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B2B Marketing – Twitter at Conferences

I’m fresh off of the ITA Fall Conference – “Fall” is a bit of a misnomer as the conference took place in December.  Twitter was in play at the conference and those of us participating (less than 15%) were communicating via the #itaf11 hash tag.

I am still running into “I don’t know what value there is in Twitter for B2B” and time was it was an opportunity for me to pull out the soap box and lecture to whomever uttered the challenge – it’s getting harder and harder for me to do.  Because you either get Social Media or you don’t.  I am particularly frustrated by B2B owners who dismiss Twitter in one breath and in the next tell me that Word of Mouth is the best thing they have going for them.

So here I am again:  view Twitter (and all Social Media) the same way you view networking.

Twitter is especially fun and valuable in the conference setting.  Here are 6 ways that I believe Twitter benefits the conference attendee.

For those of us using the conference hash tag – we got to know one another better than those not using the hash tag.  We could see what one another’s reactions were to what presenters were saying.  That could take the form of disagreement, humor, support, questions, etc.  Reaction helps us to Know Like and Trust someone.  Twitter can facilitate that process.  In the case of the conference Tweeters – it created a club.

From a pragmatic point of view, conference Twitter via hash tags, allowed me (and others) to keep tabs on discussions and comments being made in other sessions.  I might be attending one session, but I could get an idea of what was going on at a concurrent session via the Tweets of another attendee.

By virtue of the steady stream of tweets covering a variety of topics, those Tweeting were able to catch the attention of followers who were not at the conference.  That’s good news for those tweeting, those not able to attend the conference, and conference organizers (think PR for the conference).

Because I was following the conference hash tag and keeping up with those who were also Tweeting – I was clicking into their blogs and their online diaries far more frequently than those companies and individual who were not tweeting – that is I was hitting their blogs and websites more often than the speakers/attendees who were not Tweeting.

Finally, tweeting at a conference with a hash tag creates a club and makes the conference that much more connected and fun.

Did that mean I did not make connections face-to-face?  No.  But the Twitter activity served to fast track relationships.  And most would say B2B marketing is about relationships, referrals and educating – and Twitter certainly strengthened the speed of making those connections.

What do you think?  Please share your thoughts

3 Responses to B2B Marketing – Twitter at Conferences

  1. Wayne Schulz says:

    I agree with your thoughts Dawn. And the online search sites are going to increasingly tap into these social “signals” to point those who search to the most active and relevant sites.

    Frankly I really don’t care whether my competitors get it. With Social I find that you’re right — people are either active or they’re not. Trying to convince someone to become active is nearly impossible so I focus on those who are using the tools.

    In a year or two we’ll have another round of VARS going out of business who blame the software publisher, their employees or some esoteric bug in their product. In reality they will need to blame themselves for not keeping up with the rest.

  2. I like that and totally agree: ” the Twitter activity served to fast track relationships “. It helps those who aren’t physically present learn, engage, and connect in different ways as well.

  3. Matt says:

    Dawn, I couldn’t agree more. Twitter allows attendees to connect during times when they were formerly unable to (such as during a talk, before/after conferences begin/end, etc.). Like you said, it also lets its users do a little background research on people before/after they meet (via links to their blogs, previous tweets, etc.).

    We build custom social media dashboard for events and conferences (http://refynr.com) so I can personally testify to the strength of your argument.

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