Picture this. It’s 9 AM. Coffee is brewing and you’ve just logged into Twitter to catch up on this morning’s news. You scan to find out what people are getting up to and then you see it… hashtags galore over an industry conference you had no idea was happening!

We’ve all been there. We’re only human, but missing the boat on attending an important industry conference is something that shouldn’t happen in this day and age. With many events to choose from, the search for the best industry conference can sometimes feel a little overwhelming, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Media monitoring tools can act as your right-hand by helping you with your third-party event planning, from the cradle to the grave.

Finding the best industry conference

A quick keyword search on a news monitoring platform can gather a list of industry conference related articles, no matter how niche your industry may be. Narrowing the search down by location can also be useful if budget is tight and you want to avoid trekking around the country to mingle and find leads.

You no longer have to rely on event organizers words to gauge the success of an industry conference. By looking at previous year’s editorial and social media coverage, and the tonality of the articles, you can make an unbiased and informed decision as to which option is best to book.

You can also make use of social media monitoring tools to help with identifying and tracking key influencers in attendance. This is a great way to effectively build desired relationships with them and make sure your brand has a presence in locations where they hang out.

Reading industry publications and blogs may be a slightly more old school way of researching industry conferences, but it works just as well. 

Making the most out of exhibiting

Once you’ve found an industry conference that looks promising in lead generation and brand awareness, it’s time to shout about your attendance from the rooftops! Make sure every man and his dog knows you’re in town and why your booth is worth a visit. Add the event link to email signatures and the website, tell customers during phone calls and invite them by email too. Find out which social media platforms your target audience and influencers mostly use and engage with them on these channels.

On the day of the industry conference, it’s important to listen to conversations taking place about the show online so that you can successful insert yourselves into the discussions. This helps your brand remain relevant. You’ll quickly be able to spot if there’s a particular keynote happening that’s creating a lot of buzz and can check it out. Perhaps the speaker is trending, or maybe it’s the theme of the talk. Either way, such insights will help you optimize your future industry conference strategies.

It’s worth remembering that many people follow event hashtags without actually attending, thus reading post after post saying “come and say hi at booth 20” can get rather boring. Use your imagination and creativity – take photos, write inspiring posts and quote interesting facts learnt from the presentations. After all, it’s these kinds of posts that are likely to receive high engagement. Don’t forget to tag the speakers too as this will help grow your network!

Tracked conversations = precious gold mine

Conversations hold a vast amount of information beyond who said what. By analyzing and dissecting the data you can see:

  • Individuals interested in certain topics – this kind of personalized information can be relayed to your sales team and help them to better personalize their pitch and close more sales!
  • Highly engaged posts – this helps with judging who the influencers were so you can network with them and explore future collaborations.
  • Key themes and trends – this could provide the basis for future strategies or blog posts.
  • Peak times of the day that had the highest engagement – this can help you understand what time is best to choose for a speaking time slot for future events we attend.

The above are just a few ways you can avoid missing the memo and keep on top of industry conferences in order to improve your event planning strategy, but the most important tip of all is to keep leads hot! The longer you wait to contact potential clients, the quicker they slip away. The success of your industry conference planning strategy is ultimately defined on the event’s ROI, so don’t let cold leads overshadow the hard work you have put into your detailed plan.

A version of this article originally appeared on our UK blog.