You know an industry has made it big when there’s an entire week dedicated to it. Social Media has been celebrated with week-long festivities across the globe for coming on 4 years, with events taking place this year in big U.S. cities like New York, Miami, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. as well as international locales including Hamburg, Hong Kong, London, Paris, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Tokyo and Toronto. Not bad, huh? The theme this year is Empowering Change through Collaboration, and you can be sure each country will pack in speakers and events that can’t be missed. Since you can’t be in 12 places at once, here are some ways to ensure you get the most of the experience.
1. Create / find Twitter lists and follow hashtags – this is probably the easiest way to keep up with a conference. But when it’s a global conference that’s lasting an entire week with dozens of events happening simultaneously, you’ll inevitably miss some gems in the midst of all the Twitter frenzy. Each city has its own Twitter handle (i.e. SMWNY is New York’s dedicated handle) and the handles have AWESOME lists that include people keynoting events and folks hosting events by topic. Follow these lists and/ or add each of the Social Media Week handles to a dedicated list (that’s what I did!) to keep up with the official feeds.
2. Catch live-streamed events whenever possible – Event hosts have all been given the option to live-stream their panels, talks and events (whatever shape/ form they take on!). Put an invite on your personal calendar and remember to connect to the event, no matter how busy you are or in which city you live. If you couple that with suggestion number 1, it’ll be like you’re at the event. And since this is social media, most people are connecting through their Twitter feeds anyway.
3. Social media doesn’t end at 5pm – Like most big conferences, there are plenty of events, happy hours and events that take place after the traditional workday ends. Don’t think that your busy week means you have to miss out on key networking and learning opportunities. Search by time and make sure you RSVP to events you can make it to. Often times a week-long event like this doesn’t attract as many out-of-towners, so locals who can’t rearrange their 9 – 5 can still partake in the festivities.
4. Make a list of what you want to go to – if you’re fortunate enough to work in the social media industry (or have a direct report responsible for managing your brand’s communities), you’ll be able to hit up several events, hopefully. Not all events are created equal though, and with the variety of categories, topics and speakers; it’s easy to get duped by a big name or fancy venue. Make sure you look at the schedule of events and find the ones that are most pertinent to your brand and your overall industry. And maybe sneak in a fun one here or there as well.
*Bonus! Not sure which events to attend? Likeable is hosting 3 events Monday, February 13 in our brand new NYC office. Click on the event topics below to learn more and we hope to see you there (and don’t forget to follow our hashtag – #SMWlikeable)!
- Social Media: Building it from Scratch
- New Technologies, New Democracy: Using Social Media to Change the Way We Do Government
- Social Media Speed Dating (and Likeable Office Warming!)
Have you attended Social Media Week events in the past? What advice do you have for attendees? What are you most looking forward to from the 2012 offerings?