CA’s SocialU series has inspired me to write this post. It’s been a while since I covered a live tech event but I realize why it’s important to me as an individual contributor and a technology associate or advocate. In fact, utilizing social media for events can benefit you and/or your company both directly and indirectly depending on what you cover and what your goals or objectives are. My event of measurement is CA World. In 2010 I attended CA World in grand fashion as a customer committee member. What is that? I was selected to attend and ‘work’ the event based on an idea I had sent to CA Inc that recommended marketing, sharing, and socializing the CA user communities for whom I was elected communications officer for at the time. The opportunity led me to my first experience with live event social media sharing and ultimately, it changed my outlook on technology and how to stand out within a crowd of thousands as my followers went from nil to plenty.
Working in technology and covering live events, quickly connects you to a common community. The secret ingredient is leveraging the proper hashtag and not just blasting out information or one liners (as many do) but mentioning specific people and products while asking questions in the process, and also re-tweeting other insightful messages you stumble across. Photos and videos can be huge as well, especially now that Instagram and Vine have hit the big time. Whatever delivery method you choose, most social media encompasses ‘followers’. By followers I mean people who like you, follow you, circle you, or whatever. Want to gain industry recognition and quickly gain followers? From my experience there is no easier way that live social coverage of events combined with insightful blogging. Oh, I know… you don’t get the opportunity to attend many industry events anymore due to a multitude of reasons. No problem, there are still opportunities out there thanks to streaming coverage from companies like Salesforce, Oracle, and Google. Did he say Google? Yes, I did. Ever hear of a Hangout? Start joining communities that interest you and start looking for public hangouts to attend. You can simply engage as a listener in many cases and don’t need to lead or dominate the conversation. Take part in a bigger community and find the social opportunities because they are out there. Of course I say all of this because I know it has worked for me in the past. Do I actively do this type of social activity often? No, but I’ve seen my follower numbers change quickly when I do take the time to share and write about events or the latest tech buzz.
CA World, like many IT related industry events, has an entrance fee in order to provide a fantastic venue that includes some spectacular festivities and special guests. Unfortunately not all CA customers, or even employees, can attend the event, thus making social media a huge window of opportunity into the happenings. Sharing the social ‘you’ is fun, it’s educational, and it can get you some amount of recognition in your field or field of interest simply because you’re attempting to cover the event and share content to those who cannot be there. You are helping your brethren and helping yourself at the same time. Can you measure how it helps you? Perhaps, with Klout and other social tools but I think it’s all qualitative. Don’t judge your success or popularity on your total number of followers (unless you’re a celebrity). Don’t follow or circle thousands of people because it lowers your own value in that your stream or feed is simply too large and you’ll need to create many lists or groups to organize content. Lastly, don’t go after something because of what you might get out of it, go after it because it’s your passion. There is no more delay, there is only today. Check out the video below for some great ideas on how to engage socially online.