If you’re like me, you’re in need of a vacation after SXSW in Austin. Attendees are met with full sensory overload from the moment they arrive in town. People and brands with a typically large reach and influence can get lost when thrown into a sea filled with influencers.
There’s so much happening that it is hard to keep up and feel like you’re on top of things - just trying to catch up and keep in touch with the people important to your business can make you miss out on other opportunities. You really have to hustle in order to extract value from it.
Influencers, both those with current reach and those who aspire to grow their reach, face this problem at any large conference - from entertainers at ComicCon to a tech company at CES. Seasoned brands and publishers at SXSW were each trying to top each other with the zaniest car or stage, but most let the hype live and die in Austin. So, how do you raise awareness online during a large conference without missing out on the actual event?
If you’re planning to be Austin bound in 2014 or have another major event in your near future, here are a few guidelines to consider:
1. Change the game and win with your own goals
Given the difficulty of penetrating the noise at these kinds of large conferences, it makes focusing on those who aren’t there but are interested just as important. Take the content created around your company to generate hype online, and never let a party, panel, or screening go without leveraging it to provide content for online followers.
2. Be useful for attendees
It's challenging for conference attendees, with the days often becoming a struggle with battery life more than anything else. They’re not going to want to use up precious battery life to see what everyone else is Instagramming or tweeting, so make it easier for them to catch up when they get to their hotel rooms with online hubs of your SXSW narrative.
3. Be fun
With multiple events happening at any given moment, attendees have no reason to give their attention to something boring. So don’t be boring. Mashable brought memes to life with Grumpy Cat, HBO gave Game of Thrones fans the chance ride around in Iron Throne pedi cabs, Chute worked with Ogilvy and BuzzFeed to give attendees a social photo contest, and Lyft had men wearing pink mustaches giving piggyback rides. Take what you’re company does or creates, and make it fun and interactive.
No matter how you decide to promote at a conference, it’s important to remember that the world continues to spin outside of a convention center. And that world needs to be engaged just as much, if not more, than the live audience.