Whether you’re a first-time attendee at SXSW like me, or you’ve been there 19 times (hi Jeff Cohen!), social media can be an invaluable resource. Knowing how to use Facebook, Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn and other channels to your advantage before you head to SXSW will help you plan beforehand so that you get the most out of the event and solidify connections afterward.
Here are 20 tips for making SXSW a total success before you step into Austin. (For more tips, check out our new free ebook, Social Media Guide to Making SXSW a Success.)
1. Make sure all your social profiles are up to date. Your SXSW badge can include social account info, so it should be accurate and relevant.
2. Use a clear, friendly, recent headshot for your social profile photos so people can recognize you in person. Your SXSW badge also includes a photo!
5. Let people know you’re attending at least a week before hand using online and offline channels.
6. Once you connect with other attendees, plan to meet up in person at company-sponsored locations or reserve a hotel meeting room. Coffee shops work too!
7. The SXSW Interactive schedule has already been released, so check out which sessions you wish to attend.
8. Look up speakers on Twitter and check out their blogs or websites to gain insight into their industry or organization.
9. Create a saved search on Twitter or a third-party platform to monitor the SXSW conversation.
10. When Tweeting about the event, be sure to include #sxsw or other relevant hashtags.
11. Create a Twitter list for SXSW and add the accounts of other attendees and speakers.
12. Make a private Twitter list consisting of people you want to meet.
13. On Google+? Apply the same strategy as #11 by using “Find People”, the former Circles option.
14. Share your Twitter and Google+ lists as a handy resource for other attendees.
15. Write a blog post or post a video a few days before SXSW begins and share it with your community. Include your goals for the conference.
16. Participate in the SXSW conversation on Twitter by adding something relevant, such as a helpful link.
17. Join the SXSW LinkedIn conversation by posting a discussion topic.
18. RSVP to as many parties as you can, and then choose which ones you want to attend once in Austin. It’s better to be on too many lists than too few.
19. Organize a Tweetup.
21. Speaking at SXSW? Create a Vine video promoting your session.
20. Have apps ready and downloaded for cataloging new connections, finding sessions and parties, and determining where to get great BBQ.
For more details on these tips plus tips for success when you’re at SXSW and after the show, download the full ebook by clicking the button below.