Beyond those few days of name tags and networking, conferences offer a great opportunity to promote your business and engage followers on social media. With each glimpse of day-to-day activity and with every session take-away you post, you can broaden your audience and visibility as updates are liked and shared. You’re also building a reputable history viewable indefinitely by future customers, employers, employees, and partners. 

But before posting, sharing, or adding hashtags, consider a few best practices for social media promotion. Whether publishing content through your company’s account or your own, the following tips will ensure you make the best impression possible. 

1. Know your event’s official hashtag. Hashtags make it easy to follow all of the day’s updates under one news stream. And though not every conference brands their event with its own hashtag, many have begun to do so. To find an event’s hashtag, simply visit the conference website or scan posts published to the official conference Twitter handle. Then tag your own posts with their hashtag to be included in that news stream. While Twitter is the most popular venue used to follow official conference chatter, other social media platforms have now implemented a similar hashtag protocol. So it’s safe to add the same hashtag on any platform including Facebook and LinkedIn. 

2. Know the wrong hashtags. A wrong or mistyped hashtag is sometimes just as important as the correct one. For example, if “The Annual Big Business and Marketing Conference” uses the hashtag #BBAM19, attendees might begin to post under #BBAM2019. When a significant number of posts are tagged with an alternate hashtag, you can include those as well to reach the broadest audience possible. 

3. Research Twitter handles for mentions. If a well-recognized keynote speaker is presenting at a conference, find their Twitter handle and include this as a mention in your post about their keynote. When mentioned in a post, a speaker often likes or retweets that post which, in turn, positions you or your company in front of their broad audience of followers. 

4. Understand image clipping. Tweets and posts that include an engaging photo from a conference can garner more attention than those without an image attached. But there are correct and incorrect ways to publish images on social media. 

In traditional photography, for example, you’ll want to follow the rule of thirds. This places the subject of your photo offset from center. But the composition rules on social media are different. With the non-parity in optimal image size across the different platforms, your images can be cropped in unexpected ways. Consider the following portrait-oriented image:

When uploaded to Twitter, this image presents as follows:

I don’t have to tell you how frustrating that is, because you’ve probably experienced it yourself. So how do we prevent it? When using your phone to take conference photos for publication on Twitter, you’ll garner the best results using the “square” setting, or landscape orientation with a focal point as close to center as possible.

 That way, if Twitter crops the left and right to any degree, you’re covered.

And if you’re planning to share the same image across multiple platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, where optimal dimensions vary, a centered landscape image still presents best across the board. At least for now… the rules and optimal image sizes on social media change over time! 

Here are a few more dos and don’ts.

 Don’t:

  • Take photos of a speaker halfway across the room because the subject and visual impact will be lost at a distance.
  • Take deeply zoomed-in photos with a phone because the quality of your image will suffer. Instead, get as close as you can and shoot without zooming in.
  • Share empty booth shots. While your pristine and meticulously set up booth might look great to you, it just looks like an empty booth to the rest of the world. Instead, share lively images of the booth once it’s populated with people who are engaged in conversation.

Do:

  • Document the conference experience by taking visually inspiring pictures. For example, take a photo of the event logo next to a window with a pool right outside or one showing the view from above a sizable crowd below. This is one case where artistic photos can boost your engagement.
  • Take photos of funny, action-filled, and happy moments.
  • Post quotes of session takeaways with or without an image. If you have the time, make a pictoquote using an app like Canva to help your post stand out.

When you engage with social media followers and bring them along for the conference experience ride, albeit virtually, you set your brand apart and position yourself and your company as an industry leader.

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

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