Enhance Your Conference Experience with Social Media

Posted on May 15, 2017 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin is a true believer in #HealthIT, social media and empowered patients. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He currently leads the marketing efforts for @PatientPrompt, a Stericycle product. Colin’s Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung

The Healthcare Marketing and Physician Strategies Summit #HMPS17 has come to a close and I am reminded again of the power that social media has to enhance the whole conference experience. Pre-mobile, as an attendee, you could count on making 10-20 contacts during a conference…more if you really “worked the room” at the social events. Today it is entirely possible to meet 50+ new people at a conference by leveraging social media before and during the event.

At #HMPS17 I saw many examples of how social media has changed the attendee dynamics at conferences. I watched a group of 5 Instagram users meetup at the hotel restaurant (I’m pretty sure some food pics were taken!). I also saw two different groups of Facebook friends head out for a night on the town together. Of course, the #hcldr community had a meetup in the hotel lobby that attracted 8 people – 5 of whom came to the hotel just for the meetup (Thanks for driving 2hrs from Houston @JoeBabaian!)

During the conference itself I ran into at least 20 other people that knew from social media. All of these were first-time meetings (or what I call meeting old friends for the first time). This degree of networking would have been very difficult in the era before social media. You would have had to attend the same conference consistently for a number of years in order for people to get to know you. I would encourage fellow marketers and salespeople to get active on social media. There simply is no better accelerator for business relationships.

Since #HMPS17 spanned a Tuesday, I had the rare opportunity to organize a group session for the weekly #hcldr chat. Four of us gathered together and participated in the tweetchat while physically sitting beside each other. If you’ve never done this or seen it, it does look very strange. People are staring at their devices, madly typing and barely talking. Then all of a sudden someone will make a comment out loud about a tweet they have read and everyone chimes in with a verbal comment. Usually these side conversations last 1-2 minutes and then people go back to their devices. A few minutes later it happens again.

Through the one we held at #HMPS17 I now have two new friends: Alexis Todd and Tori Benick of UltraLinq. It was truly wonderful to see how much they enjoyed their first tweetchat. Dan Dunlop @dandunlop (who was the other in-person participant) commented to me how especially energizing it is to hear new perspectives and to see how excited newcomers get when they discover how educational a tweetchat can be.

If you are in healthcare marketing or involved with sales to healthcare organizations, I would really encourage you to join the conversations happening on social media. It doesn’t matter the social platform you choose – just pick one and dive in. Not only will you take your healthcare conference experience up a notch, but you as well as your organization will benefit through the connections you make.

See you on Twitter.