I was really surprised to find that an eLearning / learning technology conference I'm attending in Sydney in June does not have a presence on Twitter. In fact, the very same event must have just announced the winners of their 2010 awards on their website but the only way I found that out was by doing a hashtag search on Twitter for the conference name. Luckily, a few proud vendors had posted their victories which then led me to the results page of said conference's website.
So I wrote to the conference's email address today asking if they plan to be on Twitter before June because it would be a great opportunity to get the word out about what should be an awesome, action-packed two days. Not to mention the wonderful speakers who deserve some build up and a little exposure. Plus, there's all the live session tweeting that can go on during the conference if there's already some kind of hype built up around it. I should note that them not being on Twitter won't stop me tweeting about it, but imagine the potential if they had more of a social media strategy in place and had been listening to the chatter online! Such a great way to get the inside scoop from your paying attendees before your event even begins.
Hopefully I will hear back as to why they aren't on there but these days it seems almost ridiculous that an Asia Pacific-wide brand would not have a presence on one of the largest social networks in existence. It's not really a big job running an event-focused Twitter account, someone just needs to check in once a day (if that) to answer questions, re-tweet a conference related tweet or put out an event update, a count down, speaker bios or some session titles. Then ramp it up a little before the actual event begins and voila! You will have some attendees who have already met online and organized to meet up at the event or at their hotels, attend dinner groups together to continue the session discussions and build lasting friendships. What a great opportunity to create community around an event and make it all the more memorable so that when the next year rolls around the word of mouth promotion kicks off without any help.
*They should take a leaf out of the eLearning Guild's book - these guys really know how to ramp up to a conference, months in advance and get everybody wishing they were going! Just search for the hashtag #mLearnCon on Twitter and you'll see what I mean.