort. They are so popular, even the premier online photography community 500px has hundreds of very classy photos tagged with #selfie.
OK, it’s just a bit of fun so let’s not to get too uptight about them, but how can we use selfies to add fun and value to our conferences?
Networking is everything – create and promote your hashtag
It’s worth remembering that in addition to great learning, communication and motivation, conferences are amazing networking opportunities. Here are some ways that selfies can be used at your conference to enhance your delegates’ networking experience:
Firstly, make sure that everyone at your conference knows the conference hashtag – this is the tag that will be attached to the photo when it’s tweeted or posted on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or other sites (including LinkedIn). The hashtag is the glue that holds your conference community together.
The hashtag should be promoted to delegates before, during and after the event. It should be highlighted prominently at the conference, in joining instructions, in the conference ‘brochure’, on the agenda, in delegate packs, on the screen, on the lanyards, on tables during tea, coffee and food breaks – everywhere. The more visible it is, the greater the likelihood that people will use it. I can’t tell you how many conferences I’ve spoken at where the hashtag is an afterthought. Conference organisers have to acknowledge that tweeting and posting is now a core part of events, so you might as well learn how to benefit from it.
And for the benefit of people who are not as familiar with social media, organisers should also make a point of explaining clearly what a hashtag is and how it is used.
Make it easy for people to share their networking experience – and make it fun
Next, include the Twitter handles of speakers on the conference agenda right next to the title of their presentations. From personal experience, delegates often take photos of themselves with the speakers, so make it easy for them to quickly tag themselves and inclu