These days, a smart phone is a must-have accessory when attending professional meetings and conferences. Attendees use them to snap photos of every slide presented, groaning in disappointment if the speaker clicks to the next slide before they’ve snapped a photo. Photos of the best slides get posted to Twitter. And the best tweets get retweeted.
Twitter helps attendees take notes, create community, and stay connected during and after a conference—even those who can’t attend—including colleagues, patient advocates, and other organizations. Using the conference hashtag (any meeting worth its salt will have one), attendees can let others know how they’re participating in the conference. Attending a session? Tweet about it. Speaking? Tweet about it. Doing a poster presentation? Tweet about it.
Here are seven steps to help you achieve Twitter success at your next big meeting:
- Have a plan and a goal. Don’t tweet every slide you see. Instead, plan your tweets to meet a specific goal. For example, if you want to promote your research, a good strategy to meet this goal might be to limit your tweets and retweets to sessions you are presenting, and sessions related to your research, while including URL links to your publications and tagging the Twitter handles of others doing related research.
- Make sure your Twitter profile is up-to-date and professional. If you’ve never bothered to complete your profile, or you haven’t looked at it in three years, review it before tweeting at your next meeting. Upload a current, professional picture. Make sure your profile description supports your goal for tweeting at the conference. Add a disclaimer, for example: “Views expressed are my own and not those of my employer. RT/follow does not = endorsement.”
- Follow your institution’s social media guidelines when tweeting. Read Mayo Clinic’s social media guidelines here. Remember, social media is a public, searchable platform, and what you do on social media can live forever. Keep every tweet professional.
- Identify the correct meeting hashtag, and find out who’s using it. Is it #ASCO2018 or #ASCO18? Know before you tweet so others attending will see your contribution. Pay attention to who is already using the conference hashtag and follow influential tweeters who capture your interest and might be able to help support your Twitter goal for the conference by retweeting you.
- Use Symplur to identify relevant hashtags. Symplur, a provider of social media analytics for healthcare, runs the Healthcare Hashtag Project, a free open platform that identifies hashtags relevant to healthcare conversations and communities. Use it to find hashtags relevant to your work, and include them in your tweets.
- Participate in the social media activities planned by meeting organizers. Many meetings plan activities around social media, such as Twitter chats in which a hashtag is used to organize a conversation around a topic. (For example, what’s new in cancer immunotherapy?) Mine the meeting website for these opportunities and use Twitter chat tools such as TweetDeck and TweetChat. Twitter chat tools can also be a great way to follow meeting and research or disease-specific hashtags.
- Don’t stop tweeting when the conference is over. Once you’ve polished your Twitter chops at a professional meeting, keep tweeting—it doesn’t need to take more than a few minutes a day a few times a week. Twitter is a great way to stay connected with colleagues and leaders in your field across the country and the world.
The Mayo Clinic Social Media Network provides resources for professionals who want to apply social media effectively in their health-related work. If you’re new to Twitter, the Social for Healthcare Certificate, which is included with all premium memberships, can help you get up to speed quickly. See membership options or contact us for more information.