All Together Now: Blogging at Industry Conferences

Your members have seen it all before.

They’ve seen the convention center rooms packed with chairs.

They’ve experienced the PowerPoint presentations and the orientation packages.

They’ve witnessed the pomp and procedure and the dreary hotel breakfasts.

Yes, they’ve seen everything an industry-wide conference has to offer.

Or so they think.

No, conferences are certainly not the newest trend for professional associations, but by incorporating social media into the event, specifically a blog, an organization can add much needed perspective and engagement that can benefit members and bolster any large professional get-together.

A conference-oriented blog should be established before the conference begins for three reasons: so attendees are aware of its existence and purpose before the event, to promote the conference and its benefits and to prepare members so they can get the most out of their time.

A blog is a great way to introduce members to all things, big and small, the conference has to offer. This allows members to not only plan their days according to what catches their eye on your blog, but gets them looking forward to the event.

During the conference, a blog can be used to effectively summarize days that always seem to pass by in a flash. With so many activities, seminars, networking opportunities and meetings jammed into a few days, it’s easy to miss something or lose track of the benefits of a conference. A blog allows attendees to catch up at the end of a long day and provides a fresh perspective on the day that was.

A blog also allows members to engage with planners and organizations during a conference, providing yet another arena to network with peers. Many times blogs can turn into channels for crucial feedback from attendees as well. Encouraging this feedback can be helpful in ensuring conferences, present and future, run smoothly and members get the most out of them.

The flexibility of a blog is yet another advantage for organizations during a conference. Blogs can be posted to and shared on most social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook and mobile apps as well as through email. This allows members to access the blog whenever and wherever, whether it is in their hotel rooms at night or in between meetings. Viewing a public blog also does not require signing up for an account, meaning all members can easily access posts regardless of their level of tech usage and savvy.

The benefits of professional conferences can sometimes be hidden behind a fog of rushed meetings and dull routine. Blogs can help clear this fog by engaging and empowering members that attend these conferences. Blogs offer preparedness, fresh insight and a sense of togetherness that few other platforms offer. Realize the potential of your organization and its members by utilizing a blog at your next conference.

Hell or High Water: Twitter, Natural Disasters and Your Members

The weather has not been kind to Canadians lately.

Mother Nature has wreaked havoc on various parts of the country over the past month or two, mostly in the form of destructive rains and devastating floods.

Southern Alberta, Toronto, parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. All have experienced the pains of flooding and face a long road to recovery this summer.

Many industries and their members were affected financially and personally by these disasters. It is in these trying times that social media, especially Twitter, can be helpful to those hardest hit.

Twitter offers organizations a way to relay vital information to its members. Updates on affected areas, evacuations, the safety of drinking water, power outages, emergency services, etc, can be quickly, easily and succinctly passed on to members.

Information about the financial impacts and opportunities, such as government assistance or an organization’s insurance program, is also very important to members whose businesses have been greatly affected by natural disasters. Twitter can pass this on from an organization to its members in a quick and informative way in a time when people are focusing on only the most vital pieces of information.

Being informative is great, but Twitter is first and foremost a gathering place, a space where an organization and its members can join together and support their colleagues. An encouraging tweet, a meaningful conversation about shared experiences or an offer of time or resources from a colleague can help a member through a tough time and many an obstacle. Twitter opens up several avenues to make this possible and the best one is through an organization’s account.

But it isn’t only during the disaster and immediately after that an organization’s Twitter can make a difference with members. Twitter offers a forum for those affected by natural disasters to tell their stories in the days after the devastation and long after the clean-up is finished. Twitter is a great platform to see the way members triumph over hardship and the pride and perseverance they show in their jobs. There is no better way for an organization to inspire and empower its members than to share these stories of dedication and success.

Twitter provides a way to share an organization’s services, programs and goals along with interesting pieces of information and news. However, when members are faced with a bracing test set out by Mother Nature, Twitter can turn into a vital platform for members to access information and support one another and can help an organization rise to the occasion.